Dear Sisters and Dear Brothers, all of our Salesian Family.
Dear friends and friends of this common father who is Don Bosco, FATHER OF OUR SALESIAN FAMILY IN THE CHURCH AND IN THE WORLD. Be truly welcome in this house of yours, which is and wants to remain a common home, symbol of the common holy place that is Valdocco and especially the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians, beacon of the Glory of the Madonna.
A few hours ago we started this XXXIII day of Spirituality of the Salesian Family. The terms Spirituality and Salesian Family are therefore the framework in which we place ourselves. Once again we want to deepen, in its various characteristics, the knowledge of the spirituality of this beautiful charism that the Holy Spirit raised in Don Bosco for the good of his Church and the world.
This is why my words, on this first evening, are an invitation to focus on the essential that unites us.
In the first place, the only center and the one important one: THE LORD JESUS, to whom we approach to look for rivers of living water, as the Psalm says. It is Jesus Christ the Lord who makes us ONE, who calls us together with the strength of the SPIRIT of God, and who wants us in unity and communion around God the Father. Therefore I want these days to be a rich and profound experience of Faith and God's presence in our midst.
This same Lord sends us as missionary disciples among his People, in his Church. And in this Church to which we belong, we, the Salesian Family, want and must be not only a part of the outgoing Church to meet those who are not among us, but a Salesian Family that, as far as possible, is free or does everything to free himself from the dangers and temptations announced by Pope Francis: how can they be a growing individualism, a crisis of identity and loss of fervor (EG 78), a loss of missionary dynamism (EG81), the pragmatism that wears out the Faith (EG83) and a sterile pessimism (EG84).
This Salesian Family of ours is not made, therefore, to look at itself and feel, feel, self-satisfied, but to confirm and strengthen one another in the Faith and respond to everyone in the world, wherever the Lord wants us, the one to to whom the Lord dreamed of living faithfully following his Son with the Salesian charism of Don Bosco.
And in this being today missionary disciples from the place where the Lord has wanted us, two axes are fundamental for never losing our North. It is a combination that, in our case, goes hand in hand: the centrality of Jesus in our lives and the young, and among them the poorest, abandoned and excluded.
This is our roadmap for all, dear brothers and sisters, which guarantees us individually and as a Salesian Family, that we are continuing the path in the right direction.
I wish you all rich days where, in addition to exploring what will be presented to us as a reflection, it will become a reality of coexistence, sharing and prayer, this is constitutive of our being a family. Just the SPIRIT OF FAMILY, something that is VERY OUR.
I would like them to be beautiful days for everyone, rich in content and experience, and I ask for the special intercession of our Mother Help of Christians, guide of all our family who already intercedes in heaven for us.
Thank you for your presence and because you will be the speakers, coming back home, of what we will share and live, of what we have seen and heard.
A big thank you and good night.