SOCIETA’ DI SAN FRANCESCO DI SALES
casa generalizia salesiana
Via della Pisana 1111 - 00163 Roma
Il Vicario del Rettor Maggiore
Rome, 16th July 2016
Prot. n. 16/0279
Provincials and Superiors
Subject: Processes to realize after the Provincial Chapter
Dear Father Provincial,
I hope this letter finds you in good physical and spiritual health.
In the encounters of the summer session of the General Council, which we are concluding, we devoted time to the approval of the Provincial Chapters. We are happy for the work done by the Provinces and for this we express our thanks. This study was demanding for us, but we are aware that it will make Don Bosco’s charism grow in our presences.
In the next days you will receive, or may be you have already received, the letter of approval written by the Secretary General, Fr. Stefano Vanoli, on behalf of the Rector Major and the General Council. This letter must be made known, together with the documents of the Provincial Chapter, modified according to the indications provided.
In the General Council we asked ourselves how to accompany the journey, so that the work done may now find ways of implementation. Hence, I offer you some indications relating to the two themes that we proposed and that you dealt with in the Provincial Chapter.
1. Processes of Assimilation of GC27 and of the Provincial Chapter
On this first theme, the Provincial Chapters mostly chose the methodology of evaluation. Looking at what GC27 proposes in the three fundamental core topics – mystics, prophets, servants – the Provincial Chapters indicated the aspects that the Province has already acquired or is acquiring, those that are still week or lacking, and the steps it commits itself to take.
The General Council has asked to integrate in the provincial document some elements that seemed missing. The following are the most important additions that have been pointed out to the Provinces: commitment of each confrère to have a spiritual guide; promotion of the Salesian vocation in its two forms, the ministerial and the lay one; integration of the pastoral of the family in youth ministry; formation of the confrères to affectivity, both in initial formation and in the ongoing one; entrusting of responsibility to lay people and joint formation of Salesians and lay people; missionary formation; attention to be communicators in the new digital culture.
How to continue now the journey on this theme after the Provincial Chapter? In order to assume in a concrete way the guidelines of GC27 and of the Provincial Chapter we suggest three ways, concerning respectively the confrère, the Salesian community, the Province. It is not only a question of accepting our indications, but all the indications given by the Provincial Chapters.
The confrère, drawing inspiration from GC27 and the choices of the Provincial Chapter, should annually put in his own personal project of life those aspects he is in need of to be able to grow as mystic in the Spirit, prophet of fraternity, servant of the young.
The local community, drawing inspiration from GC27 and the choices of the Provincial Chapter, should annually assume in its communal project of life what it finds weak in its life and helps it to walk in tunes with the Province and the Congregation.
The Province, always drawing inspiration from GC27 and the choices of the Provincial Chapter, should integrate in the provincial organic plan the most important demands for its vitality. In fact the journey of the Province cannot ignore what GC27 proposed to the entire Congregation.
2. Provincial plan of reshaping the Salesian presences
Concerning the reshaping of the Salesian presences in the Province, the Provincial Chapters indicated some criteria for its realization; some Chapters have also taken into account all the works, indicating interventions to make. The reshaping must have a clear target, which is that of ensuring the vitality of the charism in the Province and not the survival of the houses.
The work of reshaping is not concluded with the Provincial Chapter. For this the Rector Major and the General Council request a further commitment from the Provinces. In this regard the letter of approval states: “The Provincial Chapter offered some criteria for the reshaping of the Salesian presences of the Province: now it is the responsibility of the Provincial with his Council to implement them and take the consequent decisions. Therefore it is requested from the Provincial with his Council to send to the Secretary General the plan for the reshaping of the Salesian presences of the Province within May 31st, 2017”. This plan must concretely indicate priorities, timing and resources.
In the letter of approval to each Province, particular situations to face are indicated in order to implement such a plan. In general, it is requested that such a plan:
Finally it is worth reminding that it is the responsibility of the Provincial with his Council to take decisions on the presences, especially for openings and closings, and to request the necessary authorizations from the Rector Major and the General Council. This means that the Rector Major and the General Council approved the criteria for the reshaping, but not the decisions that the Provincial Chapters indicated; this requires the proper procedure of approval according to our Constitutions.
While I renew the heartiest thanks for the work done, I assure the remembrance in my prayer for you, for the confrères and the communities. Yours in Don Bosco.
Don Francesco Cereda