Rome (Italy). On 18 February 2023, the online meeting of the Provincial Coordinators for Youth Ministry of the Interprovincial Conferences of America – CIMAC, CICSAL and CINAB – was held, coordinated by Sr. Runita Borja, General Councilor for Youth Ministry of the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, together with Sr. Herlinda Palomino Rivera, of the Peruvian Province of St. Rose of Lima (PER), new Collaborator of the Sector.
After the presentation of the new Collaborator by Sr. Runita, and the reception of the FMA who begin the service of Coordinator in their Province, the meeting began with a prayer on the theme of the Rector Major’s Strenna, “Like yeast in the human family today. The lay dimension of Don Bosco’s Family”. At the end, there was a sharing of reflections resulting from the vision of the documentary, “The letter” on the encyclical of Pope Francis, and on the new inspirations for continuing to implement the Chapter resolution in the respective province journeys.
The sharing highlighted the great commitment that each Province is making to make the dream of ecological conversion possible. Each Coordinator underlined that specific commissions have been set up to accompany the implementation methods of the proposed steps towards integral ecology. An important aspect that emerged is the creation of networks with the various organizations that work in defense of the planet, with the awareness that only in this way can the contribution of the FMA be significant. At the basis of every choice for the defense and care of the environment, there is the commitment to the education of young people, including the protection and promotion of the poorest, through a critical, creative, and participatory education, capable to form a conscience of solidarity which is strengthened by cooperation and dialogue in the face of ecological problems.
Sr. Runita then presented the key points of the animation of the Youth Ministry Sector 2022-2027, based on the Programming of the General Council for the six-year period: synodality, discernment and service to life, keeping hope alive. These options, she specified, must permeate the educational and pastoral work of all the Provinces. To this end, she offered some indications:
- It is important not to lose sight of the nature and tasks of the Youth Ministry Sector (cf. Const. 129), that is, to animate the apostolic action of the FMA Institute in all its expressions, in fidelity to the charism and the needs of the youth reality and offer guidelines so that in each Province Educating Communities are consolidated to promote the integral formation of young people and favor their insertion in society and in the Church.
- At the basis of the charism of the FMA Institute is attention to Life. The Gospel says, “That they may have life and have it in abundance” (Jn 10:10). For the FMA, this evangelical call expresses the attention to be paid to what young people are looking for, sometimes without knowing it (Guidelines for the Educational Mission, p. 4).
- For Educating Communities, educating is evangelizing and evangelizing is educating. Consequently, every educational intervention has the ultimate and intentional aim of encouraging the encounter with Jesus in daily life, so that His presence may permeate society and transform it (LOME, p. 5).
- One cannot lose sight of the main action guidelines of Youth Ministry proposed by Pope Francis (Christus Vivit, n. 209), in reference to the search, that is, the invitation to the call which attracts new young people to an experience with the Lord; and to the growth and development of a journey of maturation for those who have already lived this experience.
- The Church inserted in the contemporary world proposes some journeys in full harmony with the Salesian charism. These are the 7 Objectives of Laudato Si’ and the 7 Commitments for the Global Educational Pact, which challenge the FMA Institute to make them possible in every educational-pastoral project.
- The approach to animation must be oriented towards a conversion to integral ecology, inserted in a global citizenship, with particular attention to the female reality, in the style of missionary synodality. Concretely, it means looking for young people where they are, listening to them, and involving them.
In concluding the online meeting of the Provincial Youth Ministry Coordinators of the CICSAL, CIMAC, and CINAB Conferences, Sr. Runita specified that the Youth Ministry Sector of the FMA Institute remains available to all Provinces to provide guidance and formation based on the needs of each reality.