Presentation of the 2010 Strenna
«Truly, nothing is more beautiful than to know Christ and to make him known to others.»
On the occasion of the centenary of the death of Don Michael Rua, who was totally faithful to Don Bosco and to his charism, I want to invite the whole Salesian Family to act as a real movement of disciples and apostles of Jesus and to be committed to the evangelisation of the young.
Being committed to evangelisation is the fruit and the consequence of being the disciple of the Lord Jesus, who following Him becomes his zealous missionary. In this way we want to take up the challenge of helping the young «to look on this other person not simply with my eyes and my feelings, but from the perspective of Jesus Christ»
The 2010 Strenna takes its cue from the year of St Paul which has almost finished and from the Synod on the Word of God during which I spoke about the passage in St Luke about the disciples on the way to Emmaus, which on account of the contents and the method is seen as a model for the evangelisation of the young.
“Sir, we want to see Jesus”
In imitation of Don Rua,
as authentic disciples
and zealous apostles
let us bring the Gospel to the young
Many groups of the Salesian Family see themselves already in harmony with this commitment. By way of example I refer you to two quotations from the General Chapters of the SDB and the FMA.
The XXVI General Chapter of the Salesians recognises the urgent need to evangelise and the centrality of proposing Jesus Christ: «We perceive evangelisation as the principal requirement of our mission, aware that the young have a right to have Jesus proclaimed to them as the source of life and promise of happiness now and in eternity». Our « fundamental purpose is that of proposing that everyone should live their human life as Jesus lived it. […]at the centre … should be the proclamation of Jesus Christ and of his Gospel, together with the call to conversion, to the acceptance of the faith, to their taking their place in the Church; then from this will come faith journeys and forms of catechesis, liturgical life and the witness of charitable work ».
Then the XXII General Chapter of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians recognises that it is the Love of God which urges us on: «The Upper Room where the apostles were together is not a place for them to stay but one from which to launch out. The Spirit changes them from fearful men into zealous missionaries who, full of courage, carry the good news of the Risen Jesus along the world’s highways. Love leads to exodus and to a going out of oneself towards new frontiers to make a gift of oneself: love grows through love. Mary, who from the Upper Room teaches us to throw open the doors was the first to experience the exodus and to set out on her journey. The first to be evangelised became the first evangeliser. Carrying Jesus to others, she offers her service, brings joy, makes love an experience».
Suggestions for putting the Strenna into practice
Here are some ideas which will be useful so that the groups of the Salesian Family may together be engaged in bringing the gospel to the young. They are offered to the individual groups but also to the Consultative Committees of the Salesian Family at local and Province level.
- The local and Provincial Consultative groups to reflect on and re-think the pastoral approach, so as to make effective the choices regarding the centrality of the proposal of Jesus Christ, personal and community witness, the reciprocal relationship between education and evangelisation, attention to the variety of circumstances and the involvement of families.
- Starting from the “Mission Statement of the Salesian Family,” identify in the local and Provincial Consultative groups the best ways to plan and organise together experiences of the evangelisation of the young.
- In particular, foster collaboration among the Salesian Family at Province and local level, so as to carry out the mission to youth, as an updated for of proclamation and catechesis, involving the young people themselves as evangelisers of their peers.
- Make good use of the Apostolic Exhortations at the conclusion of the continental Synods in order to identify priorities and approaches suited to the specific contexts for the evangelisation of the young. In the case of Latina America, use the “Continental Mission” issued by the Assembly of Bishops held at Aparecida; in the case of the Africa and Madagascar Region, follow the guidelines of the next Synod of Bishops.
Rome, 2 June 2009
Fr Pascual Chávez Villanueva