Santiago (Chile). From 14 to 19 March 2023, in Santiago de Chile at the Theologate of Los Cañas, La Florida, the 28th meeting of the Regional Representatives of the Salesian School in America (ESA) was held, which had as its objective the preparation of the V ESA Continental Meeting and the approval of the ESA model “System to Guarantee Salesian Significance in the School”.
The meeting was organized by the Representatives of the Youth Ministry Sector of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, Sr. Ivone Goulart Lopes; by the Dicastery of the Salesians of Don Bosco, Fr. Claudio Cartes; and by the Chilean representatives, Sr. Cecy Poblete, Juan Pablo Vásquez, and Sr. Patricia Parraguez.
Also present were the FMA, SDB, and lay representatives of the CICSAL-CONO SUR Regions (SEPSUR school): Sr. Cecilia Poblete, Juan Pablo Vásquez, and Sr. Patricia Parraguez Núñez; ANDINA: Gina Canales; CISBRASIL-CIB: Ana Paula Costa e Silva, Sr. Lucia Jacinta Finassi, and Sr. Adair Aparecida Sberga; CIMAC and MESOAMÉRICA: Sr. Eva Doris Meza, Fr. Carlos Montoya, and Jesús Alejandro Suárez. Sr. Victoria Esperanza Paz of CINAB was unable to attend.
The work dynamic was mediated by the experience of God through moments of prayer and community discernment. The dialogue of formation accompaniment took place through the presence of the Provincial of the St. Gabriel Archangel Province (CIL), Sr. Ximena Oyarzo; and of the Provincial of the SDB Province of St. Gabriel Archangel (CIL), Fr. Carlos Andrés Lira Airola; of the Visiting Councilor of the Southern Cone, Fr. Gabriel Romero; of Card. Ricardo Ezzati Andrello, SDB, Archbishop emeritus of Santiago de Chile; and of Msgr. Bernardo Bastres, SDB, Bishop emeritus of Punta Arenas.
The General Councilor for Youth Ministry, Sr. Runita Galve Borja, recalled in a video that this meeting “has the demanding task of preparing for the fifth Continental Meeting of the Salesian School in America. However, I believe it is also an opportune time to dialogue, as a Commission, and make a review to plan the future of the ESA Network. We firmly believe that our education system is still effective and in step with the times. This, however, requires a particular ability to read and understand the current context, to accept the requests for change, and to recognize the opportunities and resources offered by today’s context. Don Bosco said that what he was implementing, with his educative-pastoral experience, was a draft on which the following generations – that is, us – would have continued to paint in the colors. May the ‘colors’ we choose to put on be our way of making the charism more current and meaningful for everyone’s life, especially the younger generations”.
Fr. Claudio, welcoming the members of the Commission, wished them a good meeting, prepared with valid content and an appropriate methodology, so as to be fruitful for the participants and constitute a good investment for the Provinces.
Sr. Ivone, hoping for a relaunch of the Salesian School at the level of the entire American continent, reiterated, “The action of all of us, as a Salesian presence in America, wants to contribute to the creation of an educational village, a culture of solidarity, of peace, of harmony, of networking. We must create a topical and prophetic theme for the 5th ESA meeting, if we want to be an element of social transformation through formal education with the Schools, Technical Institutes, and Universities managed by the Salesian Family. The school must return to its roots – to the Preventive System – to be a true educational and formative space. It cannot be oriented only to the transmission of knowledge, but to the communication of values. All of this implies a co-responsible integration of all segments of the educational process around a common project”.
To encourage joint construction, the work took place in small and in plenary groups. In this way, it was possible to plan ESA V. The teams established the different aspects related to the process of creating the event: team for contents, logistics and economy, liturgy and culture, permanent secretariat, communication and art, as well as defining the venue, which will be Guadalajara, Mexico on May 1-5, 2024.
The educational pact of the network will be made up of the Provinces represented in this event, aware of being bearers of a methodology of pedagogical accompaniment, focused on the integral education of adolescents and young people.
The Goodnights were given by Sr. Lucia Jacinta Finassi, who spoke about the Identity Project and the passion for the Salesian charism; Sr. Eva Doris Meza, who spoke of the meeting of CIMAC-NAC and Mesoamerica held in February 2023 in Guatemala; and Sr. Adair Sberga, with a prayer of gratitude.
During the days, lived in an atmosphere of fraternity and sharing, pastoral and cultural visits were not lacking. The participants visited the SDB and FMA Schools of Valparaíso, Playa Ancha, and participated in the Eucharistic Celebration, presided over by Msgr. Bernardo Bastres, in the chapel of the Salesian House. They also visited Pablo Neruda’s “La Sebastiana” House Museum. In Viña del Mar, they visited the Flower Clock and the Quinta Vergara park and the Reñaca area.