Team Visit to Kenya – manifesting Don Bosco in Africa

Nairobi 22-26 February 2018  

Four days of deep reflection, moments of prayer and spirituality, sharing in groups, inspiring ideas from the members of the General Council, Salesian joy... All this remains at the end of the Joint Visit to the Africa-Madagascar region in Nairobi. The last day, Friday, February 23rd, was full of stimuli and challenges presented by the Councillor for Youth Ministry, Fr Fabio Attard.

In his presentation Fr Attard reminded the Delegates that youth ministry is a heritage received directly from Don Bosco. Hence he urged them to return to the Preventive System and to see how to accompany young people towards Christ. He then specified that vocation must be lived in the respective cultures, that is, that the message of Jesus must be inculturated. "There are many young people in our societies who need to be accompanied, but the question is whether we are willing to listen to them and to accompany them", the General Councillor for Youth Ministry said.

Then followed the reflection session among the Delegates of the African Circumscriptions on the challenges highlighted in the four days of the Team Visit.

In his concluding address, the Rector Major, Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, thanked all those present and the organisers. "The region is growing in fraternal spirit," he noted. Despite the diversity of cultures, the spirit of fraternity in the region is remarkable.

Although the challenge of reshaping Salesian presences is not an easy task, this should not be interpreted only as having to close some presences, but also opening new ones. The Rector Major warmly addressed the Superiors of the Provinces and Viceprovinces, inviting them to be prudently courageous in deciding which missions to close and which to open, having as a compass the Salesian identity of the consecrated vocation, which he defined as "the beautiful Salesian identity", finding ever new ways of Don Bosco's face to the region more and more. His address was intended to stress that it is not possible to carry out a simple apostolate in response to emergency situations, but that one must reflect deeply to see what it means to give the image of Don Bosco to one's own circumscription.

Finally, he promised all those responsible for Salesian Africa his closeness in animating their province and that he and his Council will always keep the Africa-Madagascar region in their hearts. (ANS)