Rome 14 August 2021
To my dear brother Provincials
At your Provincial headquarters
My dear brother Provincials,
My fraternal and affectionate greetings to each of you in your Region at this time. It is the eve of the great Marian feast of the Assumption of our Blessed Mother into heaven, and the anniversary of the birth of our beloved father and founder Don Bosco. On these significant dates, I wanted to introduce myself in a simple and informal way, as I have on other occasions, as a brother who seeks to be by the side of his brother Provincials, the first collaborators of the Rector Major in caring for and giving vitality to the charism.
- The first thing I would like to say to you, dear Fr Provincial, is thank you. Thank you in Don Bosco’s name for your generous service, your dedication, for doing everything you possibly can to help our confreres keep their vocation alive and well, and for continuing to choose, with the heart of Don Bosco, the lowliest young people. I will continue to assure you that both myself and the members of the General Council wish to be at your side and available to you.
- I would also like to continue inviting you to position the entire Province in an atmosphere of courageous decision-making that the Congregation invites us to following GC28, through the eight action guidelines that should be guiding these six years, in accordance with the situation of each Province. Never hesitate in continuing to dream of a Province that is courageous, resolute, just so long as it is a question of doing good. Just as Don Bosco did, we can go to some considerable extent, even to the point of “recklessness”, if it is for the good of the young in the name of the Lord.
- Take great care of formation and the confreres in formation. Give them priority, dear Fr Provincial. We have a lot at stake, a future full of freshness and hope in our Congregation if we do it well, if we act with vision, if we make the right decisions.
- I am aware that these have been very difficult months (already more than a year and a half) for all of us. Besides the difficulties of Covid-19, some countries have a political situation, instability, economic insecurity and war or guerilla insurgency. I have thought a lot in recent months about some countries such as Ethiopia, Myanmar, India, some countries on the African continent with internal conflicts, and terrorism in various nations: Brazil, Venezuela, some countries in Central America… In short..., let me assure you that it is a very long list. I also assure you that I am thinking of you daily, of your animation and your demanding situations. But we know in whom we put our trust, like the Apostle Paul.
- It is my fervent hope that it will be possible for us to meet during the Retreats that we will hold with all the Provincials and their Councils. It will be a very important occasion of animation for the Rector Major and also for your subsequent animation. Over these days we will be able to share so much. I would like to meet and greet each one of you personally.
- Finally, I would like to ask you to help us to realise a fine initiative. I hope you will take it up with interest and support it through your provincial communication delegate.. I am referring to the “Don Bosco World Youth Film Festival” (DBGYFF). I strongly encourage you to recommend to all our confreres to look upon this initiative as an opportunity to reach out to young people, to encourage and motivate them. In fact, this is our first attempt as a Salesian Congregation to unite all our young people around the world and invite them to express their creative talents through film and their creativity as filmmakers. This festival is our festival, the name of Don Bosco will resonate in the minds and hearts of young people in the 134 countries where we are present, and especially on 18 and 19 November when we will screen the films that many young people are already making. It is my hope and dream that this festival of cinema will become an excellent tool for welcoming, encouraging and empowering our young people on a yearly basis This sdb initiative for the whole Salesian world also gives us a wonderful opportunity to connect with the sensibilities of young people from all nations and offer them this global creative platform to showcase and build on their dreams and aspirations. The theme of this year's competition is ‘Moved by Hope’ (in keeping with Strenna); we want to encourage our young people to become ambassadors of hope, through their participation and artistic creation.
So, my dear Fr Provincials, I only ask that through your delegates you try to get this great project on the move and full of energy in your Provinces and countries. I remind you that we are the children of a great dreamer. I am convinced that Don Bosco is proud and happy about this initiative to unite, encourage and motivate young people in a creative way towards the common good.
May the Lord bless each of you, and may our Mother the Help of Christians continue to do everything as she did with Don Bosco, and may our Father Don Bosco continue to look after his Congregation in that part of it that it falls to you to lead, look after, protect and give life to.
With sincere and heartfelt affection I send you my greetings,