Official Opening of GC 27 of the Salesians
Rome (Italy). On the morning of March 3, the solemn opening ceremony of the 27th General Chapter of the Salesian Congregation took place. Present were many ecclesiastical and religious authorities, the Prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, Cardinal João Braz de Aviz, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, la Madre, M. Yvonne Reungoat, the Regulator of GC XXIII Sr. Chiara Cazzuola, the Secretary Sr. Piera Cavaglià, and laity of the Salesian Family.
After the invocation to the Holy Spirit as the guide and support of the whole Chapter with the singing of the Veni, Creator Spiritus, the Rector Major, Fr. Pascual Chávez explained in his opening message, “The future of the Congregation does not preoccupy us, as though it were a question of survival, as much as our prophetic capacity”. Then he stated, “The Congregation is called in this Chapter to renew itself in such a way as to have the freshness of its origins, the missionary zeal of its adolescence, the dynamism of its youth, the holiness of its maturity. She presents herself as united, but ‘the unity of the Congregation does not mean uniformity”.
Following this, was the presentation of the Prefect for the Congregation of Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, Cardinal João Braz de Aviz, who, referring to the Letter of Convocation of the Chapter in which is asked, what type of consecrated life is necessary and meaningful for today’s world?, synthesized the response “To live the prophecy of communion and fraternity”.
In her greeting, Mother Yvonne Reungoat, in line with the Chapter Outline “Witnesses of Evangelical Radicalness - Work and Temperance”, evidenced that “Being witnesses of evangelical radicalness according to Salesian spirituality and mission is not optional, but is the greatest offering we can make to the world, especially to the young who in their contradictions hide a deep need for spirituality, for rediscovering authentic values, seeing them incarnated in the words, the face, the gestures of their educators. Pope Francis is an extraordinary example of this. He practices the pedagogy of gestures that everyone understands, finds pleasing and attractive. And his words that question us impel us to imitate him. Thus, he helps those who listen to him rediscover that being a Christian is something immensely beautiful.
“A Church in missionary out-reach, pervaded by the joy of proclaiming Christ, witnessing to Him, and bringing Him to others is the secret of the New Evangelization and also the secret of our renewal as a Religious Family. There is a deep synergy between witnessing and proclaiming Christ in the educational mission that is proper to us as Salesian Family. To be witnesses to the radicalness of Jesus necessarily leads us to go out into the streets of the world and of history to announce, especially to the young, that life has a deep meaning, that there is a future with the reality of resurrection that awaits us, while we commit ourselves to be artificers of a way of living that is more human and dignified.”
Then Mother concluded with, “I express my thanks to the Rector Major who, in these twelve years, we have felt as our Father and Teacher. We have treasured his rich and wise Magisterium offered to the whole Salesian Family. I thank him for his many gestures of true fraternity and affection and I offer him best wishes for a rich and fruitful ulterior mission. We are sure that GC 27 will be of benefit to us as well and to the whole Salesian Family.”
As the morning ended, the Regulator, Fr. Francesco Cereda, declared the official opening of General Chapter 27 that will be in session until April 22, the vigil of Palm Sunday.