Rome (Italy). The General Councilors for Youth Ministry of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians and the Salesians of Don Bosco, Sr. Runita Galve Borja and Fr. Miguel Angel García Morcuende, addressed an appeal to the young people of the Salesian Youth Movement (SYM) and to the Delegates and Provincial coordinators of PG of Europe, inviting them to respond to the emergency situation in Ukraine with attitudes of peace and with concrete gestures of closeness and solidarity.

“We take this time as a call from God to feel responsible and in solidarity with what is happening in the Ukraine.  We cannot be indifferent or think that we can do nothing or even, that the situation does not involve us.  In reality, everything is connected…and the network itself of the Salesian Youth Movement includes young people from Ukraine and Russia.”

These are the words of the Councilors who in their letter respond to the words of Pope Francis at the end of the Audience on 23 February to remind us that God is the “God of peace and not of war; that He is the Father of everyone, not only of some; that He wants us to be brothers and sisters and not enemies” and to accept the invitation of the Holy Father to make 2 March, Ash Wednesday, a Day of fasting for peace.

The Liturgical time of Lent, “God’s appeal to return to Him, thinking and acting like Him,” becomes the occasion to “animate a more mature awareness and response with the young people of the Salesian Youth Movement, in the face of this situation.”

Regarding this proposal, Sr. Runita and Fr. Miguel Angel propose concrete initiatives to cultivate peace:

  • Intensify personal and group prayer, invoking the gift of peace from God, with moments of prayer, online or face to face, throughout Lent.
  • Organize meetings to learn more about the situation and its implications, the historical and social context, and reflect on the themes of peace, justice, nonviolence, disarmament, law, etc. in comparison with the social Magisterium of the Church.
  • Value personal encounters (face-to-face or online) with people involved in the drama of this war that has been going on for years.
  • Organize and participate in vigils, demonstrations, campaigns for peace and respect for human rights, also using social networks.
  • Cultivate nonviolent attitudes and make gestures of closeness, listening, patience, peace, and solidarity in everyday life so that violence, closure, suspicion does not prevail and the culture of indifference is concretely contrasted.

The General Councilors express trust in regard to the young people and the responsibility as educators to accompany them:

“We believe that the young people have not lost the desire to build a better society and the dream of a world of peace, of respect for the dignity of every person, of justice, of care for humanity and the earth, that are the rights of everyone.

As educators we feel the responsibility to receive this Kairos, this call of God, to live authentic experiences of accompaniment of the young people to be global citizens and responsible for a world – the home of everyone.”

To Mary, Queen of Peace, we entrust the intercession to God for the gift of peace in hearts, in the Educating Communities, and in the world.


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