America. The School America Meeting of the Interprovincial Conference of Bolivarian Nations (CINAB) and the Andean Region (Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela) took place online from 3 to 5 February 2021.
Present were the 48 members responsible for Education and Pastoral Ministry of the Provinces, including Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, Salesians of Don Bosco, Daughters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, and the Daughters of the Divine Savior, who together animate hundreds of educational centers where children, adolescents, adults, and teachers are formed.
The meeting began with a moment of prayer prepared by Fr. Wladimir Acosta, SDB, Delegate for Youth Ministry of Ecuador (ECU) and, after the presentation of the participants, the Referents for the Salesian School America (ESA), Sr. Ivone Goulart Lopes, collaborator of the Youth Ministry Sector, and Fr. Claudio Cartes, Delegate for Youth Ministry of the Chile Province (CIL), greeted the participants.
The Referents of the Andean Region, Sr. Bertha Vivas, FMA and Fr. Luis Tórrez, SDB presented the objectives of the meeting: sharing the challenges of this time of pandemic and post-pandemic, strengthening the networking of the Andean Region and CINAB, to share good practices for the implementation of the ESA IV axes.
The General Councilor for the Youth Ministry Sector, Sr. Runita Borja, expressed in her presentation her approval of the choice to take the pandemic situation into consideration in planning the meeting: “This is the key to moving forward. We must always place ourselves in the real context, because reality is more important than the idea. And as believers, we recognize the living and active presence of God even in this reality of great suffering. Only together will we have the necessary courage, clarity, and hope.”
The program continued with the presentation by Sr. Patricia Parraguez, FMA of the Chilean Province of St. Gabriel Archangel CIL, of the work carried out by the Central Commission of ESA in 2020; while Sr. Brígida Pillajo, FMA of the Sacred Heart Province of Ecuador (ECU), coordinated the presentation of the good practices implemented in the Provinces, with attention to one of the axes of ESA IV.
On the second day, two formative moments were proposed: “The challenges of education in times of COVID and post-COVID starting from the Salesian identity” by Fr. Tarcizio Morais, SDB of the YM Dicastery, and the intervention of Sr. Patricia Parraguez , FMA of the CIL Province, on: “Networking, assume the challenge?”.
On the last day, Fr. Miguel Ángel García, SDB General Councilor for Youth Ministry, held a formative moment on: “Keys for Salesian accompaniment during the pandemic”. Among the aspects mentioned in his talk, was the invitation to the “pedagogy of silence”: “Pastoral care also means accompanying the processes of building personal identity, encouraging the person and giving them the strength and guidance necessary to use their personal potential and interpersonal resources more effectively. The pedagogy of silence is also important, encouraging pause, calm, silence … To search within.”
In addition to the different reports, the participants had the opportunity to work in groups to share the strongest challenges in this time of pandemic, especially in relation to accompanying children, teenagers, young people, educators, and teachers in the different realities of America.