XIX GENERAL CHAPTER
OF THE SALESIAN SOCIETY
PARISHES AND ORATORIES
The 19th General Chapter decided to deal with parish work and oratory
under one heading, accepting the principle that the work for youth done
by the oratory is an indispensable element in parish activity.
The General Chapter set itself the task of investigating the basic principles
governing parish activity, to draw up practical norms which would enable
all Salesian confreres, and especially those assigned to parish work,
to see the vast scope of this apostolate in the life of the Church and
take part in this pastoral duty in a Salesian manner and spirit without
in any way diminishing the demands made on them for religious observance.
This clarification of ideas is made the more urgent by reason of the hopes entertained by the Church after having opened up the frontiers of the apostolate in Vatican Council 11 and by the fact that the Salesian congregation has now at its disposal the experience of nearly a hundred years in the service of parishes. There is also the fact that there are 525 parishes today in the congregation caring for snore than six million souls, which demands a corresponding responsibility calling as it does many Salesians to the poor, to those who have lapsed and in a special way to youth.
The General Chapter, therefore, calling attention to the principles governing the parochial apostolate in general and that of the Salesians in particular, took certain deliberations covering pastoral work, and passed modifications of the Regulations in harmony with such deliberations.
The Parish is the living cell of the Church, especially of the particular
Church, the diocese : it is a community of grace, of faith, of worship
and of charity for the pastoral care of the faithful and the evangelization
of those who do not belong.´
The Salesian congregation accepts parishes especially in working class areas when requested to do so by bishops, with that same spirit of charity with which St. John Bosco accepted the foreign missions. Nevertheless, the congregation to remain true to itself must see that the parishes to be accepted are net of such kind and number to take her away from the principal activity, which is specifically youth work. Having this in mind, parishes bring the Congregation the following advantages:
a vital contact with and a better knowledge of youth of
today as it really is.
the possibility of giving a complete Christian education
through the administration of all the sacraments, complete catechetical instruction through each age group, direct contact with the families, instructive collaboration with laymen and the possibility of approach to all manner of people.
the preservation and development of one´s own youth work,
especially through the oratory.
the possibility of a formative activity, specially Salesian, to
´ prepare militant laymen for the apostolate, an indispensable demand of the Church today.- an efficacious means of working with and understanding of the secular clergy and other religious, in the spirit of the Council.´
an opportunity for the confreres of understanding the new pastoral of working together and of entering into it.
the possibility, and in some countries it is the only possibility, of entering into that activity, so very Salesian which is the chaplaincy to youth movements, such as the Young Christian Workers, Catholic Action etc.
Pastoral commitment implies active participation in the apostolic work of the bishop, hence Salesian ministry should seek to collaborate with all the activities in other parishes in the overall diocesan plan of action, this it does in our spirit and in accord with our methods and structure.
The following are the principal marks of a parish confided to the Salesians:
- particular attention to the evangelization of youth, of the poor and those outside the Church,
- special ability and zeal to give solid catechetical instruction to the faithful, either collectively or singly in order to reach participation in the sacraments, especially Confession and Communion.
- a characteristic gift of kindly gentleness which tends in the Salesian approach to the apostolate to create in parochial work a parochial community, or the ´family of God´ guided paternally by the parish priest.
The presence of Salesians in parish life brings with it a number of problems of religious observance, and relationship with the Salesian community, with externs, with the bishop, with the diocesan clergy. with other religious, with civil authorities, with organizations and associations of lay people, which have to be studied and resolved in the spirit of genuine discussion and the pastoral directives by which we work together.
It is self evident that Salesian pastoral work, thus conceived, is in harmony with our spirit, with the demands of the times, and demands an adequate formation of those working in the parishes,
1. Constitution De Sacra Liturgia, chapter I, paragraph IV, number 42; Constitution De Ecclesia, chapter II, number 27.
2. Constitution De Ecclesia, chapter IV (passim). 3. Constitution De Ecclesia, chapter VI.
1. Clerics and coadjutors in houses of formation should be brought to
a knowledge of the apostolic possibilities and the pastoral extension
of the Salesian vocation. Let such awareness be developed in the studentates of philosophy and theology and in the higher institutes
of professional training for coadjutors by means of courses in catechetics,
sociology, religious and pastoral psychology. In the tirocinium, in
the holidays and on feastdays let them have an opportunity of practical
experience The course of pastoral theology crowns the formation for
2. Let there be set up at the central headquarters, at regional level and where necessary at interprovincial level, centres of consultation for the parochial apostolate where initiatives can be studied, co-ordination be planned of the pastoral activity of Salesians and relationships be established with the bishops´ conferences and with diocesan ordinaries individually.
3. Let a Salesian institute of pastoral be founded, attached to the P.A.S. to which newly ordained priests may go for the year of pastoral theology; it is to be hoped that the teaching given in the said Institute be of such value as to provide for the licentiate of theology.
4. Let timely organs of information be started at headquarters, to disseminate pastoral aids and be attached to the library of Christian Doctrine, to the Salesian catechetical centre, to the institute of pastoral theology, to the catechesis of the P.A.S., and let such aids be translated into the principal languages.
5. Let there be set up a commission of theologians, canonists, sociologists and parish priests, who, having before them the latest findings of the Vatican Council and the revision of Canon Law, will formulate a handbook of Salesian pastoral to offer the centre of consultation at headquarters and at regional and inter-provincial centres.
6. In order to reply to the many requests which came from various parts that the General Chapter should make some declaration on Art 10 of the Constitutions, the General Chapter, while waiting the eventual codification of Canon Law decided to give the following interpretation : "Taking account of the close relationship in scope between the salvation of youth and the parochial apostolate, the Salesian society in the particular conditions which touch on the salvation of souls, in conformity with the sacred canons, and with its own Constitutions, does not refuse to accept parishes."
7. The General Chapter in addition proposes the modification of the following articles:
a) Constitutions Art 111.
h) Regulations: 367 - 367 bis - 368 - 369 - 369 bis - 370 - 371 -
372 - 373 - 374 - 374 his - 375.
ORATORIES - (YOUTH CENTRES)
With regard to principles which should underline the educative and pastoral
activity of Salesians called to work in the oratories, the 19th General
Chapter refers back to the points elaborated in the document on the
formation of youth. Instead, this present document calls attention of
the confreres to the diagnosis given by the General Chapter of the present
condition of this Salesian work of first importance, which should have
been the foreword to a new set of regulations for the oratories. This
was a task, however, too demanding for the General Chapter to undertake
and it was therefore left to a postcapitular commission on the oratories.
The General Chapter making its inquiry and now presenting its findings to the confreres desires to urge them to arrive at a better understanding of the work which is fundamental for all Salesians. To have knowledge of a determined situation is, for a young and vital body such as our congregation, the first step to remedy it. This knowledge has been the starting point for the deliberations taken: and it will certainly be a stimulus for undivided and collective initiative at all levels of the congregation for an effective renewal of effort in this field.
The General Chapter hopes that it has given by this present document and by the animated discussion which gave it birth, the example to follow for the various sectors called upon to effect this renewal of the oratory as a centre of youth work well able
to meet the demands of young people today, and the expectations of the Church and the just hopes of our congregation.
The General Chapter invites all to seek out and to experiment what will best contribute to bring the oratories to that condition where they will meet the new demands of the times - this they can do by summarizing the thoughts of Don Bosco, the wording of the Constitutions, the exhortations of superiors, the declarations of all preceding General Chapters, and the recognition of the Church itself.
LIMITATION OF THE ORATORIES
It is a certain fact that in many nations the festive oratories have
not been developed, in others, where the growth has been achieved they
still have not realized the fulfilment witnessed in the other fields
of education, as in the colleges.
The reasons which could explain such a state of affairs are not easily identifiable, even though some are known to all.
REASON FOR THIS LIMITATION.
u.} Causes in the sociological order (external).
- The special situations in some countries - external social education has impeded the successful growth of the oratory in the traditional form used by Don Bosco. We must therefore study the end, the means and the characteristics proper to the Salesian oratory, and give them a new form in such places, according to local demand and to local custom.
-- In those countries too, where the development of the oratory is well known, economic changes and new politics, and social structures could bring about a paralysis to the work.
- Where this is verified, the very psychology of youth has been
so profoundly influenced to be less willing to take part in forms organized by adults and produces a certain crisis in youth associations, especially so in those organizations which are typicaIIy confessional and make educative demands.
--- The very maturing of ecclesiastical organizations, stressing the
place the parish has, and with its demand that every parish, as a parochial
community, give due importance to youth work and the organization of
its own oratory (youth centre) if this has sometimes come about by the
enthusiastic desire to copy the ideas and practices of the oratory,
on the other hand it has produced a crisis for the interparochial or
- All this illumines the reason for a certain crisis in oratory
work found in various places: this demands an ´aggiorncnncnto´which will take into account the diversity of conditions in the countries where the congregation is working.
b) Internal causes.
- It is also useful to look into the internal causes for this crisis in the oratory. A delicate investigation indeed, which demands a review of the actual state of our pastoral work for youth, the preparation and qualification of our personnel, of the efficiency or otherwise of the directives sent out in recent times,
We content ourselves by pointing out a few:
-- The enormous development of the congregation in the field of education with the consequent reduction in personnel destined for oratory work.
The shortage of personnel properly trained to meet the need of the times.
- A certain mentality of confreres, who esteem and value other kinds of school work more than the humble sort of work the oratory offers,
The difficult and demanding character of the apostolate in the oratory which so often offers no respite and demands all the time new energies for new initiatives.
- The shortage of means with the corresponding greater poverty of treatment meted out to the personnel on the oratory.
- The isolation of these confreres, who when they see so Iittle help coming from the personnel of the institute to which they are attached, form a closed compartment with no communication between them.
The renewal of the oratory and youth centres certainly demands a more specialized qualification of our personnel, and this could give
to many of our confreres a re-birth of apostolic spirit which would have a beneficent effect upon their own spiritual and religious life, and the instruction given would increase their own capacity for apostolic work in this field of education.
1. The 19th General Chapter solemnly affirms that while it accepts changed
social conditions the oratory as a centre for youth, still has a very
good reason for its existence and is needed more than ever before, especially
at the present time when youth is morally abandoned. The pastoral renewal
of Vatican Council I1 has emphasized the need for this form of approach
to young people : open. part of their life, adapted to their psychology,
responding to their vital and varied interests, all creating an ideal
setting for the meeting between the priest and the boy.
2. The oratory should not limit itself to the crowd of boys who just come there, but it must become a pastoral instrument of approach to all young people opening out in this spirit of missionary dialogue, to all the youth of the parish area, city -- to include those of no faith at all.
3. As a means of education the oratory must not be conceived only in generic terms, but have a precise educative programme to match each advancing age group and have a method which responds to the psychology of youth today, whence it follows that it must improve its traditional activities : catechetics, liturgy, associations, Christian obligations of youth in the life of the Church and society.
4. The oratory should clearly define and establish its cultural recreational activity, conceiving them not only as concrete expression of the interests of those who partake, full of human value and apt to become vehicles of Christian values and the means of exchange and witness between young people today.
5. To reach the greatest possible number of boys and young men, the activities of the oratory ought to add new enterprises; youth centres for the older boy, social centres, centres for cultural, university centres, evening classes and further education; centres of professional training, courses for apprentices, centres of moral and religious guidance for the young, centres of information and guidance.
Always with the same scope, there is need to help with religion in the state school, situated within the parish. Let chaplaincies be accepted with external youth organizations, and there is also the field of the informal group, we should strive to enter here and influence it´.
6. Let ways be thought out for a wholehearted insertion of the activity of the oratory into the life of the Church, linking it with national and diocesan organizations which work for youth. (Catholic Action, Young Christian Workers, and others).
7. Let the structural oratory organization have sections which correspond to the various age groups : sections which cater for the interests of the older boy : well organized groups of Catholic import well established in the life of the Church. In addition, the environment and the material structure should be adequate and dignified, and let every house take due care to provide the means; to this same end get the civil authorities interested; as also religious organizations, given the up-to-the-minute character of the oratory as a social work.
8. It is very necessary that Salesians working in the oratory restrain themselves from both the danger and temptation of becoming involved and absorbed in activities and duties better left to layworkers. They should feel themselves totally obliged to their pastoral mission in education, to create the environment well suited to meet their boys freely, to prepare themselves to be able to respond to what is expected of them, to answer their questions, to take care of their religious instruction and their human and Christian formation (liturgy --- spiritual direction).
9. The General Chapter gives the Provincials, Rectors, and parish priests directives touching personnel: the reshaping of the oratory according to the pastoral and missionary demands made upon it, the selection of personnel based upon its known capacity; prepare them in the novitiates, studentates, institutes of higher pro
1. The term given by pedagogists to spontaneous groupings of boys and girls outside all formal organization, to satisfy the various interests of youth, music, travel, recreation, etc.
fessional training, and priests during the year of pastoral theology;
to see to it that there is a continued "aggiornamento", and
to see also that theory goes side by side with practical experience.
10. Given that the oratory is well organized, it is an ideal field for the apostolate to which the Church today calls laymen´ and that in face of so many new duties to be undertaken, priests, clerics and coadjutors will become increasingly too few; let lay helpers be found and trained for the multifarious activity of the oratory. To form good co-workers is the first preoccupation of Salesians in oratory work. To qualify and prepare them must be the business of timely initiative at provincial and interprovincial level.
11. So that the oratory is in fact the foremost work of the congregation, the General Chapter determined that it reach concrete planning at every level:
a) At headquarters: let there be set up near the Consultor in charge of this sector of Salesian activity an efficient oratory centre, with a central office of consultation comprising confreres who are competent and who are representative of the national and provincial commissions.
Such bodies will make an accurate study of the real condition of our oratories, the possibility of their development, the demands of the Church and of the state, the insertion of the oratory in the pastoral life of the parish. They will also have the duty to set out general regulations of the oratory, the care of printed matter, organization, the exchange of studies and experience in the field of youth work and life in the oratory.
h) At provincial level. Let the Provincial choose a delegate and set up a commission for the oratory with analogous terms of reference to those at headquarters. Let provincials undertake a re-examination of the condition of the oratories in their respective provinces, and the possibility of their development. The distribution and preparation of personnel according to different demands, and study besides the means of financing them which the province and each house should accept as a duty to bring buildings up-to-date and provide financial assistance.
I. Constitution De F,cclesia, chaoter IV.
For Salesian and lay staff it is absolutely indispensable that initiatives be set on foot for their formation and "aggiornarnento". c) At provincial conference level: Let commissions be set up to
determine the common attitude towards the civil authorities, and to the bishops´ conference to act in accord with them for the linking up of our pastoral activity for youth with their own pastoral efforts to work together to establish the necessary links with the ordinaries. with movements, with apostolic organizations both lay and civil which interest youth.
d) At house level: Let every house not possessing an oratory study means of opening one as soon as it becomes possible; those houses which have an oratory should develop it as though it were the work of the whole house and parish. This implies that the oratory be considered as an integral part of the house, and that it be provided with personnel both qualified and sufficient; that an understanding with the school be achieved with the parish and the oratory to form an effective insertion of the oratory in the life of the area; that the formation and "aggiornamento" of Salesian and lay personnel be cared for, finding them wherever possible from amongst the boys of our school, our co-operators and old boys; that a welcome collaboration he achieved between the non-Salesian parish upon which the oratory may depend, also with the diocesan and with the local youth organizations, religious, apostolic and social: and finally, an effort should be made to make the oratory the centre of the youth of the area in which we work and for whom we should consider ourselves responsible.
OTHER FORMS OF THE SOCIAL APOSTOLATE
The Salesian congregation, both by belonging to the Church, the People
of God, and by its nature, a clerical religious congregation of the
active life, is fundamentally aligned to every form of apostolate. However,
by the wish of her Founder and by the Constitions approved by the Church
and also by her own divine calling, she has for specific scope the apostolate
among the young, especially among poor and abandoned youth, in the spirit
and with the method of her founder and in accordance with the needs
of the times.
The congregation, however, also undertakes activities of the apostolate not specifically among the young, activities that can be considered as an amalgam of youth work and work among the common people, which was always intended by the founder. Indeed the example left by Don Bosco, the dispositions of the Constitutions, and the constant practice among us give ample evidence of this adult aspect of our apostolate.
This aspect, moreover, corresponds to what the Church and the
Vatican Council IT have called for. The constitution "De Ecclesia´´particularly in Chapter VI "De Reliy,iosis", recalls the religious orders
to a healthy activity which will make them, in faithfulness to their founder, a witness to the presence of God in the world. -- 142 --
For these reasons, the 19th General Chapter, among the numerous forms
of adult apostolate, underlines certain ones for their more evident
adaptability to the integration and development of the youth and popular
apostolate in the parishes, oratories, colleges, etc. These are: the
care of the co-operators and past pupils, catechising every class of
persons, pastoral work at every level (young boys and girls, engaged
couples, the parents); the apostolate among teachers and educators whether
they be our own helpers or not; the pastoral care of the workers; assistance
given to the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians and to other female
religious institutes and schools.
In view of the particular efficacy of the means of mass communication (press, cinema, radio, television, etc.)´ The General Chapter proposes their use and development, confident that some confreres will be formed to this kind of apostolate in the spirit of the Decree
"Inter Mirifico" of Vatican Council H.
The exercise of these forms of the apostolate must not be left to the free initiative of each confrere but only to that of the congregation. It must he carried out in the ambience of obedience and the religious community life, based on our ordinary work and be but its rounding off and completion.
The General Chapter requires that it be confided to confreres
chosen for their good sense and unquestionable Salesian spirit, well prepared for this kind of specialization in its technical, pastoral and religious requirements,
This kind of apostolate is however very rich in supernatural leaven and motivation, because it puts the apostle in the presence of the living activity of the Church in the vital areas where the Gospel has to be preached.
1. For the formation of the confreres to these forms of Salesian apostolate, the General Chapter recommends that in the aspirantates our clerical and coadjutor aspirants be encouraged to realize this further element in their future apostolate and to prepare themselves to carry it out; at the same time the superiors should see that individual talents and aptitudes are discovered and developed.
In the novitiates and studentates of philosophy and theology in the formation houses of the coadjutors the appropriate training should be given; this will require the introduction of subject matter, teaching posts and courses in relation to the pastoral matter (catechetics, pedagogy, sociology, etc.) and practical exercises should he carried out.
2. In view of the nature of this apostolate, Provincials and Rectors shall appoint to it only such confreres as can unite technical skill with a profound sense of the religious life and discipline and healthy and well-balanced natural gifts accompanied by experience and maturity, but they must never leave it to the free initiative of single individuals.
3. Lay helpers should be sought, formed and employed. They should be chosen especially from among our own co-operators and past pupils, among the more active members in Circles and Catholic Action and they should be helped to discover the mission that belongs to the laity in the Church.
4. For the greater efficiency of this activity and also that it may he brought up to date, and to provide the information necessary, refresher courses for the Salesian and lay personnel together with appropriate publications should be made available by the superior in charge, by the provincial conferences and by the Provincials themselves.
5. The General Chapter lays it down that, in order to promote, co-ordinate and stimulate the work and to solve the delicate problems of co-operation inside the congregation and external co-operation with the hierarchy, there should be instituted:
a) Technical organs and offices at the headquarters, at provincial conference and provincial level, in view of the overall pastoral work b) Central and provincial consultative bodies of experts, technicians, and confreres engaged in the adult apostolate to examine the situation and draw up programmes and consider aids.
c) A Salesian pastoral institute affiliated to P.A.S. for study at university level or for research into the problems of the apostolate,
making use of the pedagogical, psychological, catechetical and sociological help of our Athenaeum.
6. One of the prime objects of the technical and consultative organs referred to in the previous article should be:
a) The study of the regulations referring to the ordinary development of the different forms of Salesian popular apostolate.
h) The compilation of studies and experiments with a view to the drawing up of a manual, keeping also in mind the decisions of Vatican Council II and the enactments of the new Code of Canon Law.
Until the Regulations and manual have been compiled the rules to be followed will be the present resolutions of the General Chapter and the dispositions of the superiors.
7. Our editing houses and technical offices, with that timeliness that characterized Don Bosco, and which is an indespensable condition of efficiency, must see to the production of the necessary aids for serious work in the field of the apostolate to the people, (the press, means of social communication, reviews, experiments in overall pastoral activity, etc.)
Among the forms of adult apostolate the first place of necessity and for fecundity is taken by the catechizing of adults. The history of the Church proves it first cf all, for she was born of catechizing. Many recent Church documents show this.
Adult catechizing forms part of the mission confided by God to the congregation through its founder and the Church, and by it readily accepted and put in practice.
A swift examination of the situation today shows several elements that indicate a grave crisis in the field of catechism for adults. The elements are: the progressive lessening of religious instruction among the mass of the people and their consequent dechristianization
the complex of difficulties encountered by the traditional forms of
catechizing, the Sunday school, the Lenten sermons, sacramental catechism
and the missions to the people, always less and less well attended and
rendered progressively less fruitful by the fact that within a parish
boundaries there are so many different classes of people, and also by
the fact of the growing mobility of the population: the progressive
incomprehensibility of the traditional catechism due to its contents
(excessively abstract) and method ("scholastic" language no
longer in tune with the forms of modern life) over and above the passivity
of the subject to be catechized.
At the present time, experiments already confirmed, suggest more efficient and modern methods of catechizing. These are for example: the homily at the Sunday and Feastday Mass, inserted into the liturgy as the proclaiming of the Word of God in which faith finds echo; the liturgical catechizing or "Liturgy of the Word of God" on feastdays, in tridua, novenas, the Marian month, etc., the catecumenate of adults; catechizing at particular seasons (holidays, free time); of particular groups, on chosen themes, at assemblies (families, groups or single persons), on special occasions (weddings, baptisms, funerals, visits, confirmations, first communions, which bring together entire families and groups of relatives, godfathers, godmothers, etc.); family catechizing which consists in getting parents interested and instructing them so that they may value the magisterial quality of the Priesthood of Christ in which the sacrament of matrimony makes them participants, and the calling together and forming of groups of leader families; using the means of social communication, of radio and television in the service of catechizing.´
1. Superiors at various levels shall see that the Salesians keep themselves up-to-date in the forms and methods of catechizing adults, which is certainly the most important part of the adult apostolate, whether as an integral part of catechizing the young, or as an apostolate of the people.
1. Decree Inter Mitifica
2, The General Chapter proposes to extend to the catechizing of adults the ruling of articles 165 and 166 of the Constitutions on the formation of clerics; in the same way the coadjutors should be prepared according to the spirit of article 333 of the Regulations enabling them to co-operate in catechizing adults; and their preparation should include what is said concerning the use to he made of the means of social communication.
3. As regards priests, the General Chapter thus modifies article 48 of the Regulations: "The priests must prepare by study for the ministry of hearing confessions and of preaching, and for the various forms of catechizing the young and adults; they should be present regularly every month etc."
4. In the spirit of the decree "Inter Mirifica" and the deliberations of the 18th General Chapter´ our publishing houses should be empowered in every way to produce aids adapted to the catechizing of adults, extending even to international co-operation in this sector.
5. The offices responsible must study the production and utilization of the means of social communication (documentaries, films, records, radio and television programmes) and see that in the future manual the catechizing of adults is given priority over all other forms of apostolate to the people, and the rules for it are laid down.
1, To produce aids more efficiently and for a more correct preparation
of the personnel for catechizing, it is recommended that there be close
co-operation between all centres of study and action within the congregation,
and between it and other Church centres.
2. To qualify and bring up to date the Salesians (priests, clerics and coadjutors) as also the laity (co-operators, past and present pupils, catechists) courses and days of study will be of great help and Rectors and parish priests must make it their duty to promote participation in them.
1. "Acts of Superior Chapter," 1958, number 203, page 64
Bulletins and reviews already in existence and still to be founded will
help in keeping the participants in touch.
3. Since holy scripture has such great importance in the living catechism, due place must he given it in the formation and preparation of future catechists, and they should be trained to know, interpret and use it.
THE FAMILY APOSTOLATE
Reason, revelation and the studies and documents of the Church, even
the most recent, show clearly that the family occupies the first place
in life and Christian witness, and that all pastoral effort is practically
useless if it is not based on it and does not in some way reach it.
Recent studies, experience and research show that the perseverance of youth in religious practice, the developing and maturing of religious and priestly vocations, the moral tenor and fervour of the Christian life depend on the moral well-being of families and their educational and ecclesial conscience,
Analysis of the present situation indicates that there is in progress a profound crisis in the structure of family life, which calls for new methods and new modes of pastoral activity, as is indicated by recent successful experiments.
It is an undeniable fact that the Salesian congregation has in concrete, today, vast possibilities and urgent responsibilities for the family apostolate. These stem from our parishes, from our oratories situated in populous and industrial zones of recent creation, where rootless and immigrant elements undergo the strongest crises of family life: from the apostolate among our co-operators and past pupils: from our youth work where the urgency is felt of family formation: from the associations ever in growing numbers of the families of our pupils, which stand in need of immediate help.
The preoccupying crisis of vocations, in great part due to the social, moral, educational and religious needs of the family, is also a matter that concerns us closely.
1. The General Chapter invites the Salesians to ascertain how they can gear their youth and popular apostolate to the family apostolate, and take it up generously in the spirit of Don Bosco and within the bounds of obedience.
2. The General Chapter issues three directives for the family apostolate of the Salesians: formation of future priests - - especially in the pastoral course -- to the apostolate of the family, that is the formation of the young, the care of the families in the parish, the oratories, past pupils, co-operators, co-workers, using all the aids offered by theology, sociology, pedagogy, psychology; formation of the young in boarding schools, colleges, oratories, youth centres, for family responsibilities, and with the initiatives that time and place suggest: the exercise of a true pastoral activity wherever there are families for whom we are responsible and which we must invite to co-operate with us in the education and formation of the young.
1. The objectives proposed will be reached more easily if we keep in mind that, in the formation of boys and girls, engaged couples, the recently married and parents, great help is given by discussion courses, retreats, lectures, etc.
2. Parish priests, rectors of oratories, educators and teachers can be brought up to date by inserting into the pre-arranged meeting for general pastoral study and catechism, an adequate treatise on family problems: at these meetings as well as by writing, the human and religious aspects of marriage can be clarified: not to mention the ascetical and ecclesial values. The educational message of Don Bosco contains a leavening of great value for the pastoral care of the family and for the educative mission to be based on "reason, religion and kindness".
3. The associations of the families of pupils and oratorians and periodical meetings promoted by them serve magnificently to arouse a sense of their educative mission, which derives from the sacrament of marriage.
4. Since there exists everywhere by now movements and associations for a Christian leavening of family life and for the defence of its stability, a true crusade should be initiated to persuade every family that we can reach, to join these associations, and we should give our services gladly in support of them.
CHAPTER IV THE APOSTOLATE TO NON-SALESIAN TEACHERS Preliminary.
Pius XII defined teaching as the priesthood of the truth: "To
teach! A sublime function through which man, in the poor measure of
his created power participates in the office of the Divine Word Incarnate,
St. Thomas expresses in a luminous compendium this dignity of the teacher:
Sicut m aius est illurninare quam tut-ere so/um, ita mains est contemplrrtcr
aliis trudere quam solum contemplari."´
Don Bosco saw in his co-operators and past pupils a special mission to teach and to be educators; and it is especially among teachers that his educative system can hear fruit.
Teaching is certainly a responsibility, and the Constitution De Ecclesia calls upon the laity to co-operate in this work and recommends parish priests to have confidence in them and give them duties to carry out in the service of the Church.=
I. Snsmma Teologica II, IIae qu. 188, article 6, c: Pius XII: Discourse to French Intellectuals. 25th April 1946. In his discourse the Pope quotes john 1, 18.
2. Memorie 8iografiche XVI, page 451 if.
Indeed an examination of the present situation in the teaching sector underlines dramatically the need for pastoral care for an ever more numerous laity dedicating itself to teaching; and this especially because most unfortunate situations have been verified, as for example, the overwhelming and carefully planned invasion of the school by Iaicists and marxists; the presence of millions of youths whom Catholics can never reach if they do not mobilize the laity and breathe a Christian fervour into their undertakings.
The fact that we already have the services of lay co-workers in the field of teaching and that this experiment gives positive results, opens the way to a specialized pastoral activity on their behalf and on behalf of all teachers whom we can in any way reach, to make their presence felt intelligently in the world of teaching according to traditions still alive.
1. The General Chapter invites the Salesians to establish on the level
of confidence and responsibility, suggested by the Constitution De Ecc!esia
and facilitated by a common educative vocation, firm contacts with the
lay professors and teachers in our schools, choosing them preferably
from among our co-operators and past pupils offering them wholehearted
co-operation, work, adequate recompense and the possibility of religious
and professional qualification, so as to encourage them to carry out
their mission in the Salesian educative spirit.
2. The vocation to teaching must be encouraged among our boys, pupils, co-operators and teachers in general, by helping them to find it and assisting them in its exercise. To this end it will be a help to support the Catholic Associations of teachers to which our teaching co-workers should be directed.
3. Since the P.A.S., especially the Superior Institute of Pedagogy, brings a positive contribution into the field of school work, this establishment must be supported and developed, and Salesians should be sent to it to prepare themselves to work among teachers of every grade; lay teachers also should be sent for professional and religious qualifications.
APOSTOLATE TO THE WORKERS
Developing in its social doctrine the data of revelation, of theology
and philosophy, the Church has laid down the principles of the nobility
of work, elevating it to a fulfilment of creation, a perfecting of the
human person and a contributary factor in the redemption; and has vindicated
the rights of the workers to advancement, not only economic, but cultural,
social and political as well, employing all Catholic forces to achieve
The example of the founder, the popular character proper to the Salesian apostolate, the presence of Salesians in eminently working class areas, the natural development of the educative work of the professional schools and their vocation towards poor and abandoned youth, are so many reasons why they should occupy themselves in the apostolate of the workers,
Paceni in Terris says that the economic-social progress of the world of the workers is one of the signs of the times, but that on the other hand, that same world is very far from having reached such advancement and therefore it is wide open to subversive suggestions and revolutionary solutions, The overcrowding of workers without religious assistance, on the outskirts of the cities where our work is done puts us in contact with many of them in danger of losing their faith and of giving up all practice of their religion, transforming them into potential enemies of Christ and his Gospel. For this reason the Church is pledged to salvage and defend the workers´ world; and it must guard itself against the tendency that is in evidence nearly everywhere to prefer the apostolate among the upper classes which tendency is the consequence of a civilization of comfort and of the undeniable difficulties that the pastoral care of the workers presents.
This apostolate is particularly urgent in view of the difficulties encountered, due to the mobility and migration of the masses, the
narrow boundaries of their activity, industrialization, the threatening materialist propaganda and progressive de-Christianization which makes the working classes a ready prey to subversive and activist elements, who promise cultural, social, economic and political i mprovements.
Naturally all this presupposes a deep formation in the social doctrine of the Church, which must be propagated and defended, directing the workers to those organizations (syndicates, trade unions, parties) formed for that purpose. The whole scheme, however, must be based on our organized activities; that is, it must not represent initiatives of individuals, but of the congregation - parishes and oratories especially - to ensure its effectiveness and durability.
I. The General Chapter invites all the congregation to maintain and invigorate the apostolate to the workers according to what can and need be done, by means of the press, preaching, missions, the ordinary and specialized care of souls, classes of religion, the opening of night schools where diplomas are awarded, to aid the newly arrived to fit themselves into the new communities, and to meet the need for specialists in the world of the worker.
2. A start must be made with all possible forms of assistance, especially to those who come in from the country or other regions; parishes and oratories should, in timely co-operation with the diocesan, national, religious and syndical organizations develop that exercise of assistance in which we have very often been forestalled, even to the extent of bringing in from the place of origin of the immigrants a confrere or co-worker specially adapted and prepared.
1. It is clear that for this work also, specialists are needed who can be obtained through the pastoral organizations and initiatives of which we have spoken above, advancing in good time clerics, coadjutors, co-operators and past pupils for this kind of apostolate.
2. After Don Bosco´s example who practised the authentic socia´ assistance according to the spirit of his times, no similar activity in co-operation with others should be overlookcd.
3. In line with the example of Don Bosco, hostels should be opened for workers who come weekly, monthly or according to the season to work in the cities; eating places and clubrooms for the so called "commuters" should be opened; activities of a touristic, cultural and recreative nature adapted to the working class mentality should be promoted, and adequate forms of social assistance should be undertaken (secretarial-es for the people, etc.)
4. The family apostolate among the workers merits particular attention since the workers´ world is particularly exposed to the danger of losing the sense of family life.
This document was approved by acclamation and without discussion as a gesture of respect to the new Rector Major, formerly Consultor-General for the co-operators.
The Second Council of the Vatican in its constitution De Ecclesia has
clearly proclaimed the rights and duties of the laity in the apostolate:
The laity is gathered together in the People of God, and established
under one head in the single Body of Christ, They have the vocation,
whoever they are, to contribute, as living members, to the growth of
the Church and its continual sanctification with all the strength they
have received from the goodness of the Creator and from the grace of
The apostolate of the laity is a share in the Church´s mission of salvation. By baptism and confirmation all are assigned to this apostolate by the Lord himself... The specific vocation of the laity is to make the Church actively present in those places and situations where she cannot become salt of the earth except by their efforts...
Wherefore let every path be open so that according to their strength and the need of the times, they also may share in the soul saving work of the Church...
This declaration finds an ideal response from the Salesian congregation which sees in the words of the Fathers of the Council a special invitation to give serious consideration to the organization of the apostolic work of the Salesian co-operators and to make them a force for good in the world.
1. Constitution De Ecclesia, number 33.
The Salesian co-operators, the first organization that right from the
first days of the oratories was conceived by Don Bosco with aims eminently
apostolic, correspond in full to the letter and spirit of the Constitution
cited. "A born apostle and inspirer of apostles, Don Bosco foresaw,
a century ago, with the intuition of genius and holiness, that mobilization
of the laity against the activity of the world, the enemy of the Church,
which would eventually have to come about in the Catholic world...
Zeal, admirable in its vision, brought into being, under the auspices of the Salesian family, a new and providential movement of Catholic laity which, goaded to action by the forces of evil and guided by the light of the spirit, made ready to enter the field of combat. Trained to action, prayer and sacrifice, it has placed itself among those forces of the front line to whom, by divine mandate, is entrusted the leadership and the foremost part in this holy warfare." (PIus xii)
The Pious Union of Salesian Co-operators, "an association of the utmost importance for us, the soul of our congregation, the link ensuring us the co-operation and help of the faithful living in the world"´ constitutes, together with the Salesian congregation and the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, an irreplaceable force integraing the missionary apostolate entrusted by the Church to the Salesians.
The Pious Union of Salesian Co-operators is a field of work to which the Salesians are committed by duty and devotion.
The care of the Third Salesian Family, besides being a Salesian interest, is a duty to the Church, in so far as the Pious Union of Co-operators augments the potentiality of the congregation´s apostolic activity in the service of the Church.
The service rendered by the Third Salesian Family is a response to the following ecclesiastical and Salesian demands:
- It has been formally desired by our holy founder. "I have given much thought to the founding of the Salesian co-operators. Their real and immediate aim is not that of helping the Salesians. but
1. Discourse to International Gather,ng of Co-operators, CastelgandoIfo,
12th Sept. 1952; ciulno FAVisi, II camnuno di una grande idea, pages 203-204.
2. Archives of Superior Chapter, Original documents 1382, 91; II, 2;
GUIAD FAVINI, I! Cammino..., page 90.
rather.,, of helping the Church, the bishops and the parish priests, under the direction of the Salesians_ they are instruments in the hands of the bishops.´
- This was what the Pious Union was understood to be right from its very commencement, We have a statement to this effect handed down by Don Lemoyne. On the evening of 16th February 1884 after having heard the re port of the conference given by Don Pozzan at Padova, the same bishop, Mgr, Callegari, explained to his clergy that the Pious Union was intended not only for the service of the Salesian congregation, but for the good of the whole Church and he defined the Salesian co-operators as "so many arms assisting the bishops and parish priests",´ thus paraphrasing aptly the definition given by our Father, himself, who called them his Iongu rnanus.
This too was how it was proclaimed by the late Supreme Pontiff Pope Pius XTT, who in his discourse to the Salesian co-operators already referred to, said "Your Pious Union has not for its immediate aim assistance to the congregation from which it takes its name, but rather support for the Church, the bishops and the parish priests under the direction of the Salesians.´
When Pope John XXIII received the Salesian co-operators in Rome, he expressed himself in these words: ´ ... the word cooperator is a lofty term._. it is a holy word rich in meaning... it implies a total pledge of one´s life... a generous and persevering service."
This has always been recalled in all the General Chapters.
From the preceding declarations arises the duty of all superiors to provide practically and efficaciously whatever may be necessary according to the demands of the age, for the life and development of our Third Salesian Family, To this end the following orientation is indicated:
1. Memorie Bwgraficiie XVII 25.
2. Memoric Biografrhe XVII 25,
3, Discourse to International Gathering of Co-operators, Castelgandolfo, 12th Sept, 1952; FAVINI, II carnmino.., page 203.
4. Discourse of His Holiness, Pope John XXIII, Italian National Pilgrim
age of Co-operators, list May 1962; noioo FAV1H1, Ji Cammino..., page 2I2.
1. UNDERSTANmNG AND STUDY
It is the duty of superiors (Provincials and Rectors) to acquire, by
means of systematic study, a right understanding of the Pious Union
of Salesian co-operators, of its essentially ecclesiastical and apostolic
aims and of the conditions requisite for becoming a cooperator.
They ought then by appropriate conferences to pass on this knowledge to all the confreres.
A study of the origins, development and ultimate aim of the Pious Union should he included in the programme in all the houses of formation (aspirantates, novitiates, studentatcs of philosophy and
theology and houses of `.Vfagistero´).
Ignorance or an erroneous understanding of the nature and aims of the Pious Union explain the lack of enthusiasm for it and the faulty direction often given to the co-operators. All this has, in the past. been reflected in the Constitutions and Regulations. To clear up and adjust certain misunderstandings we have now to hand not only the authentic texts compiled by our founder (as much for the Constitutions as for the Regulations), but also complete documentation of Don Bosco´s thought.
It is the duty of superiors (Provincials and Rectors) to provide personnel
with the gifts , time and means for the accomplishment of their mission.
Personnel of the Province should not be considered idle or insufficiently occupied merely because they are not engaged in scholastic or other similar activities. Our apostolate is not essentially or exclusively scholastic. Today especially, the mission of our congregation as achieved through the co-operators is not something superfluous: that mission may be extended, with considerable advantage, even outside the house which thus becomes a centre from which apostolic and Salesian activity radiates. Moreover the sphere of action of the co-operators and of the delegate assigned to them comprises so many activities which contribute to the education of youth (courses of instruction for parents, contact with the families, recruiting of catechists for the oratories, libraries, publication of good literature, scholarships etc.)
In every house
The Third Salesian Family should be organized in every house in a suitable
manner. It should find its best and most complete realization in the
parishes entrusted to the congregation.
The Pious Union should he everywhere organized as is laid down in the relevant regulations. Activities should be co-ordinated, directed and developed on modern lines and with method, always taking into account the suggestions from Headquarters.
The feeling that the co-operators have a meagre contribution to offer arises not only from ignorance of the true meaning of the Pious Union, but also from methods of organization and principles of direction, often outmoded, narrow and not adequate to the requirements of modern mentality and modern conditions. An effective help in this context is the Munuale 13irigenti (in Italian and Spanish).
It is hoped that translations of such subsidiary aids will soon be made available in other languages.
The goal of our educative work
This must be the "Christian apostle". Our congregation right from the times of Don Bosco responded to this ideal through the organization of the Pious Union of Salesian co-operators. Hence the opportunity of becoming co-operators should be offered to the best of our past pupils.
Provided circumstances do not demand otherwise, the office of provincial delegate of the co-operators and that of the past pupils should he held by the same person.
The people test qualified to become co-operators
a} The members of the sodalities and youth groups, of both the schools and oratories, given the necessary training and preparation.
h) The catechists of the oratories. Membership of the Pious Union gives them a canonical and Salesian qualification for their apostolate.
c) Catholic past pupils who may have a desire to exercise the apostolate. They will find in the Third Salesian Family the complete development of the Salesian educational system. The past pupils should, therefore, be directed to it. Through their own publications they should he enlightened as to the true nature of the Third Salesian Family, membership of which will transform them from a son into co-workers with their educators (the Sale.siani esterni of the first Constitutions from 1864 to 1874).
dI The parents of Salesians. as also those of the pupils who may have the requisite qualities.
e) The faithful of the parishes and of the churches entrusted to
f) Our various helpers and the lay-masters in our schools. They should he accepted with the necessary prudence and given the due preparation so that they may be aware of our apostolic and educative mission. Thus we may number then as `external confr&res´.
g) Members of religious orders, including those belonging to contemplative orders.
h) Our benefactors, the Lady Patronesses, and the Clients of Our Lady Help of Christians.
i) Aspirants to the priesthood and priests; indeed some of these could undertake the duty of leader or of diocesan director.
It would not be out of place to recall how bishops, cardinals and even supreme pontiffs have honoured the Salesians by requesting and accepting the diploma conferring membership of the Pious Union.
To facilitate the enrolment of the young people considered in categories a), b}, and e) it is proposed to establish in the central office of the co-operators a youth section which can offer them forms and types of apostolate more appropriate to their mentality.
The title of the Union
Following the usage now obtaining for our congregation itself, the Third Salesian Family may be designated, in all languages, by the term "Salesian Co-operators", without the further qualification "Pious Union" which is found in the official acts.
THE PAST PUPILS (´)
The General Chapter heard the statement on the past pupils presented
by the commission and made it the subject of a comprehensive discussion.
It became evident, however, in the course of the discussion that for a fuller understanding of the theme it would have been useful to hear the views of the past pupils themselves who, indeed, are directly involved in the life of their confederation.
There appeared also a rightful concern to secure a lively participation of the past pupils in their own movement, and an awareness of the understanding which ought to he fostered in dealings with the past pupils.
Wherefore the General Chapter referred back to the Rector Major trod the major superiors the task of studying with the confederal president of the past pupils the principles and directives of their organisation and of preparing thus the basis for a more complete and precise delineation of the statutes.
It was with satisfaction and through the good offices of the Rector Major that the General Chapter saw, while its own work was still in progress, a meeting take place between the members of the Commission and the president of the past pupils and it has taken account of the topic of discussion which took place on that occasion.
As is evident from the preceding statements, the document here presented dealing with the past pupils was not a matter for deliberations after the discussions which took place in the conference hall, and therefore does not contain any binding directives; it is offered, however, to the confreres to serve as a general guide and as a basis for discussion in the meetings which the Salesian superiors and the officials of the past pupils will hold to consider the aims briefly mentioned above.
THE SPECIAL END AND ACTIVITY OF THE MOVEMENT
The "past pupils of Don Bosco" are all those who have been
educated in any one of the works of the Salesian congregation, (oratories,
colleges, boarding schools, day schools.)
The members of the Federation of Past Pupils are those who have spontaneously accepted membership of one of the branches of past pupils.
The past pupil movement has as its aim that the members should preserve and practise in their lives the religious and moral principles of Salesian education, and that they should present to the world the spirit of St. John Bosco.
In particular, federations in Catholic countries should, in deference to the teachings of the Church and of the Council, consider themselves a Catholic force and ought therefore to he directed towards a Christian renewal of society,
The special activities of the Past Pupil Unions are the following:
I. To give help to the young past pupils when they are leaving their Salesian surroundings and throughout the period when they are settling down in a new social life.
2. By appropriate activities to preserve and bring to perfection in the older past pupils the teachings they have received for their personal, family and social life.
3. To encourage mutual assistance, both material and moral.
4. To foster all those personal and collective forms of spiritual renewal of society which :agree with the characteristics and ultimate aims of the Past Pupil movement.
5. To urge the principles of Salesian education in the families of the members, especially in the moral and religious education of their children.
6. To seek out the lapsed, that is those who have drifted away from the life of the organization and from the practice of the teachings inculcated in the school of Don Bosco.
Let the branches catering for youth be followed up with particular solicitude so that the past pupils may find in them all that they require to satisfy their cultural and recreative needs, and in Catholic countries the atmosphere and source for their formation and Christian life.
Let the best method be studied for extending to the families of the past pupils the spiritual and social action of the individual branches promoting also those activities which may be of value in the context of family life.
Let every branch be a "seed bed of good works´: there should he encouraged in particular the participation of those past pupils who have the aptitude and the desire, in the apostolate of the laity, and especially in the Union of Salesian co-operators. Being a past pupil does not necessarily mean that one is a Salesian-co-operator.
In dealing with the past pupils the young people who have been educated in our aspirantates must not be overlooked, and neither indeed, where prudence permits, those who have been professed in our congregatation,
ORGANIZATION OF TIlE MOVEMENT
The Word Conference of Past Pupils recognizes the Rector Major of the
Salesian congregation as its superior. He exercises his paternal spiritual
assistance through the Consultor entrusted with the care of the past
The Salesian Provincial represents the Rector Major for the past pupil movement of his own province. He is assisted in turn by the provincial delegate of the past pupils.
Every Union of Past Pupils ought to have its own delegate who represents the superior of the house and is the prime and indispensable mover of all its activity, the true guide of the moral and spiritual life of the association, responsible for its fidelity to the spirit of Don Bosco and to the directives of the superiors.
He should be a capable person, having at his disposal the necessary time and means. He should feel the responsibility of being engaged in a Salesian activit, in union with, and in the name of. the whole community, and conduct his work in a spirit of obedience to the Rector of the house.
It is recommended that the delegate of the past pupils be also the delegate of the co-operators so that these two external activities of the Salesian work be the better co-ordinated.
The confederal president shall be chosen by the Rector Major.
1. XVIIIth General Chapter, 1958, Acts of Superior Chapter number 203,
The national and regional presidents shall be elected according
to their respective national rules.
The local president shall be elected by the local executive council in agreement with the delegate.
The fundamental basis of the past pupil movement is the local branch. It should be considered as an integral and not merely a marginal element of the house. Every effort should be made to organize it, to give it vitality and to help it meet the real needs of the past pupils.
Every local branch should have its centre in the Salesian house. Expenses and costs can be provided by the past pupils themselves.
The confreres should value highly the care of the past pupils as a fully Salesian activity which does not take from the success of the work of the community as a whole, but rather crowns and completes their apostolate of education.
All the confreres should take an interest in this work and should give their support to the one who has the direct and immediate responsibility for the Union.
The past pupils" wrote Don Rinaldi "are the fruit of our labours... they are our crown... the reason for our existence, because since ours is an educational congregation, it is clear that we do not educate for the college but for life. Indeed the true life, the real life, commences for them when they leave our house."
Let those superiors who are entrusted, no matter at what level, with the care of the past pupils follow them with eagerness, whether it be to satisfy the desire of the past pupils themselves to be guided, or to guarantee fidelity to the spirit of Don Bosco.
We shou:d commence in the course of formation to prepare the confreres to grasp the importance of the past pupil movement, and
through practical study to make acquaintance with its organization
ASSISTANCE TO THE DAUGHTERS
OF MARY HELP OF CHRISTIANS
The 19th General Chapter, having heard the statement of the present delegate of the Rector Major for the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, and keeping in mind the directives of the Church. the relevant prescriptions of Canon Law and the present relations between the Salesian congregation and the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians makes the following declarations and recommendations
I. The present link, in the person of the Rector Major, is recognized.
As a homage to the wishes of our holy founder, the congregation will give every paternal assistance to the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, within the limits and in ways consonant with the Sacred Canons and the special concessions of the Holy See.
The Provincial, if he is nominated by the Rector Major as his delegate for the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians in their communities within the confines of his province, shall take a paternal interest in them in conformity with the privileges and according to the instructions of the Rector Major, whose ordinary representative he is for the Salesian Sisters in the territories of his province.
2. The delegate of the Rector Major is officially recognized.
Should the Rector Major appoint a representative or a spiritual director for the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, he shall hold office cud ntt´unr Superioris and he shall he the faithful interpreter of the Superior General for the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians
The delegate may he summoned by the Rector Major to participate with consultative vote in those meetings of the superior council in which topics are discussed which bear upon the Rector Major´s responsibility towards the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians.
The delegate shall supervise with particular care the resident chaplains in the fulfilment of their ministry and shall be in general responsible for the spiritual assistance given to the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians.
3. The office of residential chaplain to the Daughters of Mary l-Ielp of Christians is officially recognized and for those appointed to this office the following directives are laid down
- The residential chaplains of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians shall be appointed by the Provincial, in agreement with the Rector Major and his delegate for the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, having consulted the Provincial of the sisters.
- The residential chaplains to whom, as ordinary confessors is entrusted the spiritual care of souls, will feel, especially in the houses of formation, the responsibility of instilling, preserving and fostering the spirit of St. John Bosco in the Institute.
- Where circumstances do not permit or require a residential chaplain, the ordinary confessor appointed by the Provincial shall be considered as spiritual director with the same responsibilities as the chaplain.
- Let the chaplains and confessors speak well of the Sisters. Let them faithfully observe the norms of Canon Law; they should not involve themselves in the affairs of the community; if their advice is sought, let them give it with simplicity leaving to the sisters the liberty of using it in the manner they deem best.
- The chaplains shall faithfully abide by whatever is arranged between the Provincial of the Salesians and the Provincial of the sisters.
The teaching of religion, where it is entrusted to them, shall be according to programmes and texts prescribed by the superiors and the local ordinary.
- They shall allow the sisters to follow their practices of piety as prescribed in their manual and by their superiors. For the exact application of the liturgical norms they will naturally he responsible to the authority of the Church in general and in particular to that of the local ordinary.
- In their own personal piety they should strive, as far as circumstances
allow, for fidelity to the practices by our Constitutions and Regulations.
Their living quarters should be so sited as to answer to the requirements of the rules of enclosure. They should vacate them while the sisters see to the cleaning.
- In the catalogue they should be listed among the members of the nearest Salesian house: as far as possible they should be present there for the exercise of a happy death and for the solution of the moral cases.
-- In case of necessary absence they should have an understanding with the Rector and the Provincial so that a suitable substitute can be found to take their place.
- - Any eventual aid given to the parish priest of the place must not be allowed to interfere with the duties towards the sisters.
- In what appertains to their religious life the chaplains shall recognize the authority of the Rector of the house among whose members they have been enrolled and of their Provincial. They shall refer, however, to the vicar delegate of the Rector Major all that concerns the exercise of their ministry and the solution of the problems and difficulties which they may encounter in the exercise of their office.
- - The chaplains, confessors, preachers and the teachers of religion shall not enter into familiar conversations with the sisters or the pupils; for any necessary interviews they should use the sisters´ ordinary parlour, with, of course, the permission of the sisters´ superior.
1. There should be a general principle that for work in the institutes of religious women those priests should be chosen whose knowledge, prudence and holiness equips them to guide the sisters towards perfection through the ministry of the word, of sacramental confession and of spiritual direction.
2. That they may the better help the sisters in that prudent modernizing of the religious life, such as is required for a deeper spiritual life and the more fruitful apostolate to which the Church is calling them, chaplains should have the opportunity of attending
courses, conferences and meetings which may be designed to keep them duly informed, and for the same reason let them endeavour to acquire the necessary up-to-date knowledge of psychology, sociology, ascetics and catechetics.
3. Priests appointed to institutes engaged in work for the education of young girls should keep in view the modern social advance of women, so that as far as they can, they may contribute to the preparation of the pupils for their new duties and new responsibilities in the life of the Church and of the civil society.
4. As far as the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians and their work is concerned, they ought also to strive for a happy collaboration, especially in the field of pedagogy and catechetics, with the Salesian Pontifical Athenaeum, the institute of methodology and cataechetics, the catechetical centre and the Higher Institute of Pedagogy of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians.
In the history of our Congregation we read that in his efforts to form
his first collaborators into a religious family Don Bosco also made
use of retreats, which were made in special houses, like those of St.
Ignatius, above Lanzo and of Trofarello, near Turin.
Later on, the custom arose of holding the retreats at Lanzo and Valsalice. During the boys´ holidays these houses offered a certain ease and the peace essential to this basic practice.
For some time now in our Congregation the need has been felt more and more for suitable places equipped for this purpose. This is confirmed by the prescription contained in the Rules for the retreats : "Every Province should have at least one house suitable for the gathering of confreres and novices in one or more retreats, according to the need."´
This rule became the express recommendation of the 18th General Chapter, In this the Provincials are asked to do all in their power to provide a retreat house in their province destined to become a centre radiating Salesian spirituality!
The advantages of houses suitably fitted out for retreats are obvious for many reasons.
In the first place they are opportune for the confreres, who can find there peace and freedom to attend to their spiritual needs in
an environment suited to meditation and recollection, far from the distractions of ordinary life. They are also most useful for the associations, guilds, those in hostes, boys, co-operators and past pupils who will go there "moved by the desire for a more virtuous life." Our confreres must encourage these initiatives "with zeal", in accordance with Art. 8 of our Constitutions.
In consequence of the above, the 19th General Chapter lays down
I. Every Province should have, where possible, a retreat house for the confreres, for all groups of people under our care (co-operators, past pupils, boys) and for youth in general.
2. Suitable personnel must be chosen for the direction of the house and for preaching.
3. The houses should be furnished with care and propriety, and should be in situations favourab.e to meditation and recollection.
MEANS OF SOCIAL COMMUNICATION
Preliminary.The means of social communication have an enormous importance for the formation of public opinion and the Christian conscience, and also for catechetics, pastoral work and for human and religious life itself.´
FOR THE MEANS OF SOCIAL COMMUNICATION
I. A central office for means of social communication is to he set up at Headquarters and in dependence on a Consultor General. It will promote, co-ordinate and support initiatives in this field,
1. Inter Mirifica, number 1 and 2.
2. Inter Mirifica, chapter 1, number 3; chapter II, number 13. 3. Circular of Don Bosco, 19th March, 1885. 4. Constitutions, article 8.
divided into its various sections : the press, theatre and (especially) cinema, radio, tele+ision and other forms of social communication.
2. This office will aim at promoting in its respective sections:
The formation of personnel (Salesians and laymen) specialized in both the moral and technical aspects of theatricals to train producers and actors and to promote all appropriate initiatives.`
The selection of whatever in this field is produced and can be utilized for pastoral work for the young and for the people, and for Salesian propaganda, rejecting, on the other hand, all that is decadent and morally harmful!
Collaboration with institutions, associations and bodies which work in the field of social communication, according to the directives of the decree Inter Mirifica. Special care must be taken to have an understanding with the organs and offices set up by the Holy See and by the bishops,
The production of means of social communication particularly suited to our own work, and in general for popular pastoral work especially for youth.
3, Similar offices with similar responsibilities are to be set up at national or provincial conference level.
4. To assist these offices, consultant hoards should he set up consisting of experts and technicians, both laymen and priests, and those engaged in pastoral work. These will study effective measures and serve as a bridge between the periphery and centre of the Congregation.`
5. Effective work in such an important sector is inconceivable without specialists in the sense of the decree Inter Mirifica, and without real schools for the training of producers, authors and directors. Hence courses, seminars, and meetings must be promoted not only for youth but also for adults. The best-qualified lay people should be encouraged to become collaborators in the apostolate of social communications.´
1. Inter Mirifica. chapter II, number 35 if.
2 - Inter Mirifica, chapter I. number 9.
3. Inter Mirifica, chapter II, numbers 13-14; Constitutions, article 8. 4. Inter Mirifica. chapter It.
5. Inter Mirifica, chapter II, numbers 16 and 17.
CHAPTER II THE INDIVIDUAL MEANS OF SOCIAL COMMUNICATION
I. The present Press Office of the Congregation is to be changed into
the Press Section of the Central Office for the means of Social Communication.
It should have collaborators and correspondents with a provincial office
of social communication in all countries or groups of provinces. It
should see to the work of linking up, invigorating and supplying information
for the Salesian Press in the world, not only for propaganda, but also
for Catholic literature in general.
2. Similar offices are to be set up in each country or group of provinces.
3. Special care must be taken of periodicals, since these have such a wide popular following. International collaboration should be sought especially with the reviews and periodicals of sound outlook.
4. A link-up should be studied between all the Salesian publishers at work in the various countries, so as to raise the technical and cultural standard of production, improve the range and reliability of information, and increase Salesian influence in the Catholic press.
5. Besides the production of scholastic and catechetical books for the young, reviews should be founded and book-series begun for the various classes of people who form the object of our popular apostolate - the family, teachers, workers etc. These should deal with present-day pastoral, social and religious questions.
6. Every confrere and every Salesian house must be committed to the work of spreading good literature. Co-operators, past-pupils, teachers, the Auxiliaries of Don Bosco, the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians must be called upon to collaborate in this immensely good work, acting as propagandists, organizers, writers etc., thus bringing into play all the forces that can possibly be gathered and directed towards the apostolate of the press.
7. Suitably gifted confreres must be given the opportunity to perfect themselves and dedicate themselves to this ministry, and the various publications should he given all the personnel they need.
8. The press section of the Central Office for the means of Social Communication will see to the dispatch of notes and information ton the style of the ANS) to the National Offices, and likewise the photographic service. It will gather the widest documentation of all that the Salesians are doing for the press in the whole world.
9. The Salesian Bulletin in Don Bosco´s mind should continue to be "the principal support of Salesian work and of all that regards us."´ Notwithstanding its new format, its 27 editions, and its total circulation of over a million copies, it should be still further improved and increased.
A monthly edition should be aimed at everywhere, so as to make it a faithful mirror of Salesian activities in the world, the connecting link of all our works with the Rector Major and the Superior Council. It should also welcome services of a general character, to make it of interest to all classes and so achieve a wider circulation.
10. Following the example of Don Bosco and the directives of the decree Inter Mirifv´o, our press apostolate should be given an "ecclesial" character, supporting the common initiatives of the Holy See and of the bishops. It should reflect the present-day problems of the Church is evangelization and in pastoral work, adhering to the measures of existing associations and working in full accord with the press offices of the Holy See and of the conferences of bishops.´
II. The directives given in the press section of the 18th General Chapter on permission to print and the need for censorship of Salesian publications should be recalled and their prescriptions observed.´
12. In the apostolate of the press for the people, all those measures should be employed which promote the penetration of good literature. Such, for example, would he the production of
1. Memorie Biografrhe XVII 669.
2. Inter Mirifica, chapter II, numbers 14. 19-22.
3. "Acts of the Superior Chapter," 1958, number 203. page 65. series of readings suited in style and content to popular and juvenile taste, the founding of reading circles, lending libraries and book clubs.
It should be remembered, in this connection, that worthiness of presentation must be balanced against moderation in price.
13. Text-books and books of literature, science, history and general culture, which are nowadays so widespread among ordinary people sometimes show little regard for religious truth and moral law. They thus play a part in insinuating doubts, errors and false views of life. Watch must therefore be kept over all that is published, and suitable series should be produced, bearing in mind, in this regard, the series edited by Don Bosco.´
Theatre and Cinema.
1. The present "Centre for the Theatre in Education" is to be changed into the "Theatre Section of the Central Office for the means of Social Communication " with the same tasks of invigorating and co-ordinating Salesian initiatives and of linking up the national and inter-provincial offices.
Its activity will preferably consist in the study and preparation of practical aids for an effective apostolate in the theatre. In its more strictly pastoral activities it will associate itself with the organizations dependent on the hierarchy of each country, so as to bring about a greater union among Catholics and a greater effectiveness for the Church´s work In this sector.´
2. In compliance with the conciliar decree, the "ancient and noble art of the theatre"´ should be kept up. It should be used and developed wherever it is possible, with a firm trust in its high educative and pastoral value. Aids must likewise be provided for musical education and singing, in its various traditional and modern forms.
1. Inter Mirifica, chapter II, number 14.
2. Inter Mirifica, chapter II, numbers 19-22. 3. Inter Mirifica, chapter II, number 14.
3. Salesian priests working in parishes and oratories should strive to exercise an effective apostolate of the cinema, in the following ways
(i) by finding programmes suitable for family audiences and for the various classes of people, in the first place for the young.´
(ii) by informing and forming-` the people´s minds by means of discussions on mora l ly and culturally good films, by days of study on the cinema, and by presenting and commenting on the programmes given in our halls.
(iii) by pointing out the defective values of films shown elsewhere.
(iv) by promoting initiatives calculated to emphasize the pastoral character of our halls.
(v) by maintaining a high artistic standard in the programmes´ (vi) by seeking the co-operation of laymen in this sector, especially of past-pupils and co-operators.´
4. The students of philosophy and theology should be introduced to an understanding of the technical, cultural, moral and religious values of the cinema, and of the theatre generally, by means of theoretical teaching and practical exercise. ´´
5. Colleges, hostels, youth centres and oratories should promote all the activities necessary to make the youth of today our collaborators of tomorrow in this important sector of modern life,
6. The practical possibilities shoulid be studied of producing not only catechetical, cultural and propaganda documentaries, but also true and proper films, worthy in form and content, so as to oppose the trend towards worsening productions.´ The resources of benefactors and of producers, directors, actors and technicians who share our moral standpoint should be directed towards this very Christian work.
7. There should be full collaboratism with Catholic initiative in the sector of the theatre. Support should be given to all attempts
1. Inter Mirifica, chapter I, number 9 if.
2. Inter Mirifica, chapter I, number 9 if.
3. Inter Mirifica, chapter I, number 1 if.
4. Inter Mirifica, chapter II, numbers 13, 15, 17, 18.
5. Inter Mirifica, chapter II, number 16.
6. Inter Mirifica, chapter II, numbers 14, 17.
at improving morality, and others should he originated, Where possihle, also, a distribution circuit should he organized, providing films for our halls and for Catholic halls in generaI.]
Radio and Television.
I. It is of pressing importance to realize the value of radio and television broadcasts, not only those of a religious character but also cultural and artistic productions which are in accord with Christian .and human values. The faithful should accordingly be helped towards a sound discernment and mature judgement.´
2. These means of communication also have a great pastoral importance. Hence, in the houses of formation our young confreres should be given the theoretical teaching and practical aids necessary for a moral and technical training in this sector.´
3. Care should be taken to get the greatest possible number of people to join in the associations and initiatives which aim at safeguarding the morality of radio and television broadcasts.´
4. The means should be sought of bringing current Salesian topics into broadcasting and so, through these instruments of public opinion, make known our work, achievements and missions to edify all and stimulate similar initiatives. They must however be well prepared, worthy and open,
5. In this activity it will be well to enlist the services of pastpupils and co-operators, helping them to acquire the technical competence and moral judgement necessary for this work in the service of the Church.`
6. The radio and television section of the Central Salesian Office for the means of Social Communication should study a practical programme of production in this sector which has incalculable
1. Inter Mirifica, chapter II, number 17.
2. Inter Mirifica, chapter I, numbers 9 and 10.
3. Inter Mirifica, chapter II, number 16.
4. Inter Mirifica, chapter II, number 17.
5. Inter Mirifica, chapter II, number 13.
prospects of development, and in which hitherto only timid steps have
7. The practical possibilities should be studied of setting up radio and television stations, where circumstances permit, as has already been done in certain places, to broadcast programmes of healthy entertainment and of Christian information and formation.´
1. Inter Mirifica, chapter II, number 17.