Dear Salesian Sisters and Brothers,
Our Western Province of St. Andrew is preparing for our Provincial Chapter which will take place from Sunday, June 16 to Friday, June 21, 2019. This Chapter will take place at Three Rivers where we usually host one of our two retreats. This provincial chapter is in preparation for the General Chapter which will take place next year 2020 in Turin, Italy. All the Provincials and their delegates will attend.
The theme for this upcoming Chapter, given to us by the Rector Major and his Council, is:
WHAT KIND OF SALESIANS FOR THE YOUTH OF TODAY?
Many of you have already been working hard, for many months, in preparation for this chapter. The Chapter theme is divided into three parts:
- Priority of the Salesian mission among today’s young people.
- Profile of the Salesian for the youth of today
- Together with lay people in the mission and in formation
The Rector Major and his council are asking the Congregation to reflect more deeply in order to “undertake a discernment process to see whether our houses, our works and our activities are at the service of the poorest young people, whether they find a place in our hearts and are the centre of our concerns and interests; whether we are concentrating our energy and our efforts on them.” (Letter of Angel Fernandez Artime convoking the 28th General Chapter). If our mission to the young is a priority today we should open our eyes and become more sensitive to the needs of teenagers and young people who belong to a digital word, a world which is still alien to many of us Salesians. We need to undertake this journey together as a Salesian Family learning from one another. How do we respond to the young today and how do we form and prepare ourselves to have something significant to say and to give to the young? What do we offer them? How do we become men and women of God and harmonize nature and grace as beautifully as Don Bosco did in his own life. How do we enkindle the same passion of the “da mini animas certera tolle” (Give me souls, take away the rest) of Don Bosco. How can we cultivate within ourselves the same flexibility, creativity, educative passion, his dynamism and clarity of vision to keep us faithful to the mission. In our Salesian spirit, love is the means and the fundamental method of our ministry as Salesians: untiring affability and friendliness, a welcoming attitude, optimism and joy, the family spirit, appreciation shown toward everyone, taking the first step toward the young and the stranger. For us this way of being is our trademark and hallmark, our name for charity.
Please keep us in prayer this coming week, as SDBs, FMAs, lay collaborators and members of the Salesian Family gather to discern, dialogue and plan for the next three years. May God’s grace and the intercession of Mary Help of Christians help us really want to live out this vision and this Salesian methodology. And, a very special THANK YOU to Fr. John Itzaina for his leadership as Chapter moderator and his dedication in preparing for this important event.
Yesterday, I drove up from Los Angeles to Watsonville. I had been asked to preside at the 5pm Mass for those attending SYLC (Salesian Youth Leadership Conference) and for our school Administrators who are gathering for their formation workshop. SYLC, which is held every year at Camp St. Francis, has over one hundred participants. This year, like last year, two Salesian Sisters are part of the presenters and adult team. We are very happy to have Sr. Lindsay Durham and Sr. Theresa Khong join us this year at SYLC. I wish to thank Fr. Mel Trinidad who has served as delegate for Youth Ministry of the province this year, as well as Director of the Bellflower community, for his leadership and work in forming a team to help organize SYLC. Thanks to all the participants, adult leaders and the team for their dedicated work.
I also wish to thank Br. Al Vu, Coordinator of Education, for his leadership in gathering the school administrators (Directors, Principals, CYMs and others members of the administration of our schools) for these three days of continual formation and planning on how best to form our school staff and administrators. I will return to Watsonville tomorrow to spend some time with them as they bring their workshop to a close and spend time with your SYLC participants.
During the Liturgy yesterday, at Mary Help of Christians Church in Watsonville, Fr. Mel Trinidad presented two awards (The Good Shepherd award) to two people who have given so much of themselves and their service to the accompaniment and ministry to the young. The two recipients were: Mikey Vera and Mrs. Marylou Flannery. Mikey has worked for many years with SYLC and in parish ministry and as chair of the parish council at St. Dominic Savio Church, Bellflower. Marylou has worked at Salesian College Preparatory in Richmond for many years and recently as principal of the school. Congratulations to both of them and we, as a Salesian Province, thank you for your service and generous Salesian ministry to the young. May God continue to bless your work and strengthen you on the journey.
During the end of the month of June (27-30), around fifteen people (SDBs and Cooperators) will join another similar number of Salesians and Cooperators from the Eastern Provinces at Stony Point for a weekend of formation. Fr. Tom Dunne and Sr. Denise Sickinger, along with a team, are organizing and hosting the event. Please pray for us as we gather at Stony Point for this important moment of formation and sharing.
May your summer be restful and enriching wherever you may be or do. Let us keep each other in prayer.
With warm regards and gratitude,