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.
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:
At pastoral level:
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.
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.
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)