Council Resources

Seminar on the topic of spiritual direction, 16th to 20th November 2016

Study on Spiritual Direction from a salesian perspective

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Dear Provincial,
Dear Youth Ministry Delegate,

first of all greeting to you from my part and from the part of all the members of the Department for Youth Ministry.

During the six-year period 2008 – 2014, the Department for Youth Ministry has made a series of 4 seminars, 2010-2013, on the topic of spiritual direction with the participation of experts on the subject.

After the positive experience of these meetings, many Salesians have asked to be part of this process which plays such a central role in our ministry. That is why the Department for Youth Ministry is proposing a new opportunity for reflection and sharing in this area of Salesian educative and pastoral action.

The participants will be Salesians and lay people involved in the personal accompaniment of the young and who have practical experience in the education of the life of prayer in Salesian Youth Ministry.

In the letter we send to you we spell the objectives of this seminar, the proposed content and methodology that will be followed.

The seminar will be held at the Salesianum, Rome, from 16th to 20th November 2016 (beginning Wednesday 16th at 20:00 and ends up on Sunday 20th lunch). The cost of the study seminar will be euros 200.

Since this seminar is intended for those who already have experience in the ministry of spiritual accompaniment, we kindly ask you to suggest a person from your Province that you think can benefit from participating in this seminar. We would be grateful if you could send us the name by October 1, 2016.

Finally, in the seminar there will also be workshops that will present experiences of accompaniment in prayer. For this reason, we would like to ask you if you have some experiences in this area within your province that can be shared with the participants in this seminar (see Module 3).

We look forward to hearing your response and your proposals.





Accompany the life of prayer

Spiritual life is nourished by the Word as a means of personal discernment, is celebrated in Liturgy and Sacraments, and is fortified in prayer. Through them, in a process of growth in faith and spiritual accom­paniment, the prayerful dimension of the individual is strengthened. Our desire is to help all youth to be able to let themselves be challenged through a dialogue with God, to learn to pay attention to that which God is proposing in their lives, to recognize his voice present in their very own life history. Salesian prayer in youth, as a lived reality, helps them to look at their own story with God’s perspective, to see it with God’s eyes, to see it just as God sees it, to imagine it as the image of God.

In the formation of youth, there must be place for education in prayer. While the value of liturgical and community prayer is certainly affirmed, it is also necessary to reaffirm the importance of personal prayer as “the condition of authenticity” in Paul VI’s words.

To educate in a life of prayer is more than expounding a doctrine. It is much more like the mediation of God’s action. Before being able to help others to pray, the Salesian who accompanies youth must have had this very experience of prayer. Specifically, he must have found in prayer God’s light to compli­ment the interior action of the Master. Youth themselves are capable of seeing and verifying God’s gift through those who are capable of recognizing the Lord’s absolute primacy in the formation of persons.

After the four seminars organized by the Youth Ministry Department from 2010 to 2013 (“Spiritual Accompaniment, The Pedagogical Itinerary in the Salesian Context at the service of youth”), we offer a new space that helps the educative and pastoral ministry.


Committed Salesians and laity in the personal accompaniment of youth; those who have concrete experience in education to the life of prayer within the Salesian Youth Ministry.


1. Discover the importance and the educative role of prayer within the sources of Salesian spirituality.

2. Share common practices in the accompaniment of prayer with children, adolescents and young people.

3. Reflect upon the distinct methods and modes of prayer to find that which can be best adapted individually, using a Salesian style with a very practical approach.

MODULE 1 Prayer in Salesian spirituality

Prayer in Don Bosco: “What does prayer mean for him?” “How does he educate to prayer life?” “What are the primary sources of prayer?”

MODULE 2 Prayer and spiritual accompaniment
  • The urgency and the necessity of prayer in the one who spiritually accompanies.
  • The education to personal prayer in the spiritual accompaniment of youth: how to
    understand the obstacles?; how to educate to the quest for prayer? and how to com?
    prehend the dangers on the road to prayer?
  • Vocation and prayer in spiritual accompaniment: the history of every vocation is a history of prayer.
MODULE 3 Prayer Journeys
  • Personal Prayer: spiritual journal; prayer in special moments; praying with symbols,
    icons, music, dance.
  • Praying with the Word: prayer with the Psalms and Lectio Divina.
  • Eucharist, the prayer of the Church.
  • Initiation into prayer with children: obstacles, resources and priorities.
  • Various forms and expressions of prayer in groups: experiences of a “school of prayer”
    and social networks.
  • Others.
MODULE 4 Times for praying and sharing

Itinerary of prayer in Matthew 6 (Lectio Divina).


The seminar will be carried out through a series of papers and workshops offering guided experiences that offer knowledge and familiarity with varied ways of education to prayer:

Paper presentation and “feedback” (module 1 and 2): a formative activity that offers a reflection and, at the same time, moments for sharing and analysis between the participants and the speaker. A method that involves active participation.

Workshop offering Practical Experiences
(modulo 3): a space in which a limited number of partici­pants and one or two presenters offer concrete experiences of prayer. Going beyond the academic ex­position of the theme, the workshop aims at deepening the particular topic form a practical perspective. Prayer method (Module 4): the group is invited to participate in the “Lectio Divina”, as an opportunity for prayerful listening to an itinerary of the Word of God.

Personal work and group reflection
(guiding questions): the principal intention is to bring out the challenges and opportunities presented by these themes with the accompaniment of prayer in diverse Salesian contexts.


Rome, Nov. 16 -20, 2016 (begins on Wednesday, Nov. 16 at 8:00 p.m., and ends with lunch on Sunday, Nov. 20, 2016)
Department for Youth Ministry