Turin (Italy). On 13 January 2022, in Valdocco-Turin, the 40th edition of the Salesian Family Spirituality Days opened, the annual event in which the 32 Groups of the SF meet to deepen the theme of the Strenna of the Rector Major, Fr. Ángel Fernández Artime, which for the year 2022 has the theme: “Do everything through love, nothing through constraint”.
From the Great Theater in Turin-Valdocco, Elena and Carlo, two young spouses, introduced the Days of Listening, Prayer, Discussion on the Strenna and gave the floor to the Rector Major, who greeted the 150 representatives of the 32 Groups present in the room, among them the General Councilor for the Salesian Family of the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, Sr. Leslie Sándigo. Also present in the room were Sr. Gabriela Patiño Osorio, Delegate of the World Confederation of Mornese FMA Past Pupils, and Sr. Lucrecia Uribe, World Delegate of the Association of Salesian Cooperators (ASSCC), collaborators in the Sector.
About 10,000 people follow the SFSD event online from all over the world, “a gift to express the great communion of the Salesian Family”, recalled the Rector Major.
Fr. Leonardo Mancini, Provincial of the Circumscription Mary Help of Christians Piedmont and Valle d’Aosta of the Salesians of Don Bosco welcomed the participants “from the House of Don Bosco” wishing “to know and taste ever more deeply the beauty and depth of the roots from which Salesian Spirituality draws and to be able to make them ours, so that they nourish daily life.”
The World Delegate for the Salesian Family, Fr. Joan Lluís Playà, SDB, thanked those who contributed to the realization of the Days, established 40 years ago by the VII Successor of Don Bosco, Fr. Egidio Viganò, outlined the program, aimed at knowing better the figure of St. Francis de Sales and deepening the knowledge and the comparison between the Groups of the SF, in an atmosphere of prayer and conviviality.
As a first step, Fr. Ivo Coelho, General Councilor for Formation, officially closed the year dedicated to Fr. Paul Albera, the second successor of Don Bosco, who distinguished himself as a “lovable, hardworking, tenacious traveler, open to languages and cultures, with a great ability to win hearts.” On the 100th anniversary of his death (1921-2021), an exhibition has been dedicated to him at the Casa Don Bosco Museum in Valdocco. Fr Ivo then declared open the year dedicated to St. Francis de Sales, on the 4th centenary of his death, “Saint of the house” for Don Bosco, for his common birth in the Kingdom of Savoy.
The heart of the 1st Day was the presentation of the Strenna, the Rector Major, Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, who invited to deepen the text and identify “the bridges” ranging from the spirituality of St. Francis de Sales to that of Don Bosco, “the Saint who best knew how to translate the charism of S.F. di Sales to reach the hearts of young people with Salesian sensitivity”.
The Rector Major dwelt on one of the 7 points of the Strenna, concerning the aspect of freedom, saying: “Only in freedom can we approach God: St. Francis is convinced that God draws to himself without taking away our freedom. When one feels loved, he responds to Love. The first educational proposal of our environments is to arouse in young people, in children is to arouse this beauty, to be enthusiastic for God, but always in freedom.” Another element that unites the two Saints, he underlined, is that of goodness “Believing in human goodness: there is no boy/girl who does not have a seed of goodness in their heart.”
“Holiness possible for everyone is the true revolution of Salesian spirituality” the Rector Major then affirmed, inviting the Salesian Family to value, particularly in this year, the opportunity of spiritual accompaniment. In the final moment in the hall, Fr. Ángel made himself available to answer some questions from the world, for further study of the themes of the Strenna.
The day continued with the work in the groups, both for those present and for the remote members belonging to the different Groups of the Salesian Family, who met for discussion and common reflection via the Zoom platform.