Council Resources





Fr. Adriano BREGOLIN
Vicar of the Rector Major

Following the assessment undertaken by the General Council last June of the planning for the six year period, as regards the Salesian Family it seems to me opportune to recall some aspects that at provincial and local level need to be looked at in order to provide a more effective animation of the Salesian Family.

1. The Salesian Family Provincial Advisory Body

This is a body envisaged in art. 37 of the Mission Statement (?) of (1998). It is called together with the purpose of cultivating the sense of belonging to the Salesian Family in a spirit of communion found in the Charism of Don Bosco in which all the groups share in order to strengthen their collaboration in view of the mission to youth.
This Body with its regular meetings and in the spirit of fraternity that should animate it, will be a powerful instrument in keeping alive the awareness (?!) of all the groups of the Salesian Family and in their sense of the mission, to which all of us (in our own specific way) are called.
Recalling suggestions made by former General Councillors for the Salesian Family, I remind you that it can operate:

At the level of formation, according to the following points:

  1. Studying the Founder Don Bosco in order to know and understand him and to take on board his original project and his criteria for pastoral action.
  2. Being aware of the positive experiences of pastoral activity by the Salesian Family in the history of the Congregation and of the Salesian Family. Anniversaries and commemorations (centenaries, golden jubilees, etc) are suitable occasions to acquire and further develop this awareness.
  3. To acquire direct practical knowledge of the groups of the SF and appreciation for their specific identity.
  4. Experience the SF in practical ways through joint activities that are planned and then assessed for their explicit formation value.
  5. Ensure that the SEPP (Salesian Educative and Pastoral Plan) really involves all the SF in view of the common Salesian mission and in the awareness of their reciprocal autonomy and complementarity.
  6. Encourage the Salesians of Don Bosco to feel themselves part of the SF and not on a plane above it so as to acquire a sense of belonging and to develop a vision of mutual dependence (and not an hierarchical one).

At pastoral level:

  1. To be well-informed about the pastoral challenges facing the local Church, of which the SF is a part: the general challenges and the particular ones for the specific Salesian mission.
  2. Establish contacts based on mutual trust and collaboration with the Bishops and active elements in the Church, giving priority to those people, groups and other elements that are more in harmony with our own specific mission. The local Church should consider us part of the family and not just guests welcome or unwelcome.
  3. Make contact and establish forms of collaboration with the elements in civil society directly or indirectly of concern to the mission of the SF. The city or the region ought to feel the benefit of what we do and also consider us part of the family.
  4. With a lively sense of the local Church, the SF considers side by side the local pastoral and social challenges and the specific comitments of the Salesian mission in order to decide on the pastoral needs and to respond appropriately, establishing a Salesian Educative and Pastoral Plan (SEPP) common to the SF.
    I invite all the Provincials to establish the Provincial Advisory Body and to lead the way in its activities in the spirit of art.
  5. of our Constitutions. This requires study in the Provincial Council and a specific feasible plan to be gradually implemented. As already mentioned above, nowadays we are conscious that our confreres often feel themselves to be little involved and hardly concerned. The Salesian Family is not “an optional extra” in our apostolic work. It has been from the beginning a particular way of living the Salesian Charism, with the greatest involvement of religious and laity.
2. Provincial Delegate for the Salesian Family

Even though this is not an established or regular figure in all the Provinces, it would be good for each Province or Vice Province to have a confrere particularly concerned with the animation of the Salesian Family. Most often (reflecting the present arrangement in the General Council) this role is entrusted to the Vice Provincial. It will be his task to act as the coordinator of the various activities at provincial level. In the name of the Provincial he will maintain contacts with the various groups and see to it that the work of the Delegates and the Assistants at provincial and local level is carried out diligently and carefully so that the individual groups are constantly supported and strengthened.
Should your Provinces not yet have such a figure it would be appropriate to determine who would be responsible for carrying out this particular role, also indicating this in the provincial and general lists.

3. Delegates and Assistants

Some groups in the Salesian Family receive a special service of animation through Delegates (Cooperators and Past-Pupils) or ecclesiastical assistants (VDB – CDB), appointed according to agreements included in the text of the constitutions or according to other agreed arrangements.
In making such appointments I invite you to select and propose suitable Confreres with the necessary gifts for this task of animation, and if possible not too old. The animation of the Salesian Family ought not to be a makeshift obedience, but rather a field of apostolate through which the Salesian forces in a given area take on greater vitality and exert a positive influence on civil and ecclesiastical life. For all this people are required with great enthusiasm and ability.
In the appointment of these confreres I would ask you to follow the norms as provided in the individual statutes or agreements (with the necessary sharing of information and dialogue with those responsible for the various groups.).
In the Department for the Salesian Family the prior need has been identified for a process of formation for the Delegates and Assistants. For this reason thought has been given in these two years to the planning of special meetings at Regional level and where possible at Provincial level.

4. The Rector Major’s Strenna as a unifying element for the animationof the Salesian Family

In recent years the Rector Major’s Strenna has continued to become ever more appreciated by the individual Salesian Provinces as a means of formation for the Salesian communities and as the basis for the structuring of the pastoral programmes with the young.
In the same way the World Advisory Body of the Salesian Family has decided that the Strenna should be the focal point for reflection within the Salesian Family, all together, especially on the occasion of the Salesian Spirituality Days that are held in January at the “Salesianum” in Rome.
I invite the Provincials and the Rectors of the local communities to bear this in mind and to take advantage of the Rector Major’s Strenna as a “unifying means” for the animation of the Salesian Family. This can take a practical form on the occasions of reflection in common, in the production of material related to the topic and in pastoral activities that are meant to put into practice whatever the Rector Major suggests as the priority in this annual message of his.
Giving particular attention to the Strenna will strengthen in everyone the awareness that the Rector Major, as the Successor of Don Bosco, is the Father and centre of unity of the Salesian Family. (Cf. Con. 126)