Valdocco, Turin, 24 May 2021 — ‘The Salesian Family is guided by the Holy Spirit’ – with these words of the Rector Major concluded the 2021 World Council (Consulta) 3-day online meeting for 2021. Some 80 online participants from all 32 official groups of the Salesian Family ‘were present’ each day for 2-3 hours in the same digital space, animated by Fr Joan Lluis Playa, the Delegate of the Rector Major for the Salesian Family.
‘If any situation is not guided by the Holy Spirit, in due time we may see its end….There is no other path, only to be guided by the Holy Spirit. This is also true about all of the 32 SF groups, never mind their numerical consistency or the ‘old age’ of different groups… So I invite the whole Salesian Family to be courageous. Yes, courage is the main condition for our grow to the future. Even in the difficulties of the pandemic, ‘fear’ or ‘being afraid’ can’t be our paradigm… And there are some small groups among poor people in the Brazilian favelas or among the indigenous people of Guatemala’… but they are courageous and very much alive in the Spirit…We should be witnesses” This is just a short quote from the Rector Major’s sharing at the end of these 3 days, on the Feast of the Pentecost.
Also on Pentecost Sunday, during his noon ‘Angelus prayer’ Pope Francis addressed the Salesian Family of Don Bosco on the eve of the Feast of Mary Help of Christians, appreciating the Salesian mission for “the poorest, most abandoned and marginalized youth” and wishing us “a blessing with many holy vocations” now and in the future. And we also appreciate that Pope Francis is preparing a special letter for a large group of different groups in the Catholic Church who are inspired by the spirituality of St Francis de Sales, when we celebrate the fourth centenary of his death (1622-2022).
Thanks to the virtual approach to meetings, this time all 32 groups took part, including the 5 SF groups born in the EAO region: SIHM, DQM and SQM (Thailand), SAL (Sisters Announcers of the Lord’ (China) and the Caritas Sisters of Jesus (Japan).
This time, a rich 3 -day program of the World SF Council involved one theological reflection based on the 2021 Strenna of Hope, a smaller group reflection on the Holy Spirit who moves each group in this specific moment of history, and on the final day there was a special sharing of some groups celebrating their General chapters (such as the FMA Sisters ad Caritas Sisters of Jesus) or celebrating anniversaries (such as the Past Pupils of Don Bosco’s 150th anniversary).
The World Council also gave visibility to the workings of the Secretariat for the Salesian Family, guided by Fr Joan Lluis Playa. In particular he shared the evaluation of the recent (January 2021) first online Salesian Family Spirituality Days with almost 10,000 participants. Next year too, the SF spirituality days will be organised according to these online dynamics.