Brazil. On 3 and 4 May 2023, via the Zoom platform, the IX National Meeting of Social Action (ENAS) was held, which brought together the representatives of the ten Provinces of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians and the Salesians of Don Bosco in Brazil who, guided by the theme “The footprints we leave, the social impact we generate”, together presented the panorama of Salesian Social Action in the Country.
The event was organized through the joint work of the Executive Directors of the Brazil Salesian Network (RSB), Sr. Silvia Aparecida da Silva and Fr. Nivaldo Luiz Pessinatti; of the National Coordinator of Salesian Social Action Carolina Neves Oliveira; of the Project Manager of Formation, Ana Paula Costa e Silva; in addition to the support of the National Coordinators for Schools, Communication, and Youth Ministry, respectively, Sr. Lucia Jacinta Finassi, Sr. Maike Loes, Sr. Nádia Caetano dos Santos, and Fr. José Ricardo Mole, from the teams of RSB National Office and the contribution of the Salesian Social Works of Brazil in the form of testimonies.
On the first day, the importance of the pedagogical attitudes of the Salesian educator in living the Charism within the social work and in the territory in which one operates was highlighted. The testimonies of some participants present and past from four of the ten Salesian Provinces of Brazil were presented, alternating with the words of Sr. Nádia Caetano dos Santos who dealt with the theme, “The footprints we leave: with observation/proximity, the listening”; and by the Provincial Delegate for Salesian Youth Ministry of St. Pius X Province, Fr. Sérgio Ramos, who dealt with the theme, “The footprints we leave: with presence-assistance, welcome, sharing”.
The day ended with the intervention of Carolina Neves who, recalling Don Bosco’s well-known phrase, “It is enough that you are young for me to love you”, drew a parallel with its current meaning in the Salesian social works of the country, which work ceaselessly in favor of children, adolescents, and young people in situations of social vulnerability. “Our mission as Salesians, consecrated and lay, is to create encounters that transform lives. I am convinced that we are heirs of this commitment with Don Bosco, with Mother Mazzarello, and with the young”, she concluded.
On the second and final day, the commitment of the Salesian Social Works in Brazil was highlighted for the growth of the new generations, with the safeguarding of rights and the promotion of a culture of peace. There were the testimonies of present and past assisted persons in the current six Salesian Provinces of Brazil, enriched by two reflections. The first on the theme, “The social impact we generate: in the student’s Life Project, in the family, in the territory, in public policies, in the defense of rights, in councils, was led by the Coordinator of Social Action of St. Pius X Province, José Jair Ribeiro. The second, “The social impact we generate: our charismatic commitment” was coordinated by Sr. Silvia Aparecida da Silva, together with the Formator of Salesian Social Action, Eduardo Batista dos Santos.
On the same day, Sr. Maike Loes, together with the RSB communication team, made up of communication experts Janaína Lima and Thiago Silva, and graphic designer Pedro Freitas, presented the new National Social Action Campaign for 2023/2024. “It is exciting to see how many people are so committed, dedicated to the transformation of society, and above all to the solid proposal of happiness for the young people with whom we work”, observed Fr. Pessinatti.
The IX National Meeting of Salesian Social Action (ENAS) 2023 closed with the intervention of the Executive Directors of the Brazilian Salesian Network and the National Coordinator of Salesian Social Action, who recalled Don Bosco’s commitment starting from his famous phrase, “I promised God that even my last breath would be for my poor young people”, renewing the commitment of each team of Salesian Social Works in Brazil for the reception and integral formation of children, adolescents, and young people in situations of social vulnerability in the Country.
“This event is, in fact, a meeting. A great and beautiful meeting of people engaged in a beautiful mission and in a charism that still today offers us paths and answers to the challenges and requests that young people present to us. How important this moment is for Salesian Social Action which, in every house in Brazil, meets to reflect and give new meaning to its own practice. May the strength of our Charism, made explicit in every discourse today, be a beacon for us,” concluded Caroline Neves.