Rome, 28 July 2009
To Salesian Confreres of the Congregation
Last week the Commission for the Project Europe met and considered the things to be done in the period between August 2009 and December 2010. Subsequently the General Council considered the proposals presented and gave its approval. Now I want to give you some information about the steps it is intended to take in this period.
1. The Rector Major and the General Councillors
The Rector Major, the Councillors for Departments and the Regional Councillors for the three Regions of Europe, in the interventions planned for 2009 - 2010 with the Provinces and Regions of Europe are giving special attention to the Project Europe. Then the Rector Major and all the Councillors are committed to encouraging the implementation of the Project also in the other Regions.
2. Animation by the Departments in Europe
The Department for Formation is organising a meeting for the Formation delegates of Europe in May 2010, so as to make the best use of inter-provincial collaboration and to encourage European initiatives for initial formation, for the formation of formation personnel and for ongoing formation in Europe. It will then reflect with then on the subject of practical training, of the study of languages, on possible meetings of those in formation according to the stages of formation.
The Department for Youth Ministry is working onstarting a form of coordination of ministry for the Provinces of Poland and fostering synergy with other national centres of Youth Ministry in Italy and Spain. It is following up the European Consultative Committee for Schools and Vocational Training, European coordination of the Salesian Youth Movement, the “Don Bosco Youth Net”.
The Department for the Missions and the corresponding FMA Group are proposing to hold in Rome in November 2010 for confreres and sisters from Europe some days of reflection on the subject “the first proclamation of the Gospel.” The Councillors for Formation and the Missions are also reflecting together during 2009 - 2010 on the experience of missionaries, who come to Europe for practical training and theological studies.
The Department for the Social Communication is engaged in creating a platform on the site of the Direzione Generale for the Project Europe. It is working with the Salesian Bulletins to spread and exchange among themselves significant news items, and also to help the other Salesian Bulletins in the Congregation to make the Project Europe known. It is encouraging more frequent communication by net-working especially by means of “Youtube” or other similar digital forms.
3. Animation by the Regions of Europe
Together with the General Council I intend to offer a synthesis of the criteria for the effectiveness of the Salesian presence, starting from GC25 n. 84. This can be of help to Regional and Provincial procedures for re-locating and re-organising and the study of the “new presences and the new forms of presence.”
The Regional Councillors with the Conferences of Provincials in each Region are beginning to reflect on the procedures at Province level for re-location and re-organisation and for informing the Rector Major about the effectiveness of some “new presences and the new forms of presence.”
These, during 2010, with the Conferences of Provincials are also undertaking a process of reflection on the ways of being involved in the Project Europe and submitting them to the Commission for the Project Europe.
4. Provinces of Europe
The Provinces of Europe, accompanied by the Regional Councillor and by the Conference of the Provincials of the Region, staring from 2010 are reflecting on the procedures for re-location and re-organisation and on the effectiveness of the “new presences and the new forms of presence.” They indicate in a letter to the Rector Major any “new presences and the new forms of presence,” which, within the Provincial Structural Plan are significant; and they submit any requests for personnel.
Before the end of 2009 each Province will appoint a reference person for the Project Europe, who will keep the confreres informed about developments and be in contact with ANS and with the site of the Direzione Generale for a wider communication of information. The Province will present the Project Europe to the confreres and lay people involved in our mission. Provinces are invited to make twinning arrangements with other European Provinces for the summer pastoral activities of the young confreres and of the youth leaders. Provinces which set up twinning arrangements should plan together regarding the experiences and the places to hold them.
I can also inform you about the date of the next Meeting of the Provincials of Europe, which will be held in Rome in 2010 from Friday afternoon 26 November until Sunday lunch time 28 November.
5. Non-European Provinces
The non-European Provinces are reflecting on how they intend to take part in the Project Europe of the Congregation and should send in a report to the Coordinator of the Project Europe, Fr Francesco Cereda, by the end of 2010. They are also encouraging missionary generosity among the confreres.
6. European meeting for initial formation
To get those in formation thinking about the Project Europe, the Councillor for Formation is organising an annual meeting of all the European Novices in Turin on the occasion of the Solemnity of Mary Help of Christians. During the years 2009 - 2010 the Regional Councillors for Europe will hold a meeting of all the postnovices, those in practical training and those in specific formation, at Regional level.
The Project Europe is taking its first steps . As you will have seen in this first period most of the interventions refer to the European Regions and Provinces , precisely because we are the beginning of the process. The purpose of the Project for Europe is to ensure the vitality and the fruitfulness of the Salesian charism in Europe; it is a question of a commitment of the whole Congregation which we are entrusting to Mary Help of Christians and to Don Bosco, in this 150th anniversary of the founding of the Congregation.
With best wishes in the Lord,
Fr. Pascual Chávez Villanueva, SDB