Salesian Family

Spirituality of the Salesian Family: Conclusion of the Rector Major

33 days of spirituality

Salesian Family
Conclusion - Rector Major



In addition to what I was able to communicate on the Good Night of the first day and in the concluding homily of this morning, I would like to introduce you, and through you to the different groups of our Family, what I consider to be the great at this time and in the coming years. challenges or even the pillars that will give us the certainty of the fidelity that I expect of God for the good of the mission entrusted to us.

I do it in 6 questions that seem essential to me.


I truly believe brothers and sisters that the future of Don Bosco's Charism passes, first of all, rightly for the only possible way, our fidelity to Don Bosco and to the charism that he incarnated, because fidelity to Don Bosco is and will be fidelity to the Holy Spirit who raised him up for the good of humanity and of the Church. And because this fidelity to the Spirit leads us to the only important one: the centrality of Jesus in our personal life and as a Salesian Family.

All of us, our whole Salesian Family, this great tree that has the only common trunk in which the sap of Don Bosco's charism flows, as stated in our Constitutions, Project of Life, Directors ... (as we call our documents), which Don Bosco is our Father, the Father of the Salesian Family and a gift, on our part, to the whole Church and to the world.
This is why fidelity to Don Bosco is to say his reading of the life, mission, evangelization and salvation of the young that is a guarantee of the future of the Salesian charism.

For this reason we need to continue to follow Don Bosco knowing him more and more, to love him more and more (because what we do not know is not loved), to be able to imitate him better in what is essential and with all the novelty and prophecy that we must have in these modern times of every historical moment, of every age.

Don Bosco is our great patrimony, of all and of each of the members of our Salesian Family (because it is the patrimony of the Church). And the identity of our whole family and of each of its groups (and individual members) becomes stronger the stronger the recognition of Don Bosco's PATERNITY in all. We do not need as adolescents in their personal evolution to separate us, distancing ourselves from parents to strengthen our identity. Our identity is greater, clearer and more solid the clearer and more evident the spiritual fatherhood of Don Bosco for everyone, for each and every one.

And this has nothing to do with the danger of self-reference that Pope Francis speaks of in EG28. We are not nor will we be a group of elected persons who look at themselves, but a Religious Family that wants to live a strong following of Jesus (Discipleship), with a profound sense of belonging and communion to the universal Church and to the local Churches, always with a clear charismatic identity, with the specificity of its own charism (as Gift of the Holy Spirit to the Church).

2. The charismatic predilection for young people, especially the poorest

This is our second great security in the future of the Salesian charism. Young people, especially the poorest, abandoned and excluded.
The Salesian Mission, in our entire Salesian Family, has in one way or another, in all its branches, the characteristic of this preferential option. They are the recipients of the Mission. What should be emphasized, in order to be faithful to Don Bosco's charism, is that it is the recipients who determine the type of activity and works through which our Mission becomes concrete and effective (see Csdb 1,2,14, 21; Cfma 1,6,65; PVA 2,2b; ADMA, 2; VDB 6; DS 17, c, d; CihscJM, 23;).
Our fidelity to God and to young people asks us to be attentive to the needs of the environment and of the Church, sensitive to the signs of the times. And the education and evangelization of many young people, especially among the poorest, move us to reach them in their environment and to encourage them in their lifestyle by serving them in the best way for their own good. This opening gave rise, in the Congregation, to the FMA Institute and to other groups, to an infinity of activities and extraordinarily varied and admirable works. We are sure that through them, the young and among themselves the poorest, God speaks to us and awaits us in them.

As I indicated in the Closing Discourse of the GC27, "I dare to ask that with the 'courage, maturity and a lot of prayer' that they send us to the most excluded young people, we see in every Province to see where we need to stay, where we need to go and where we can go ... With their clamor and their cry of pain the most needy young people challenge us "(Final keynote speech 3.5). In this sense, I believe, sisters and brothers that the Lord invites us all to our Salesian family to be talented, not to feel satisfied believing that the present mission is to guard what others have built in the past. Our fidelity to the Lord and to young people today asks us for daring, where it is needed.

3. For fidelity to the charism: ALWAYS EVANGELIZERS OF THE YOUNG, AND THE YOUNG.

The predilection for the poorest young people expressed above is totally insufficient in the totality of our Salesian charism and in our Family if it does not become effective through an integral education that includes, as an indispensable element, evangelization: "We educate and evangelize according to a project of promotion integral of man, oriented to Christ, perfect man (see GS 41) ”. "Like Don Bosco, we are all called on every occasion to be educators in the faith" (Csdb 6,7,20 34; Cfma 5,26,66,75 ...; PVA 9.1; 9.3; ADMA 2; VDB 6; DS 16; CihscJM 5).

In fact, by way of illumination on the concern that the evangelizing dimension has in our Family and in most of its members, I can offer as shown the concern of the Salesian Congregation, dedicating already in CGXXIII of the year 1990 to Education of young people to the Faith, or to the commitment of our FMA sisters also in their last CGXXIII for "Being with young people today a home that evangelizes", from the perspective of discipleship that narrates the experience of Faith, listening to what God says today, open to the changes necessary to recover on the way (with the young), up to the courage to dare together prophetic gestures

4. The sharing of the spirit and mission of Don Bosco in the Salesian Family and with the Laity

We know that one of the fundamental elements of the Second Vatican Council was, and continues to be, the theological model of the Church as a "People of God", thus enhancing the baptismal consecration, proper to every Christian. This becomes reality, in our Family, through "communion and sharing in the spirit and mission of Don Bosco".

We live this spirit of the Council in this reality which is our religious Family expressed as a family referred to in Article 1 of the Charter of the Salesian Family, "With humble and joyful gratitude we recognize that Don Bosco, on God's initiative and maternal mediation of Mary, began in the Church an original experience of evangelical life.
The Spirit molded in him a heart inhabited by a great love for God and for his brothers, especially the little ones and the poor, and thus made him Father and Master of a multitude of young people, as well as Founder of a vast spiritual and apostolic Family ".

In this sense I think that what is expected of us at this time and in the coming years is growth as a family in a true sense of communion, understanding, knowledge and also the search for the good of the young and of evangelization. It is going beyond, with more force, than we already have, which is precious in itself, but which can sometimes stagnate in a respectful trait, with no little ignorance of the other members of our family.

Moreover, since the Pope asks the whole Church to be an outgoing Church, this challenge is for us as a family. We are a great religious force in the Church, and with simplicity and humility, we must remember that we are truly leaven in the dough, we must tell ourselves that we accept the challenge, as I said above, "Awaken the World" (challenge that the Pope launched to the religious and religious).

To this family reality I add the urgency of the shared mission with the laity. Of course this appeal is inevitable for us (consecrated men and women and in our family). As I said to my SDB brothers at the end of the GC27 "the shared mission with the laity is no longer optional - no one ever thought so - and it is so because the Salesian mission in the present world is demanding this insistently ...., the reflection on this mission, the conversion process on our part is indispensable ”(closing speech of the RM, 3.7).

5. The missionary dimension of our Family as a guarantee of Fidelity and Authenticity to the charism of Don Bosco

The missionary dimension has always been a priority since the beginning of the Salesian Congregation and of the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians. Despite the lack of personnel and the difficulties of the beginning, Don Bosco wanted to send the most suitable Salesians and FMA "to the other end of the world" in Patagonia.

The Second Vatican Council, renewing the Church's missionary commitment, emphasized, first of all, the profound theological significance: "Sent by the divine mandate to the peoples to be 'the universal sacrament of salvation', the Church, responding to the demands of time deeper than its catholicity and to the specific order of its founder, it strives to bring the proclamation of the Gospel to all men "(AG 1).

The development of the great tree of our Family has meant that some of its younger branches also have a strong missionary character ad gentes, in full harmony with Don Bosco's heart.
Always projects, at the same time distinct and yet identical at the bottom, because they are born from the same charismatic identity: a beautiful example in our family of creative fidelity to Don Bosco and to his Charism, but the challenge for the future is pressing us.

6. Not power and strength, but humble service

I conclude by expressing to our Salesian family what, at this moment, I qualify as an intuition that resonates in my heart, that is maturing and entering into dialogue with the data, the seen and known realities, the information ...

What I call intuition, which in me is a STRONG CONVICTION, is this: Our fidelity to Don Bosco as a Salesian Family in this XXI century and in the years following his Bicentennial, asks us a service to the Church, to the people of God, to the young , especially the poorest, and to families that stand out and are characterized by service in simplicity, familiarity, humility, being and living for others, giving and giving themselves to young people from the reality of our presences because we have accepted that this is our way of life.
Our loyalty is at serious risk when we live in power and strength, since we have and because we give or take, offer or deny ... And if this power and strength is linked to money, then the risk it gets bigger. Attention sisters and brothers, men and women religious and lay people of our Salesian Family, for this real and very dangerous temptation.

Our strength is to live a true life of communion and fraternity that is more evangelical in order to be more questioning, attractive in itself, and our communion in service, within each of our institutions or groups, and in the our own Family will speak for itself.

Wishing to end with the Pope's appeal, I believe that his call to conversion to humility to be a church (and Salesian Family I say) that always welcomes, which bears witness to the mercy and tenderness of the Lord, which brings the consolation of God to women and men, do not leave us indifferent, as well as the call to be poor and poor Church. And his invitation to live in joy, with profound joy and to be able to wake up the world is a marvelous challenge that animates us and launches us forward into the mission entrusted to us.
And in the words written as a title to the indentation letter of the bicentennial of the birth of Don Bosco, this charismatic fidelity is guaranteed if we put our energies and our life into “Belonging more to God, more to our brothers and sisters, more for the young ”.