Rome (Italy) During this time of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Salesian Cooperators are called to keep alive the Salesian Charism, carrying out activities with creativity in the various realities where they are present.
“When the fisherman cannot go out to sea, he spends his time fixing the nets.” This is the metaphor used by the Salesian Cooperators of St. Gabriel Archangel Province of Chile (CIL) to recount their activity in a time in which it is not possible to go out for the mission. They decided to ‘repair the nets’ through some concrete actions:
- participate daily in the Eucharist online and in prayer together with the community initiatives, especially those promoted by Pope Francis and the Rector Major, centers of unity of the Church and of the Salesian Family;
- personal formation and formation meetings with the coordinators of each community at the Province level;
- communication through the Web and the social networks with the educating communities, the SSCC Association, and the Salesian Family to remain in communion and strengthen belonging;
- animation of the most vulnerable people, with a message of closeness and of hope, through the social networks;
- attention to the needs of the poorest and to the homeless with the food kitchen, especially those of Iquique and Northern Chile;
The Salesian Cooperators of St. Francis Zavier Province of Bahía Blanca – Argentina (ABB) are organized in 3 active Centers and others in formation centers. They work closely with the centers of the Salesian Province of Don Bosco, for a total of 11 active centers and 8 in formation.
During this pandemic period, the SSCC carry out the following activities:
In the months of March and April, the SSCC dedicated themselves to the preparation of reflections and prayers for the liturgical period of Lent and Easter, disseminated through social networks or transmitted by telephone to those who did not have access to the internet. The feast of Easter was prepared with traditional altars set up in the homes. On the occasion of Pentecost, the Via Lucis was prepared and distributed online.
Daily meditation on the Word of God and participation in the online Eucharist created communion among the members of the Association and gave support to the activities.
In addition, the SSCC collaborated by donating milk and other products to VIDES Argentina who managed the distribution to needy families. Another collaboration was with ‘Bethany House’ – an association that accompanies young people in situations of vulnerability – through the donation of food, as well as blankets and clothes, packaged for a virtual market where various products are sold, some made by young people who frequent the house.
In May the activities were concentrated in the preparation of the feast of Mary Help of Christians and in spreading Marian devotion, decorating windows and doors of some houses with the image of the Help of Christians. Simple videos were also made and published on social networks to involve people in praying the Novena, as well as in June, for the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
A group made up of the local Coordination Team of Mary Help of Christians school in Bahía Blanca, whose main objective is “Taking care of the common home”, is studying the Encyclical Letter of Pope Francis Laudato Sì. They participate in online meetings and reflect on how to recycle, reuse, reduce waste and emissions, but also on how to live an ecology in ties and in relationships.
Other groups of SSCC collaborate in the food kitchens of the neighborhood and in some oratories with donations of non-perishable food, financial aid, and blankets that they weave and send to families or people in need.
The coordinators of the Salesian Cooperators of the four areas of the North-East Italy Province and some members of the provincial council met on 23, 30, and 31 May 2020 via an online platform to share the journey of the various centers during the lockdown period and present the initiatives – online and live – proposed for the summer.
One proposal is that of the Spiritual Exercises for young adults from 18 to 35 years old entitled “3 days with your feet on the ground and your eyes on Heaven”, an opportunity for discussion and reflection to make concrete what it means to be ‘Good Christians and honest citizens’ of Don Bosco. The promotional video can be watched on the website and the flyer can be downloaded. At the end of August 2020, the Spiritual Exercises of the SSCC Province of North East Italy will also be held, in online mode.
As Don Bosco said, “it will be a lesson and an experience for everyone” and will be transformed into an opportunity to study our relationship with each other and with our ‘Common Home’, valuing the small details of daily life.