Bulletin n°. 98 in April 2019
Dear confreres and friends,
The 28th General Chapter began months ago with a specific question addressed to each Salesian and every community: which Salesians for the youth of today? Many Provinces have already held their Provincial Chapter in an atmosphere of Salesian Pentencost, listening to the voice of the Lord in the young and among lay people.
Our Department has taken up this question and reflected on it during the World Advisory Council for Communication held in Rome from 21 to 24 February, fully aware that “The digital environment is characteristic of the contemporary world. Broad swathes of humanity are immersed in it in an ordinary and continuous manner. It is no longer merely a question of ‘using’ instruments of communication, but of living in a highly digitalized culture that has had a profound impact on ideas of time and space, on our self-understanding, our understanding of others and the world, and our ability to communicate, learn, be informed and enter into relationship with others. An approach to reality that privileges images over listening and reading has influenced the way people learn and the development of their critical sense” (Christus Vivit, 86).
Those born after the Nineties do not only come from another generation, but another era; they are digital natives and children of the internet, while the rest of us are digital migrants, more or less successfully, but we all live in this digital world. Pope Benedict XVI, in his message for the 57th World Communications Day, wrote: “The digital environment is not a parallel or purely virtual world, but is part of the daily experience of many people, especially the young.”
The pastoral principle we have inherited from Don Bosco is that we must be where young people are. Young people live in a digital world with a digital mentality; we also live in a digital world but with an analogue mentality which is migrating to a digital one (let’s hope that Trump does not build a wall against digital migrants). The young people to whom we have been sent, to evangelise and educate are now living in a digital world. New Salesian vocations come from the digital world with the virtues and defects that are proper to it, just as we have virtues and defects proper to out analogue reality. For these and other reasons, the Department called together the World advisory Council for Communication from 21-24 February, in view of offering a response to the question: which Salesian communicators for the youth of the digital world?
Representation from the Congregations regions, the wealth of professional preparation, experience in the Salesian mission and communication, the generosity and capacity for work of each of the Board members allowed us to tackle a range of topics which enable us to draw up an essential profile of the Salesian communicator for young people of the digital world. The set of documents will be translated and offered to Provincials, Delegates for Communication and Formation in all the Provinces over the next few weeks.
I am grateful to the Provincials who allowed their Delegates to take part in the Board meeting, and I assure you that you and they have given a very valuable gift to the Congregation in helping more Salesians to be witnesses of God’s love for the young in the digital world.
Cordially in Don Bosco:
Fr Filiberto González Plasencia