Salesian Family to be God’s witnesses…

Salesian Family to be God’s witnesses…

Rome (Italy).  The 35th edition of the Salesian Family Spiritualty Days at the Generalate of the Salesians in Rome has concluded.  This year, the days centered attention on the Family.  The guiding theme of the work, as it is traditionally, was the Rector Major’s Strenna for 2017: “We are Family.  Every home, a school of Life and Love”.

There were about 400 participants in the SFSD coming from the 5 continents, which constitutes a valid representation of the 31 groups that comprise the Salesian Family today.  The meeting began in the afternoon of January 19, 2017 with the opening greetings and the presentation of the 21 groups of the Salesian Family in the world that participated.
Participating for the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians were: Sr. Maria Luisa Miranda, General Councilor for the Salesian Family Department, together with her collaborators; FMA representing the houses dependent on Mother General; the novices of the two international novitiates in Rome; numerous FMA coming from the various Provinces in the world.  Mother General, Sr. Yvonne Reungoat, was present at some moments during these days, gave the Good Night, and met with FMA.

Fr. Ángel Fernández Artime, Rector Major, said: “We are 21 groups of the Salesian Family present here for these Days and I am very happy.  But I want to say one fundamental thing:  Salesian Family, we are born to be witnesses of God!”

Fr. Eusebio Muñoz, Delegate of the Rector Major for the Salesian Family, thanked all those present and invited them to live these Days intensely and to be nourished by Salesian Spirituality.  “This encounter will allow you to strengthen the spiritual experience you have brought to Rome, and when you return to your own places, you will be able to transmit this beautiful experience of fraternity”.

The first formative presentation was entrusted to Fr. Juan José Bartolomé, SDB, who made reference to the “experience of family of Jesus of Nazareth in the synoptic tradition”.  The Salesian Biblist explained: “God wanted to be like us in order to save us, and wanted to be born into a family… God wanted to learn to be one of us, to grow as a human person in a family, cradle of life and of love, the place where the human person is born and grows”.

At the close of the first day, Fr. Á.F. Artime offered the thought for the Salesian ‘Good Night’ and stated very clearly: “Dear Salesian Family, we were not born only to perform acts of charity; we were born to be witnesses of God.  This is our fundamental identity. …In a world that seeks to silence God, we have a great responsibility as Salesian Family: witness to the living God with our life”.

During the morning of January 20, Fr. Ángel presented Strenna 2017.  “We are Family!  In the face of the situation that the family is going through today, the Salesian Family must respond by accompanying and generating processes in the Pastoral Educating Community”.
Fr. Fabio Attard, General Councilor for Youth Pastoral, presented the theme: “Salesian Youth Pastoral and Family.  Heritage and Guidelines for the Future”.  He concluded by saying that “Today’s problem requires a new evangelization that calls for the pastoral care of the family”.  At the conclusion of the morning, Mass was celebrated by the Rector Major  and the homily of Fr. Francesco Cereda, Vicar of the Rector Major.

In the afternoon, the psychologist Virginia Cagijal of Spain spoke on the theme: “Accompany the family; keys of listening and discernment”.  Reflecting on the text of “Amoris Laetitia” she affirmed that “Every matrimony is a story of salvation to care for, protect, and educate.  To confront the difficulties of the family today like overprotection and lack of time among others, the strength of the family essentially resides in its capacity to love and to teach to love”.  Another meaningful experience was the presentation of Salvo Adamo and his wife, who decided to receive in their home boys and girls, teenagers, and young adults who do not live in their own home.

After meeting in language groups, the FMA Mother General, M. Yvonne Reungoat, gave the Salesian Good Night: “The Salesian Family is a prophetic power in today’s world.  We must be aware of this reality.  Don Bosco understood that we cannot educate without the presence of a family and in a climate of healthy affection, of freedom, of trust, of cheerfulness, and of hope and thus created the possibility for his young people to be formed  by living in a family”.

Saturday, the 21st opened with the presentation of Fr. Andrea Bozzolo, SDB on a Salesian reading of  Amoris Laetitia“The special interest of the Church for the reality of the family is due to observing the crisis that this institution is undergoing in our society, especially in the Western world and above all, because there is the conviction that the family has the great responsibility to attend to the transmission of the faith”. 
The second part of the morning was dedicated to the presentation of the experiences of groups who work with families.  The group ‘Hogares Don Bosco’ recounted its experience of 50 years of life in Spain with the accompaniment of the Families on the part of the Salesian Cooperators of Slovakia.  Andres and Carmen explained that “Hogares Don Bosco is organized into groups of couples who freely accept to live Salesian spirituality and seek to make a serious journey of human, Christian, and family growth”.

At the end of the morning, there was an hour of Eucharistic Adoration during which Fr. Thomas Uzhunnalil, the Indian Salesian Missionary kidnapped in Aden, Yemen on March 4, 2016,  was remembered.  In the afternoon, there was time for the Salesian Family groups to meet during which they reflected on initiatives of concrete effort to live the slogan: ‘We are Family’.  There was a wonderful feast of all the groups of the Salesian Family in the evening, which closed the day.

On Sunday 22, Fr. Á.F. Artime first thanked everyone for having shared the work of the Family together, day after day.  He then said: “Two words can express the synthesis and the prospects of this 2017 – great convergence in all the interventions”.  He recalled the words of Pope Francis at Turin – Valdocco in 2015: “You have educated me with affection; never lose this way of educating” and he insisted on the continuance our educational work “beginning with the affection that is part of our patrimony and that generates acceptance, leads to keeping the doors open, above all, the door of our home, and even more, the door of our heart”.

At the end of the 35th edition of the Spirituality Days, the Rector Major said: “May we feel that we are sent as Salesian missionaries among the families of the entire world”.


Buonanotte di Madre Yvonne Reungoat alle GSFS 2017:

For the materials:

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