Focus 2007

Province SUE - SUE15-03-2007

Project: Salesian Youth Ministry in the Eastern Province of the USA.
Date of foundation:  2006-7
Place:  2006-7
Province: SUE

Young people in the Eastern Province of the USA are taking the lead in bringing Don Bosco’s charism to their own families, parishes, schools, and nation. The Salesian Youth Ministry community is blessed to have such willing, gifted, and faith-filled young people to accompany as part of Don Bosco’s family.

The young people from Salesian settings took up the challenge of the Rector Major’s Strenna for 2007 with great enthusiasm. On January 22, over 300 of them gathered in Washington, D.C. to join in a national demonstration against the crime of abortion that had been made legal on that same day 35 years ago. They organized a vigil for life on the night before the march that included prayer, workshops, mass, music, and fun.

The next day they witnessed their faith before the halls of congress and the supreme court. Together with hundreds of thousands of people, our young people publicly professed their belief in the sanctity of human life. They proclaimed the conviction of the Salesian Family that all life is sacred from birth until natural death. In the name of the whole Salesian Family, they proclaimed to the world their commitment to LOVE LIFE IN ALL OF ITS FORMS.

Each year hundreds of young people gather in small groups to serve the young and the poor in Don Bosco’s name in a program called Gospel Road. In the summer of 2006, this weeklong service program was held in sites that stretched from North to South. Our young people served the poor in both urban and rural areas. They accompanied the poor, provided for their everyday needs, enjoyed games with the children, and even built and repaired homes where needed. On the other hand, these young people learned about the causes of poverty and the response of the Church to God’s poor. The weeks included a great deal of time in reflection, discussion, and prayer. Our young people have proclaimed their commitment to LOVE LIFE ESPECIALLY IN ITS MOST VULNERABLE FORMS.

The Salesian Youth Ministry Community prepares the young people for these moments of service through a number of Salesian Leadership Retreats. Hundreds of young people are prepared in this manner each year. This past January nearly 100 young people from parish and youth center settings gathered for a four-day experience of development in Salesian leadership. The young people learn some valuable principles of Salesian spirituality and ministry. They have time to reflect and share with others. They are invited to receive the sacraments of Penance and Eucharist. These young people proclaim to us their commitment to prepare themselves to LOVE ALL OF LIFE IN ALL OF ITS FORMS as part of their vocational choice.

Salesian Family involvement
The Salesian Family is accompanying its young in responding to the challenge of extending Don Bosco’s charism in North America. Nearly 100 members of the Salesian Family gathered to celebrate their Spirituality Day in February 2007. Fr. Joe Boenzi, SDB shared with them his learning and wisdom with regard to Don Bosco’s Oratory Criterion. The assembly left that day convinced that Don Bosco’s charism had to lead into a mission that reached out to the poorest and the most needy young people among us. As followers of Don Bosco, we are called to LOVE LIFE IN ALL OF ITS FORMS, ESPECIALLY THOSE WHO ARE MOST IN NEED.

From February 11-14, the SDB and FMA Provincial Councils from all of North America met for a period of prayer, listening, and collaborative planning. Our discussions brought about a deeper knowledge and appreciation of each other as brothers and sisters in Don Bosco's family. Time spent in listening and sharing brought about a convergence in a number of very important areas of our common mission.

Our prayer is that these moments of communion and collaboration with our young and with members of the Salesian Family will further the vitality of Don Bosco’s charism in North America.