Turin (Italy). On Sunday, 24 September 2023, on the occasion of the Salesian missionary expedition in Turin-Valdocco, the Rector Major of the Salesians of Don Bosco, Fr. Ángel Fernández Artime, announced the theme of the 29th General Chapter:
“PASSIONATE FOR JESUS CHRIST, DEDICATED TO THE YOUNG. For a faithful and prophetic lived experience of our Salesian vocation”
“On the day when we celebrate the sending of missionaries in this 154th Missionary Expedition at Valdocco, as our father Don Bosco did on that November 11, 1875, I also feel the joy of being able to share with you the reflection and decision we have made in these days, after conducting an extensive consultation with the provinces, regarding our next 29th General Chapter”, expressed the Rector Major while announcing the theme of GC29.
Presenting the highlights of the Letter of Convocation of GC29, which will be issued in accordance with Article 150 of the Salesian Constitutions and will be made public in the coming days, the Rector Major explained the deep motivations behind the choice of the theme, stating: “it is the result of a rich and profound reflection that we have carried out in the General Council based on the responses received from the provinces and our vision of the Congregation at this moment”.
As the “main sign of the unity of the Congregation in its diversity” (C. 146), the 29th General Chapter will be opened in Valdocco, Turin on February 16, 2025, and conclude on April 12, 2025, on the eve of Holy Week, on the same day Don Bosco arrived at Valdocco with his boys in the year 1846, adapting the shed into a chapel.
Furthermore, the 10th Successor of Don Bosco also announced the Moderator of the Chapter: Rev. Fr. Alphonse Owoudou, Regional Councilor for Africa and Madagascar.
The Rector Major explained his choice stating, “after reviewing the history of the last General Chapters and their Moderators, and taking into account the reality of our Congregation and its cultural and ethnic diversity, as well as the growth of the Congregation, especially in the Africa-Madagascar Region, but also in South Asia and some contexts of East Asia-Oceania.”
Starting from the specific objective of a General Chapter, which is “to offer a moment of planning, in which the main challenges facing the Congregation are deepened and priority lines of action for its future are chosen” (Article 1 of the Regulations), the Rector Major emphasizes that “there is a desire and expectation for a courageous General Chapter, in which things are addressed; we do not want to get lost in phrases that may sound good but do not touch life. In general, the confreres want to see a Salesian Congregation always faithful to the Lord and with Him faithful to Don Bosco. They would like us all to be those who live with this passion for God and for the mission.”
“The important thing”, the Rector Major added when speaking of GC29, “is to grow in feeling consecrated by God and at the same time be significant and prophetic. Therefore, we want to move along a path of concreteness, practicality, and sharing of good practices”.
The theme of the General Chapter, explained Fr Á.F. Artime, is unique and is articulated in three core themes:
– Theme 1: Animation and care of the true life of every Salesian.
– Theme 2: Together as Salesians, Salesian Family, and Lay People ‘With’ and ‘For’ the Young.
– Theme 3: A courageous verification and redesigning of the Governance of the Congregation at all levels.
With great hope and confidence, the Rector Major concludes his letter by imploring the blessing of Our Lady and entrusting to her the preparation and celebration of the GC 29: “May Our Lady Help of Christians, Mother of the Church, accompany us as she accompanied Don Bosco throughout his life, until the moment she made him understand that ‘she did it all’”.
A few days before the Consistory, which will be held in Rome in St. Peter’s Basilica on 30 September 2023, the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians assures its prayers and affection to the Rector Major, Fr. Ángel Fernández Artime, entrusting him to Mary Help of Christians in his new mission.