Rome (Italy). On 9 November 2022, the Professors of the Institute of Pastoral Theology and the Students of the Licentiate in Youth Ministry of the Salesian Pontifical University (UPS) of Rome, on the occasion of Curriculum Day, visited the Generalate of the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians and had a meeting with the FMA of the Youth Ministry Sector.
The goal of the day was to give teachers and students the opportunity to deal with the Youth Ministry proposal of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians and to share reflections, expectations, and difficulties with each other regarding the studies undertaken.
Sr. Carla Castellino, Animator of Mary Help of Christians Community of the Generalate (RCG), welcomed the guests, presenting the Community in its particular mission of service to the Institute and welcoming, in the historical evolutions and in the numerical and intercultural composition, which make it unique.
After a brief moment of prayer, the teachers and students met the Sisters of the Youth Ministry Sector, who presented the proposal of YM of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians starting from the Guidelines for the Educational Mission of the FMA (LOME), with references to the post-synodal exhortation Christus Vivit and to the requests of the 24th General Chapter.
Youth Ministry was illustrated starting from the educational mission, oriented towards promoting the integral growth of the person and educating to commitment to an active and global citizenship. It connects educational action and evangelizing action, since Christ is the fundamental reference for the construction of personal identity and for the discernment of the human and cultural values of the educational environment.
The Christocentric principle of the Incarnation illuminates the criterion of predilection for young people and of prevention. In the light of the four perspectives – cultural, evangelizing, social, and communicative – they then spoke of the importance, as an Educating Community, of updating the educational proposal according to the Salesian Preventive System, promoting missionary, vocational, synodal, and systematic pastoral care everywhere. While respecting the different ‘speeds’ in the assumption of the Educating Community as the subject of the educational mission, we try to live the principle of equifinality, which recalls flexibility and adaptability, so that all reach the common goal of integral education, so that young people “have life and life in abundance”, beyond the starting point and the path taken, especially in respect of the context and cultures.
In addition to the presentation of the members of the Sector at which Sr. Ana Victoria Ulate, Sr. Lolia Annie Pfozhumai, and Sr. Ivone Goulart Lopes were present, we spoke about its organization and the different dimensions that are accompanied, highlighting the methodology of discernment and communication channels that the Sector uses to maintain the circular-synodal relationship with the Provincial Coordinators of the YM and with the various Referents.
From the dialogue with the students, the importance of grasping pastoral difficulties as an opportunity and of undertaking the pedagogy of listening and dialogue, in the certainty that starting from the bottom, processes that are sometimes slow, but more effective, can be promoted for a pastoral conversion that fosters the witnessing proclamation of the Gospel and the transformation of life, thanks to the personal encounter with Jesus.
We also reflected on synodality as a lifestyle, as a way of being and not just of acting, which must involve a change of mentality and the assumption of responsibility at different levels, in order to favor synodal processes.
Students and teachers, grateful for the welcome of the Generalate and the Sector, then continued Curriculum Day according to the program, with group work on the experience in the University, lunch together, and a visit to the UPS library.