Good Christians and honest citizens in the current context

Turin (Italy). The second of the Salesian Family Spirituality Days, which takes place in Valdocco from 16 to 19 January 2020, sees the approximately 400 participants engaged in the in-depth analysis of the theme Good Christians and honest citizens in today's contexts.

At the start of the work, after the prayer in the Great Theater of Valdocco led by the Salesian Contemplative Fraternity Mary of Nazareth, there was the Presentation of Msgr. Sebastià Taltavull Anglada, Bishop of Mallorca (Spain) “Good Christians in the current socio-cultural-religious context." Starting from the analysis of some Gospel passages on ‘goodness’ in the Gospel, Archbishop Taltavull highlighted how the current socio-cultural-religious context offers us enormous opportunities, as there is a thirst for God in many people who seemingly don't believe. In this situation, the value of witness is decisive: “Through witness, without words, people ask questions. Witness is already a silent evangelization." There followed the study of the theme in group work. The morning ended with the Eucharistic Celebration in the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians celebrated by Msgr. Taltavull and concelebrated by the Rector Major of the Salesians of Don Bosco, Ángel Fernández Artime, and all the priests participating in the Days.

The animation of the Salesian Novices made the resumption of afternoon activities lively and cheerful. Space was then dedicated to Msgr. Sebastià Taltavull who, with great familiarity, answered the questions formulated in the morning group work.

Subsequently, there was the first testimony from Syria, given by Fr. Pier Jabloyan, director of the Salesian Work of Don Bosco in Aleppo, and by two young Salesian Cooperators, Sally from the Damascus oratory and Cesar from the Aleppo oratory.

Sally Abou Jamra works on a national radio, in a context in which colleagues do not follow a religion or have a weak approach to faith. If at the beginning of her work Sally felt mocked for her faith, slowly the questions of her colleagues became more numerous and by presenting a radio program that recounts the situations in the world, Sally asked and obtained permission to make the last two episodes on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In this way she was able to be a coherent witness of her faith in a context, that of the Middle East, where it is not easy to speak of God.

Cesar Ward is a sixth year medical student and at the same time provides animation, accompaniment, catechism, and works in the sphere of communication in the oratory. With the start of the war, his brothers left the country, leaving the weight of the family on Cesar's shoulders: “I had two options: either to stay at home with all the fear without doing anything or open up, or to live my life normally and adapt to everything there was. I chose the second way and I decided to live with all the little things I find in everyday life. I begin to pay attention to my language, using small words of respect and kindness. I saw that these words were enough to say to illuminate a person. And slowly I heard people saying: 'this is a Christian'. It was a great thing for me to witness like this."

With a video by Don Bosco Missions, Fr. Pier Jabloyan showed the participants the reality of the Salesian Work of Don Bosco in Aleppo and commented: "When everyone talks about death, we talk about life, hope. There the challenge is to be good Christians in wartime. As Salesians, we work first of all to form 'good people' who remain human. Many young people have lost their faith, but many have also revived it. In this war we are sure of one thing: what saves our children is the community. A good Christian cannot be a good Christian on his own. When we have hearts at peace with the Lord, we can be good Christians. Our young people must be able to live well in this time and in eternity. It is the concern of the Salesian Family in Aleppo.”

On stage, for the second testimony, the Salesian Cooperators, Italo Canaletti and Andrea Zapparoli, together with the SDB Past Pupils Giovanni Costanza and Valerio Martorana, spoke about civic commitment formation. The SDB Past Pupils with the Salesian Cooperators, who already had the experience of the "Honest Citizens" Movement, born in 2013, presented the "Alberto Marvelli" Social and Political Commitment Formation School, currently being implemented, to educate young people to be good Christians and honest citizens.

The second part of the group work closed the intense afternoon and, after dinner, the participants met in the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians for the prayer vigil animated by the Salesian Clerics of the International Don Bosco Institute of Turin - Crocetta.

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