Rome (Italy) The Salesian Family Spirituality Days, (16-19 January 2020) at Turin-Valdocco have concluded, a significant place, a family place, “where everything speaks of our Father Don Bosco,” as his tenth successor, Fr. Ángel Fernández Artime, Rector Major of the Salesians of Don Bosco, said on January 19, 2020 in the concluding homily of these days:
“Here everything speaks of Don Bosco, a man, a heart that deeply loved the young: ‘for you I study, for you I work, for you I do everything. It is wonderful to be Don Bosco’s family and to offer today something of our own and unique which is this: to love and give ourselves up to the point of fatigue, for boys, girls, their families together with them, and among them the most needy. This is the essence of the charism.”
Don Rua, speaking of Don Bosco in 1894, grasps the heart of all his actions: “He did not take a step, did not say a word, did not put hand to an enterprise that did not aim at the salvation of youth… He really had nothing at heart but souls.”
Still today, the members of each of the 32 Groups of the Salesian Family continue to give life to Don Bosco’s dream, to have his passion for the young, and to have at heart their souls, each with its own specific commitment, all united by the Salesian Charism.
The theme of the Salesian Family Days, “Good Christians and honest citizens,” taking up Strenna 2020 of the Rector Major, invited the participants to reflect on the meaning of this expression in the environments in which each one daily spends themselves in the mission.
Is it possible today to be “good Christians and honest citizens” in all the contexts in which we find ourselves?
Mother Yvonne Reungoat, Mother General of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, referring to the Strenna says: “Living the harmony between faith and life is the heart of Don Bosco’s charism which has given a face to the environment where numerous young people in Valdocco experienced the joy of walking towards the goal of holiness. And this is possible even in our environments today, as long as we believe in it!“ (Circ. 993).
The Valdocco of Don Bosco was a simple, daily school of holiness in which the young and those who breathed the air of this environment, could not but become witnesses in their turn of what they had seen and lived with him.
A Spirit who inspired and always accompanied him and who, 132 years after the birth of the Saint of young people into heaven, as the Rector Major says in the same homily, does not stop:
“The Spirit of God and of this Family never stops. It is a family with 32 Groups that have Salesian Spirituality as their center and each, according to their birth as a group, does a service for evangelization, charity, and education.”
Let us listen to the voice of some testimonies of the Salesian Family Groups who express their commitment to bring the Salesian Charism today, where they are called according to their specific mission.
The experience of Valdocco was born with the young people. Relaunching it can only pass through the active presence of the young. Fr. Enrico Lupano, Salesian of Don Bosco, who deals with hospitality in Valdocco, talks about the project of the International Youth Community.
Sr. Veronica, of the Daughters of the Divine Savior, during the Spirituality Days of the Salesian Family experienced the Family Spirit which characterizes the Salesian Charism. Their specific charism is to bring the message of the Bethlehem Nativity to children and young people, especially the poorest and most needy, through Christian education, with the spirit of Saint John Bosco.
For Italo Canaletti, Salesian Cooperator, carrying out socio-political service is very important, to be honest citizens and good Christians inserted in society.
Elizabeth is part of ADMA, the Association of Mary Help of Christians founded by Don Bosco to promote worship of the Eucharist and devotion to Mary Help of Christians. “Being good Christians and honest citizens means being faithful to the little things of daily life to which we are called and to entrust joys and labors to the Lord”.
“During these Salesian Family Days, listening to the testimonies from the whole world, this motto Good Christians and honest citizens renewed in me the desire to give my contribution and that of the Canção Nova Community through the means of communication”. These are the words of Cristiane Monteiro, responsible for this Group of the Salesian Family.