Paris (France).  Our Lady of the Nations Province (FRB), increasingly sharing the mission of pastoral animation with the Salesians of Don Bosco, extended to the confreres the proposal of an annual formation day, usually addressed only to the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians. The theme “Identity and gender”, chosen for this meeting, responds to a real educational need. Thus, about forty SDB and FMA met on Saturday 25 February 2023, in the FMA Provincial House in Paris.

Jean-Michel joined the two formators of UNIFOC (Union of Formation Organizations of Congregations), who shared his experience. Together they knew how, with great delicacy, to guide the assembly, welcoming resistance, gaps in knowledge, perplexities, even discomfort, in the face of a problem that floods society and destabilizes young people in particular… and educators too!

“Suspend judgement” was the tone of the day, and also the strong invitation to maintain this attitude in front of a homosexual, transsexual person, or a young person or adult with an unclear sexual orientation. Indeed, it is necessary to listen without prejudice, trying to distance oneself from cultural, social, religious conditioning in order to welcome the reality of the other in depth and with infinite respect.

“Give time, don’t moralize, don’t reject, walk together… Obviously, one day is not enough to face all the challenges associated with this reality, but the testimony rich in faith and humanity of Jean-Michel, Pastoral Animator, questioned us a lot in a Catholic Secondary School, which stimulates us to continue reflecting, to study this great challenge, to enlarge the space of our tent!” – conclude the participants.


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