Rome (Italy). Thirty years ago (1988), on the occasion of the Centenary Celebrations of the death of Don Bosco, the Salesian Youth Movement was officially recognized as the Worldwide Salesian Youth Movement.
A bit of history
The Salesian Youth Movement (SYM) is the movement that brings together groups and associations that recognize themselves in Salesian spirituality and educational commitment.
Already in the ’70s the SYM Sicily and some countries of South America, gathered the young of the Salesian oratories who met to share their Salesian experiences, to grow and form themselves together in the style of Don Bosco as men and women, as involved lay people, and as educators. In Italy, SYM (Salesian Youth Movement) gathered the young people of the oratories and of all the educational environments and associations of the Salesians and of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians and identified some guidelines that, even today, are the basis of the SYM journey.
In 1988, on the occasion of the celebrations of the centenary of the death of Don Bosco, the Rector Major, Fr. Egidio Viganò, during a meeting of young people from all the Salesian houses in the world, declared the Salesian Youth Movement official at the worldwide level.
During these years the Salesian Youth Movement has grown and is constantly growing. The Movement makes the communion of youth groups and associations inspired by Don Bosco and Mother Mazzarello concrete and visible. Now there are simple and agile coordination structures at various levels. The Salesian Youth Movement is a comprehensive and vast pastoral – educative – evangelizing presence of the Salesian Family with young people, among young people and for young people. It is the youth mission that unites the different groups of the Salesian Family in a spirit of collaboration, in particular SDB, FMA, and Salesian Cooperators.
To commemorate this occasion, the two General Councilors – Fr Fabio Attard SDB and Sister Runita Borja FMA – published a message addressed to the young people, SDB, FMA, and Salesian Cooperators, recalling the strong harmony between the identity of the SYM and the Church’s journey, especially the next Synod of Bishops on the theme Young people, faith and vocational discernment.
In their message the two General Councilors thus express themselves:
“The focus chosen by the Synod of Bishops to reflect on the reality of the young generations finds profound resonance in the identity of the Salesian Youth Movement which, since its origin as a world movement, has as a common point among the groups and youth associations that recognize themselves as part of it, living “the values of Salesian youth spirituality” from a vocational perspective, as a path of discernment and adherence to the dream of God’s love, precisely the synod theme.
We take advantage of the 30th anniversary of the life of SYM to encourage you to believe in its value, enhancing its identity, promoting its various coordinations (local, provincial, national, regional, continental) and ensuring a journey of full growth for the young people on a personal and group level, which pays particular care and attention to vocational discernment. Let us deepen together, young people and adults, the values of Salesian youth spirituality in order to live them according to the challenges of the third millennium: existence and daily life; joy and optimism; friendship with Jesus; ecclesial communion; responsible service.
Here, dear ones, are some resonances from the heart that we would like to share with you. We hope that together you can find time and space to reflect on how to make the Salesian Youth Movement an increasingly better space for youthful protagonism, a journey in which to respond to God’s call, realize one’s life plan, and achieve happiness”.