Rome (Italy). Sr. Chiara Cazzuola, Vicar General of the FMA Institute and Moderator of the XXIV General Chapter, shares how the FMA Institute lived the preparation for GC XXIV?
«The Institute began to prepare itself for XXIV General Chapter starting from the Triennial Evaluations to which the communities made a notable contribution, involving young people, lay people, and laity in the reflection.
The theme of the XXIV General Chapter “«’Do whatever he tells you» (Jn 2:5). Generative communities in the heart of contemporaneity” arose from a serious process of discernment in which the suggestions that emerged in the Evaluations were kept in mind, along with the knowledge of the reality of the Institute, the contemporary educational challenges, and the journey of Consecrated Life in the Church.
The objective that we propose to achieve in CG XXIV is to awaken the original freshness of the vocational fruitfulness of the Institute. We know that it is a very demanding process. For this reason, we are certain that the presence of Mary, Mother, Teacher, and powerful Help, will guide us, as it has done in these 150 years of our history, to a regeneration in the Holy Spirit that makes the Educating Communities generative of new life.
In choosing the theme, we let ourselves be inspired by the Gospel text of the Wedding at Cana (cf. Jn: 1-12) and this is the element of novelty in respect to the settings of previous General Chapters. It is precisely this Word that guided the preparation of local and provincial communities in studying the various aspects of the theme. In fact from the contribution of the Provincial Chapters, in addition to listening to reality, emerges the imprint left by the study of the Word of God and the commitment of the communities to allow themselves to be regenerated by it in a journey of more convinced and solid faith.
The pandemic suddenly hit the Educating Communities and the works, placing us before the great challenge of not stopping only to look at ‘the rubble’, but to dare the new, to look beyond and deeper, with the unconditional trust of Don Bosco and of Mother Mazzarello in the God who guides history and opens it to a new future.
The preparation for CG XXIV has been enriched with a further element because at the world level the Educating Communities have realized that the contemporaneity in which we live urges us to listen to the calls of God in our time that is so fragile and uncertain, in the new forms of poverty that the pandemic has produced and multiplied, especially among young people and women, who remain the weakest subjects in this society.
From the communities of the world comes a decisive call to return to the charismatic sources to revive the educational originality lived in Valdocco and Mornese, to awaken vocational fruitfulness, and help young men and women to find the meaning of life and their place in society and in the Church.
Everyone is aware of the generative force of education and therefore the desire arises to continue to carry out the educational mission with daring. This makes us more and more willing to welcome the poor, the little ones, the most suffering and needy, thus making the Salesian charism alive and radiant. It invites us in this unprecedented time of history to open ourselves to new ways, more suited to the changed situation we live in, with the creativity and courage of those who feel involved in a great plan of salvation.
As FMA we feel the urgency of a profound vocational renewal, to enhance the joy and beauty of the call, to rediscover the fascination of our choice of life.
The online survey, which we carried out in preparation for CG XXIV,
revealed that young people want us by their side with a maternal heart in an attitude of empathic listening, trust, tenderness, and willingness to accompany them in the discovery of God’s plan for them and for ‘humanity. In the various contexts where we are present, we feel the need to encourage and express in our mission, the maternal and feminine dimension of the charism, as the Gospel of Cana suggests to us.
We are preparing to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the foundation of the Institute and therefore this is a new opportunity for vocational and missionary renewal and revitalization. May Mary Help of Christians help us to be faithful to our vocation in the Church, to be outgoing communities that, with wisdom of vision and a maternal heart, know how to welcome the cry of the poor and the cry of the earth, taking care of people and the environment, living active citizenship founded on the values of the Gospel in the willingness to make one’s life a gift and a service to others, with moderation and solidarity.
May this XXIV General Chapter be a trampoline, or better, a relaunching of the charism towards a better future, fruitful with life and hope for young men and women of the whole world».