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Wednesday, February 24th 2016

1:14 PM

Message from Rome

The new World Council of the Salesian Cooperators, gathered for the first time in Rome during this Holy Year of Mercy, expresses its gratitude to God for the gift of the Holy Spirit who raised up Don Bosco, Father of the Salesian Family.  The apostolic energy of his charism has spread throughout the entire world, calling men and women, Religious and Lay, to live the vocation that is properly theirs while collaborating in the same mission at the service of the poorest youth.  We are happy to be witnesses to the pastoral charity which animates the Salesian Cooperators the world over and to have shared this joy in a most fraternal manner during these days.

1. The presence of both the Rector Major and of Mother General at the beginning of the work confirmed the significance of the Association within the Salesian Family and within the Church.  They encouraged and invited us to live our daily lives with faith and always to be involved in the social and political realms with commitment – with ever greater commitment.  We, together with the other ecclesial and social forces, are the ones who will bring about profound changes so our world may be one of peace and of authentic fraternity.

2. For this reason, our work focused on the drafting and the approval of some documents which we hold to be foundational for the future of the Association.  Following our Founder’s original intuition and the inspirations underlying the new Project of Apostolic Life, we have re-formulated the Guidelines for Formation.  We assert that Formation is the key to every serious and profound change and growth in both persons and structures.  To complete this work which opens up a new horizon, rich in hope, required much time, labor, and great commitment.  Together with the Guidelines for Formation, we have also written and approved the “Criteria for Animation and Governance” and the Handbook for the World Council.  Another instrument that will certainly be useful and which must accompany us along the years is the new Commentary to the PVA.  We are convinced that the Holy Spirit has illuminated us so that the Association might follow a journey of growth both in quantity and in quality during the coming years.

3. The meeting of the World Councilors is also an occasion for us to know one another better, to share each one’s unique experiences, to share the joys of generous service, and to support each other in difficulties.  Each continent, each region has its own story.  Even though we travel in the same direction, times and situations differ.  Our charism, our love for Don Bosco, and the will to serve the young with enthusiasm and generosity are what unite us.

4. We are conscious of the fact that we find ourselves facing great challenges placed before us.  Violence, wars, youth unemployment, and the problems of families (and concerning the family), of ethics, and of social justice cannot leave us indifferent.  Every bit of this requires a formation that is more carefully planned and carried out and a more significant ecclesial and social Visibility.  We are not spectators but are the ones who are strong in our convictions, making history happen in today’s world.  In order to act efficaciously in our cultural milieu, we must be competent and well-versed in communication.

5. In order to meet these challenges, we must work together.  It is absolutely indispensable for us to grow in our sense of belonging to the Association to achieve this goal.  Belonging is manifested concretely by living the same spirit, by sharing the same goals, and by participating in economic solidarity.

6. These challenges are problems, it is true, but they are also opportunities for growth so as to bring great life to our Association.  Since faith without works is dead, we wish to respond actively to these challenges by developing a three-year plan of action.

Dear Salesian Cooperators,                                                                    When entering through the Holy Door of Mercy in St. Peter’s Basilica, we prayed for each one of you and for the entire Association.  We invoked the Holy Spirit to accompany us on our journey.  We are certain of His Presence, as we are of the maternal presence of Mary, and that of Don Bosco, of Mother Mazzarello, and of all the Saints of the Salesian Family. 

The task now awaiting us is not an easy one but it is one that invigorates us.  It is the mission which our forebears knew how to carry out.  Today, it is a matter of being leaven and salt in our world so that we may add to our common history and give it flavor as we prepare to celebrate its 140th anniversary.

The World Council

Rome, February 21
The Year of Mercy 2016

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