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General Chapter 28
Dear Confreres, greetings to all of you,
to our dear Salesian Family members, young friends,
who can accompany us at this moment.
Today, from a special place here in Guarcino,
in the house where we have spent beautiful days
of spiritual retreat with the General Council.
Today, at the end of this retreat, I have the chance
to tell you all something
regarding the General Chapter which we have announced with great hope.
You have already heard the title, the invitation of the General Chapter:
“What kind of Salesians for the youth of today”?
It is this because this question is the central point of departure for us,
who are consecrated to God.
However, for what purpose are we consecrated to God?
To facilitate our meeting with the young,
with boys and girls who need us.
It is because we really believe
that to say “Salesians” must signify for the whole world,
and very specially for us,
“those who have made a priority choice
for boys and for the young,
especially those who are most in need”.
That to say “Salesians” in the world
must be understood as those who have made a choice for the exploited,
for those who have nothing or no one!
That to say “Salesians” must lead to understand
those who have made a choice for the young
who enter the world of work through a vocational formation!
That to say “Salesians” could also signify thinking always
about the young and those who are about to begin their life
at times also at the university level, with a lot of effort,
to give the best of themselves, though without many resources.
This is the hope that we shall bring to the General Chapter.
It is a time which will be, without doubt, a breath of the Holy Spirit
to help us to be truly Salesians of Don Bosco today
for the youth who need us.
At the centre: the youth, our boys and girls!
As consecrated persons let us go to meet them as a community, as a Salesian community.
But, what model of a Salesian?
We cannot have a variety of models.
The Salesian could be anyone like us,
but the Salesian dreamt by Don Bosco is
a Salesian who carries the young in his heart.
Whether sick, in the courtyard, in the school, or in the university,
the Salesian, who in an affective and effective manner,
wants to find himself with the young;
the Salesian who wants truly to be ready
to welcome the young, the boys;
the Salesian who has the ability to listen, capacity to serve
truly capable of living with the young;
the Salesian who has the ability to accompany
that boy or youth who searches for something.
Rightly, this is the great question which we shall address to ourselves during the Chapter.
It is for this that we have a great hope because it will do us a lot of good.
And we are not alone.
For this mission and for this work
we have in the Salesian world a lot of lay people
who share the educative zeal,
the Salesian mission and charism with us.
And though at times we have a lot of resistance among us,
this General Chapter could be an opportunity
to grow more and to take a step forward.
I conclude with a proposal of two challenges!
The first is this: to ask all over the world
to our youth, what they think about us,
and what sort of a Salesian they want?
And how they could help us to be
really those Salesians whom God will send to them today?
This we must ask them.
The second challenge is this:
we should not stop dreaming!
We are children of a great dreamer.
Therefore, this General Chapter could be a beautiful opportunity
to dream always faithful to the Spirit;
Faithful to Don Bosco who has dreamt us;
Faithful to these young boys
who are poor, and who wait for us.
It is because of this that our hope is great
and there is no doubt that it will be a beautiful opportunity
for all of us, as a Congregation,
to offer something beautiful for our dear Salesian Family.