SANCTITY IN THE SALESIAN FAMILY
Don Pierluigi CAMERONI SDB,
Postulatore Generale per le Cause dei Santi
DECEMBER 31 2018, Rome
"The real protagonists of the new evangelization are saints: they speak a language that is comprehensible to all with the example of the life and deeds of charity" (Benedict XVI 23.10.2012).
It is indeed our bounden duty to express a deep gratitude and praise to God for the Holiness already recognized in the Salesian family of Don Bosco and for those who are on the way of being recognized. The result of a cause of beatification and canonization is an event of extraordinary relevance and of ecclesial significance. In fact, it involves a discernment on the fame of holiness of a baptized person who lived the Beatitudes to a heroic degree or who gave his life for Christ.
The celebration of the bicentenary of Don Boscos birth was a favorable opportunity to deepen and spread his spiritual experience, which flourished in rich and diverse fruits of Holiness. Starting from on Don Bosco to the present day we recognize a tradition of Holiness which deserves a special attention because the charism received from Don Bosco, expressed itself in several walks of life in its diverse forms. They are men and women, young and old, religious and laity, bishops and missionaries in different social, cultural and historical contexts in time and space have made Salesian charism to shine, representing a heritage which plays an effective role in life and in the community of believers and men of good will.
1. The list as on 31 DECEMBER 2018
We are concerned about 168 among saints, blesseds, venerables and servants of God. Ony 50 are directly followed by us.
John Bosco, priest (date of canonizzation: 1 April 1934) – (Italy)
Joseph Cafasso, priest (22 June 1947) – (Italy)
Maria D. Mazzarello, virgin (24 June 1951) – (Italy)
Dominic Savio, adolescent (12 June 1954) – (Italy)
Leonardo Murialdo, priest (3 May 1970) – (Italy)
Luigi Versiglia, Bishop, martyr (1 October 2000) –(Italy-China)
Callistus Caravario, priest, martyr (1 October 2000) – (Italy-China)
Luigi Orione, priest (16 May 2004) – (Italy)
Luigi Guanella, priest (23 October 2011) – (Italy)
Michale Rua, priest (date of beatificazione: 29 october 1972) – (Italy)
Laura Vicu?a, adolescent (3 september 1988) – (Chile – Argentina)
Philip Rinaldi, priest (29 april 1990) – (Italy)
Maddalena Morano, virgin (5 november 1994) – (Italy)
Joseph Kowalski, priest, martyr (13 June 1999) – (Poland)
Francis K?sy, lay, and 4 companions martyrs (13 June 1999) – (Poland)
Pius IX, Pope (3 september 2000) – (Italy)
Joseph Calasanz, priest, and 31 compagni martiri (11 March 2001) – (Spain)
Luigi Variara, priest (14 april 2002) – (Italy - Colombia)
Artemide Zatti, religious (14 april 2002) – (Italy - Argentina)
Maria Romero Meneses, virgin (14 april 2002) – (Nicaragua - Costa Rica)
Augusto Czartoryski, priest (25 april 2004) – (France - Poland)
Eusebia Palomino, virgin (25 april 2004) – (Spain)
Alexandrina M. Da Costa, lay (25 aprile2004) – (Portugal)
Alberto Marvelli, lay (5 september 2004) – (Italy)
Bronislao Markiewicz, priest (19 June 2005) – (Poland)
Enrico Saiz Aparicio, priest and 62 companions martyrs (28 october 2007) – (Spain)
Zeffirino Namuncurà, lay (11 november 2007) – (Argentina)
Maria Troncatti, virgin (24 november 2012) – (Italy - Ecuador)
Stephen Sándor, religious, martyr (19 october 2013) – (Hungary)
Tito Zeman, priest, martyr (30 settembre 2017) - (Slovakia).
Andrew Beltrami, Priest, (date of Decree super virtutibus: 15 December 1966) – (Italy)
Teresa Valsè Pantellini, Virgin (12 July 1982) – (Italy)
Dorotea Chopitea, Laity (9 June 1983) – (Spain)
Vincent Cimatti, Priest (21 December 1991) – (Italy - Japan)
Simon Srugi, Religious (2 April 1993) – (Palestine)
Rodolfo Komorek, Priest (6 April 1995) – (Poland - Brazil)
Luigi Olivares, Bishop (20 December 2004) – (Italy)
Margaret Occhiena, Laity (23 October 2006) – (Italy)
Joseph Quadrio, Priest (19 December 2009) – (Italy)
Laura Meozzi, Virgin (27 June 2011) - (Italy - Poland)
Attilio Giordani, Laity (9 October 2013) – (Italy - Brazil)
Joseph Augusto Arribat, Priest (8 July 2014) – (France)
Stephen Ferrando, Bishop (3 March 2016) – (Italy - India)
Francesco Convertini, Priest (20 January 2017) - (Italy - India)
Giuseppe Vandor, Priest (20 January 2017) - (Hungary - Cuba)
Ottavio Ortiz Arrieta, Bishop (27 Febrary 2017) - (Perù)
Augusto Hlond, Cardinal (19 may 2018) - (Poland)
SERVANTS OF GOD (24)
The positio is already presented
Elia Comini, Priest (Italy)
Special Congress of theologians: 4 April 2017
Ordinary session of Cardinals and Bishops:
Ignazio Stuchly, priest (Czech Republic)
Special Congress of historians: 11 December 2018
In the process of drafting of the Positio
Antonio De Almeida Lustosa, Bishop (Brazil)
Decree of validity of the diocesan inquiry: 2 May 2003
Carlo Crespi Croci, Priest (Italy - Ecuador)
Decree of validity of the diocesan inquiry: 15 February 2010
Costantino Vendrame, Priest (Italy - India)
Decree of validity of the diocesan inquiry: 1 February 2013
Giovanni ?wierc, Priest and 8 companions, martyrs (Poland)
Decree of validity of the diocesan inquiry: 10 May 2013
Oreste Marengo, Bishop (Italy - India)
Decree of validity of the diocesan inquiry: 6 December 2013
Carlo Della Torre, priest (Italy - Thailand)
Decree of validity of the diocesan inquiry: 1 April 2016
Expecting the validity of the decree of the diocesan inquiry
Anna Maria Lozano, virgin (Colombia)
Closing of diocesan inquiry: 19 June 2014
In the process of diocesan inquiry
Matilde Salem, lay (Syria)
Launching of diocesan inquiry: 20 October 1995
Andrea Majcen, priest (Slovenia)
Launching of diocesan inquiry: 24 September 2010
Carlo Braga, priest (Italy – China - Philippines)
Launching of diocesan inquiry: 30 January 2014
Antonino Baglieri, lay (Italy)
Launching of diocesan inquiry: 2 March 2014
Antonietta Bohm, Virgin (Germany – Mexico)
Opening of diocesan inquiry: 7 may 2017
Rodolfo Lunkenbein, Priest (Germany – Brazil)
Simão Bororo, Lay (Brazil) Martyrs
Nulla osta: 7 September 2017
Opening diocesan Inquiry: January 31, 2018
CAUSE EXTRA SEGUITE DALLA POSTULAZIONE
Venerabile COSTA DE BEAUREGARD CAMILLO, sacerdote – (Francia)
Il Decreto super virtutibus: 22 gennaio 1991
Venerabile BARELLO MORELLO CASIMIRO, terziario francescano - (Italia – Spagna)
Il Decreto super virtutibus: 1 luglio 2000
Venerabile TYRANOWSKI GIOVANNI, laico– (Polonia)
Il Decreto super virtutibus: 20 gennaio 2017
Servo di Dio BERTAZZONI AUGUSTO, vescovo– (Italia)
La Positio super Virtutibus è stata consegnata nel 2013
Servo di Dio CANELLI FELICE, sacerdote – (Italia)
La Positio super virtutibus sarà consegnata nel 2018
2. Sinodo dei vescovi dedicato al tema:
“I giovani, la fede e il discernimento vocazionale”
“La Chiesa stessa è chiamata ad imparare dai giovani: ne danno una testimonianza luminosa tanti giovani santi che continuano a essere fonte di ispirazione per tutti” (Documento preparatorio).
Santi e Beati giovani della Famiglia Salesiana (sotto i 29 anni)
Sono 46 giovani in questa fascia d’età: adolescenti, salesiani cooperatori, giovani salesiani in formazione, sacerdoti, donne e uomini consacrati!
Ecco l’elenco dei loro nomi:
3. Reality OF FAITH
Holiness is the incarnation of the charism and helps to live the Salesian spirit in a realistic way, overcoming the temptation and danger of ideologies and false justifications, by offering good practices which is the result of the incarnation of authentic charism. There is an apologetics of Holiness that reveals the beauty and truth of the Gospel of Christ and of the Salesian charism by life and not by words and documents.
All our Saints, Blesseds, Venerables and servants of God carry richness of aspects that deserve greater consideration and appreciation. It is contemplating a diamond with many facets, some more visible and attractive, other less immediate and pleasant, but nevertheless real and decisive. Knowing and making known these extraordinary figures of believers provoke a progressive involvement in their own way, a keen interest to their story, a joyful sharing of plans and hopes that animated their journey.
We have young saints; for example, Dominic Savio, Laura Vicuña, Ceferino Namuncurà, 5 young Oratorians of Poznan…. In particular it is urgent to emphasize some aspects of the witness of Saint Dominic Savio which in my humble opinion deserves renewed attention in several respects.
The missionary dimension of the Salesian charism, expressed by a significant number of men and women with very interesting aspects: proclamation of the Gospel, inculturation of the faith, promotion of women, defense of the rights of the poor and the natives (Blessed Mary Troncatti); foundation of local churches (the Servants of God of North East India: Venerable Ferrando, Convertini, Vendrame, Marengo) ...
The altruistic sacrificing dimension expresses the deep roots of the "Da mihi animas". In this line, the first and foremost is the venerable don Andrea Beltrami (1870-1897). Here, It deals with a witness for the curiosity and for the reasons attached to the letters dated or handed over in the vernacular language. This is being dissappered from the visibility of the Salesian world. It reminds us of the incompatibility of Christian Message with that of the world. If one is ignorant, the evangelical message can become a shallow message. For us salesians, the charism if not safeguarded in its charismatic roots of the spirit of sacrifice, of strenuous work and apostolic renunciations, could become the same. The witness of don Andrea Beltrami is a paradigm of Holiness that starting from the Venerable Andrea Beltrami, Blessed Augustus Czartoryski, Blessed Luigi Variara, continues with other persons of the family, such as Blessed Eusebia Palomino, the blessed Alexandrina Maria da Costa, the blessed Laura Vicuña, not to mention the large number of martyrs(among whom we must mention the 95 martyrs of the Spanish civil war , including many young confreres in the formation and young priests).
The dimension of “disturbed family’: The history of salesian holiness also passes through the history of ‘disturbed families’: families where at least one of parental figures is absent or the presence of mother and father becomes, for different reasons (physical, psychological, moral and spiritual), detrimental to their children. Don Bosco, who had experienced the premature death of his father and the distancing from the family for the prudent desire of Mamma Margaret, wants – it is not a coincidence – that Salesian work particularly devoted to the poor and abandoned youth ".
The vocational dimension: the bicentennial perspective deserves mention of two figures of martyrs who embedded this event that invited us to observe and realize the history, pedagogy and spirituality of don Bosco and of which the cause for beatification is so amazing.
Stephen Sándor (1914-1953), beatified in 2013 (the cause began in 2006), is remembered for invoking the vital need for complementarity of the two forms of the one consecrated Salesian vocation: lay one (coadjutor) and priests. The numerical decrease and the absence in different parts of the Congregation of the figure of the coadjutor is an indication either of the crisis of identity of consecrated life or is the risk of a clericalization. The shining witness of Stefano Sándor, as Salesian coadjutor, expresses a clear and decisive choice of vocation, an exemplary nature of life, an educational authority and Apostolic fruitfulness, to look for a presentation of the vocation and mission of the Salesian coadjutor, with a predilection for young and the working world.
The blessed Titus Zeman (1915-1968), beatified in 2017 (the cause began in 2010). In April 1950, the Communist regime of Czechoslavakia banned religious orders and began deporting consecrated men and women in the concentration camps. Therefore, it became necessary to organize illegal travel to Turin to enable young Salesians to complete his studies. Don Zeman took up this risky task. The Blessed organized two expeditions for 30 young Salesians. The third expedition don Zeman, together with the fugitives were arrested. He suffered a hard process, during which he was described as a traitor of the fatherland and Vatican spy, and risked death. He lived his ordeal with great spirit of sacrifice and offer: "even if I lose life, I do not consider it a waste, knowing that at least one of those who helped him became a priest in my place"
Dimension of ‘Salesian Paternity’:
BlessedMichael Rua, Blessed Philip Rinaldi, Blessed José Calasanz, Venerable Vincenzo Cimatti, Venerable Augusto Arribat, Servant of God, don Carlo Braga, servant of God father Andrea Majcen.
In varied trail of Holiness flourished at the school of don Bosco is also distinguished by a significant number of bishops who have embodied in a special way the typical pastoral charity of the Salesian charism in the Episcopal Ministry in which they were called:
Luigi Versiglia (18731930), Salesian Bishop,martyr,
Saint; Luigi Olivares (18731943), Salesian Bishop, Venerable;
Stephen Ferrando (1895-1978), Salesian Bishop, Venerable;
Ottavio Ortiz Arrieta (1878-1958), Salesian Bishop, Venerable;
August Hlond (1881-1948), Salesian Cardinal, Venerable;
Antônio de Almeida Lustosa (1886-1974), Salesian Bishop, servant of God;
Orestes Marengo (1906-1998), Salesian Bishop, servant of God.
Dimension of "charismatic affiliation". It is interesting that we venerate certain Saints who shared with Don Bosco some period of life, appreciated the Holiness, Apostolic and educational fruitfulness , but then they traversed with Evangelical freedom, becoming in turn founders, with their keen insights, the genuine love for the poor and the boundless trust in the Providence.
San Leonardo Murialdo: in collaboration with don Bosco chose to engage himself in the early oratories of Turin, between poor kids and stragglers of the periphery: first helped in the Oratory of the Guardian angel until 1857, and then in the Oratory of Saint Louis, as Director from 1857 to 1865. Then founded the Giuseppini of Murialdo
San Luigi Guanella: desiring of more radical religious experience, in 1875 he went to don Bosco in Turin, and made his temporary profession the Salesian congregation. In the first two years as a Salesian, he was the director of the oratory San Luigi Borgo San Salvario in Turin. In November 1876, he was entrusted with opening a new oratory in the Trinity of Mondovi. In 1877 the adult vocations were entrusted to him which Don Bosco had called "Work of children of Mary" The admiration for Don Bosco had a deep root even in their temperaments, very similar to one another, enterprising, apostles of charity, decisive, credible fatherliness and with a great love for the Eucharist, Our Lady, the Pope. The spirituality and Salesian education were a basic element for the formation and mission of the future founder. At the school of Don Bosco he learned loving and firm approach with young people and the educational desire to prevent rather than cure; and the desire to save the brothers with the momentum of a great apostolic charity
Saint Luigi Orione: from October 1886 to August 1889 he was a pupil of the Oratory of Valdocco in Turin. St John Bosco noticed the quality and included among his favourites, assuring him: "we will always be friends".
4. The task to spread knowledge, imitation and intercession of the members of our family candidates for sainthood
We are custodians of a precious heritage that deserves to be better known and appreciated. The risk is to reduce this wealth of Holiness in a liturgical celebration, not fully enhancing the potential of a spiritual, pastoral, ecclesial, educational, cultural, historical, social, missionary The Saints, Blessed, Venerable and Servants of God are precious gold that are subtracted from the darkness of the mine to be able to shine and reflect in the Church and in the Salesian Family the splendor of truth and charity of Christ
The pastoral aspect touches the effectiveness that the figures of Saints, Beati, venerables and servants of God as examples to Christianity lived in socio-cultural circumstances of the Church and of the Salesian family. The spiritual aspect involves the invitation to the imitation of their virtues as a source of inspiration and planning. Pastoral and spiritual care of a cause is a genuine form of pedagogy of Holiness, to which, by virtue of our charism, we should be especially sensitive and careful
A cause of beatification is never a dry procedure, but a pilgrimage of faith in research, meditation and imitation of virtuous heroism of Saints. It is an ecclesial activity which has some liturgical nature, as it is aimed to the praise of God and the glorification of his faithful servants. To this we must add the fact that the causes for the beatification of confessors of the faith and all causes of canonization also include an accurate assessment of a miracle, which is a work done by God, through the intercession of his faithful servant outside the ordinary of the causes known to us. If the verification of the heroic virtues of a servant of God is a work "from below", the miraculous event is a work "from above", a free intervention of God, which requires a scrupulous scientific and theological verification of true facts.
While not lacking groups and initiatives that laudably promote the knowledge and prayer regarding a Saint, Blessed, or the Venerable, Servant of God, it is necessary that this aspect is attended and promoted. In this sense it touches the large number of venerables (currently 17) who could have been beatified by now, but lacking a miracle they remain fixed. One thing that makes us think is that the last canonization of the Salesian Family, promoted by our postulation, is that of St. Dominic Savio (12 June 1954), and more than 64 years ago! The canonization of St. Luigi Versiglia and St. Callisto Caravario received dispensation from the miracle granted by Pope John Paul II. Responsible for the cause is not only the postulator, or some individual devotees, but the ecclesial communities in the various components involved (dioceses, parishes, congregations, associations, groups ...) express interest, enthusiasm and participation.
3.1 Recommendation to promote the knowledge, devotion, imitation of Saint or Blessed or Venerable or Servant of God and the request for favours
Gather the graces and favors that are attributed to them. Its good to have a notebook to record and report the graces requested and received, bearing witness to the fame of sanctity and of proofs. In particular, if it is healing and/or presuming miracles it is important to collect immediately all medical documentation that proves the case and evidence attesting to the intercession of the servant of God
Form a Committee with the task to promote this cause also in view of beatification and canonization. Members of that Committee should be particularly sensitive to the promotion of the cause of the servant of God: representatives of the diocese and the parish of origin, persons incharge and groups of the Salesian family, doctors (for investigating presumed miracles), historians, theologians and experts of spirituality ...
3.2 INITIAL DISCERNMENT BEFORE STARTING A CAUSE FOR BEATIFICATION AND CANONIZATION.
First, we need to investigate and document with great caution and care about the fame of sanctity and miracle of the candidate and the relevance of the cause. This is to verify the truth of the facts and the consequent formation of a firm moral certitude. It is also essential that the cause in question interests an important and significant portion of the people of God and is not intended only to some group, or even to a few people. Unfortunately some of our causes, beyond the sanctity of candidates, suffer from this fact. Often the question arises: but who cares about this cause? who promote it? Who really wants this process? All this entails a more motivated and documented initial discernment, to avoid waste of energy, strength, time and resources. Every cause filed requires much effort, care and dedication. The passage of time, changing people (postulator, speakers, deputy postulators, collaborators ...) often slows down the process started.
Also sometimes it seems that the processes of beatification and canonization is a purely bureaucratic and formal, that only affects someone, and not an ecclesial, Congregational and the Salesian family event. Instead they must arouse the interest, passion and involvement of so many.
3.3 IN THE PERSPECTIVE OF THE THEME OF THE CHAPTER
Holiness recognized or on the way to recognition is on one hand, already implementing the radical nature of the Gospel and of fidelity to apostolic project of don Bosco who is a spiritual and pastoral resource, on the other hand it is a provocation to live the mission as "means of Holiness or to live with Temperance as an indispensable condition for Holiness, because generating the freedom of the spirit that makes available for the love to the extreme. Our Venerable Saints, blesseds, and servants of God are the true incarnation of the Salesian charism and the constitutions in time and in different situations, overcoming the worldliness and spiritual shallowness that undermine our roots of credibility and fertility. They are true Mystics of the primacy of God in the generous gift of self, prophets of Evangelical fraternity in the practice of guarding and correction, servants of the brothers with creativity
Experience confirms that the promotion and care of causes of beatification and canonization of our family, the unanimous celebration of events related to holiness, are dynamics of grace that arouse Evangelical joy and charismatic sense of belonging, renewal resolutions and pledges of loyalty to the vocation received and generating Apostolic vocational fruitfulness.
Letter of the Rector Major: at the conclusion of the Second Seminar on the promotion of the Causes of Beatification and Canonization of the Salesian Family
Rome 20 May 2018
Solemnity of Pentecost
Dear Superiors/and those Responsible for the Salesian Family
Dear Provincials and those animating and promoting the Causes
The celebration of the Seminar for the promotion of the Causes of Beatification and Canonization of the Salesian Family, held in Rome between 10 and 14 April 2018, with the participation of about 90 people coming from various parts of the world, was an occasion of grace to examine the spiritual and pastoral progress of the whole of our Salesian Family.
The meeting highlighted how the process and the witness of Salesian holiness in the Salesian Family are above all the gift of the Holy Spirit to be welcomed with humility and gratitude. They confirm the fact that it is not enough to offer services and to do things but that it is necessary to bring Jesus and to bring to Jesus, by proclaiming the joy of the Gospel.
From Don Bosco down to our own times we recognise a tradition of holiness to which we need to pay attention, since the incarnation of the charism that had its origin in him found its expression in a variety of states of life and in different forms, it is a question of men and women, young people and adults, consecrated persons and lay people, bishops and missionaries who in certain historical, cultural and social contexts, different in time and place, made the special light of the Salesian charism shine out, representing a heritage that continues to play an effective role in the life and in the communities of believers and of men and women of good will.
In my closing address I expressed this hope: “I would like to look at the witness of our saints, blesseds and all the members of the Salesian Family on the way to holiness recognised by the Church, as those who accompany us in the ways and in the life of the Spirit. Their life-witness and the unfolding of their vocations and often their writings are for us outlines of ways of life from which we can learn how to place all our lives under the guidance of the Holy Spirit in order to be ready to listen to His inspirations and directives.”
In this year in which the Church devotes the Synod of Bishops to the Young and their yourney of faith and of vocation I should also like to look at both the young saints of the Salesian Family, of which there are 45 under 30 years of age – a sign of the dynamism of the Salesian spirit incarnated in youngsters, teenagers and young people – and also at the youth of saints as a manifestation of the way God can act in the lives of people in a variety of the most different ways.
By means of talks of the highest quality, opportunities for sharing ideas in group work, the aim was achieved of being able to present the material and the processes that assist in the verification and follow up of any presumed miracles but above all this gathering has been further confirmation of the fact that the promotion and the care given to the Causes of Beatificaton and Canonization of our Family give rise to the dynamics of grace that are the source of evangelical joy and to the sense of belonging to the charism, renewing resolutions and commitments to fidelity to the call received and creating apostolic and vocational fruitfulness.
This seminar – which will have its third edition between 13 and 17 April 2021 – gives rise to some reflections that involve the General Office of Postulation and those bodies that are coordinated by it at local level, but also makes some demands on the Government of the Congregation and on the Departments of which it is composed, in order to then branch out into the local situations, under the direction of the Provinces and of the Salesian Family, in accordance with the local Churches: a process that unfolds with two different timescales or, if you prefer along two different paths – the institutional and the pastoral – which need to act in harmony as they give each other support. In this area some challenges have surfaced that need to be recognised and faced up to:
(1) To continue in the Salesian Family, in communion with the local Churches, the process of promoting the Causes by means of initiatives to make our candidates for holiness known, imitated and prayed to. As a challenge I would like to ask “Do we keep in mind and pray to our Blesseds, Venerables and Servants of God? Do we have confidence in the communion of saints? Do we believe in the power of intercession of the saints?”
(2) To coordinate as well as possible the process of “Government ” and that of the Postulation Office it is necessary that for each Cause at local level there are some people who take on the responsiblity of following up our Causes, keeping them on track and keeping them alive, and spreading devotion to the Servants of God, the Venerables, and the Blesseds in commmunion and collaboration with the local Churches. Vice-postulators, collaborators and promotors need to keep i debbono sensibilizzare, informare, and encourage approaches to the local Bishops and superiors. To keep things moving there is no need to wait quietly for the Bishops to make their decisions and give recommedations from on high. What is needed is to be responsible and to awaken a sense of co-responsibility, in a spirit of communion with the Church and of pastoral creativity. A first initiative could be that of proposing to/in the local Churhes and within the Salesian Family a day on which to present and make known the findings of the Seminar.
(3) To increase our awareness of the crucial importance of a miracle and the need for it for the successful outcome of a Cause. In the light of the talks by Card. Amato, Mons. Pellegrino and Father Turek it is necessary to reflect on the twofold aspects of a lack of scientific explanation and of intercession; to committing ourselves to praying and getting others to pray to our candidates for the altars, overcoming laziness and spiritual superficiality. Again here I ask: “Do we think that it is important to pray to obtain miracles? Or do we believe that miracles can no longer happen? Unless we pray to the Blesseds and Venerables, we shall not be able to obtain miracles from God”.
(4) To appreciate the manifold richness of the one Salesian Family, made up of 31 different groups some of which are distinguished by being essentially lay in character: a richness in its own way unique in the Church. This richness that is expressed at the charismatic level, could now also be transformed into a new form of collaboration in the Causes of Beatification and Canonization, with all that this implies, and a very real movement in the Church to which it would give rise.
Holiness already recognised or in the process of being recognised, on the one hand is itself the realization of the evangelical radical approach and fidelity to the apostolic project of Don Bosco, which one can recognise as a spiritual and pastoral treasure; on the other hand it is a challenge to live one’s own vocation with fidelity and to be ready to bear witness to love right to the end. Our Saints, Blesseds. Venerables and Servants of God are the veritable incarnation of the Salesian charism and of the Constitutions or Regulations of our Institutes and Groups in the most diverse of times and situations, overcoming that worldliness and spiritual superficiality that undermine the roots of our credibility and frutfulness. They are true mystics of the primacy of God in the generous gift of oneself, prophets of evangelical fraternity, servants of their brothers and sisters with creativity.
I thank the Lord for the grace of this Seminar which has helped us to appreciate ever more the mystery of the Communion of Saints and has placed us within that “circle of saints” which in artistic language Blessed Fra Angelico wanted to describe and which in Salesian terms is like a “gift of the Spirit” which enables us to come together and to journey together along the joyful and demanding path of holiness. These initiatives are a privileged means for the promotion among the whole people of God of that common vocation to holiness which is so dear to us in our Salesian tradition and to which Pope Francis with his Apostolic Exhortation Gaudete et Exultate is exhorting us.
May Our Mother Mary Help of Christians, given to little John in his dreams at 9 years of age as his «teacher, under whose guidance you will become wise and without whom all wisdom becomes foolishness» take us by the hand and with a motherly gaze accompany us on the way of holiness.
D. Ángel Fernández A.,SDB