Dear Salesian Sisters and Brothers,
I am presently in Los Angeles. I drove down yesterday evening, after visiting Camp St. Francis in Aptos. Today I visited Camp Savio in Bellflower. Tomorrow, I hope to visit our ministry in Boyle Heights.
I am grateful to all those working hard to give young people a beautiful, enjoyable and Salesian summer experience. Wherever you go, you sense the Salesian family spirit and the dedication of those in charge, to give the young people a healthy and wonderful time.
Last Friday the Provincial Council and I finished our week of planning at Villa Maria retreat in Santa Cruz. As I mentioned last week, the provincial council worked hard during the week to reflect on the final draft left to us by Fr. Maria Arokiam Kanaga and the final deliberations of the provincial chapter. We worked on our Organic Plan and, although at times the work was tedious, we were able to update and revise the strategies and lines of action of all six priorities.
One of the lines of action under the priority of planning together with the laity was the call to have all our province delegates and coordinators of the main sectors of our province ministries meet with the provincial council. Our first gathering will be on August 15th at De Sales Hall. The provincial council has scheduled our regular August meeting but will include a one day with our delegates and coordinators. The delegates and coordinators include Formation, Youth Ministry, Social Communication, Mission Animation, Finances and Salesian Family. The Coordinators include Education, Vocation ministry, volunteers and for the elderly. We may add one or two more coordinator positions in the future. Their work will be not only to present and update the entire group (including the provincial council) of goals, objectives and what they hope to accomplish for the year, but also to plan together and hold each other accountable to our vision and pastoral plan. We hope to present the newly revised Organic Plan and begin the work that it entails. As mentioned before, a letter will be sent to all delegates and coordinators. This seems like a simple and small action step toward our working and planning together, but, I believe, it can help the province move forward with great success. Our intention is to have everyone meet every month with the provincial council.
On Friday, after attending the Board of Directors meeting at Don Bosco Tech, I will fly out of Burbank, California, to San Antonio, Texas. On Saturday I will preside at the Mass celebrating the jubilee anniversaries of the Salesian Sisters. I wish to congratulate our Sisters who are celebrating significant anniversaries this year: 70 years of profession: Sr. Rita Bailey and Sr. Rita Fantin, Sr. Angelita Guzman (now deceased), Sr. Esperanza Rodriguez (also recently deceased) and Sr. María de Jesús Tamayo. Celebrating 50 years of profession: Sr. Lena Pinto. Celebrating 40 years of profession: Sr. Theresa Jones and Sr. Lucy Yuen and celebrating 25 years of profession: Sr. Maria Nguyen T. Bach Tuyet. We wish to thank them for their many years of service, faithful witness and commitment to the Salesian mission and to their call of consecration. I know that many of these sisters have touched our lives and have left a mark which will not be forgotten. Let us keep our Sisters in prayer.
I will spend three days in Laredo, visiting my family and visiting the parish of San Luis Rey. I will return to Los Angeles on Wednesday, July 24 and return to San Francisco on Friday, July 26. On Sunday, July 28th, our second retreat will begin at San Juan Bautista. Fr. Dave O’Malley will be our retreat preacher. This time of retreat will be a good time of prayer, reflection, rest and reconnecting with each other. Two of our brothers, Damien and Quang, will renew their vows during this retreat.
I wish to congratulate our two novices, Leo Imbert and Kris Tran, as they prepare to make their first profession on August 15th, at St. Dominic Savio Parish, at 5:30 pm. They have both been at Camp St. Francis for the month of July. I was able to visit with them while there yesterday. Let us keep Leo and Kris in our prayers as they prepare to take this next significant step in their Salesian journey. We give thanks to God for the vocations he has sent us and continues to send us. While the work is great and we could use many more SDBs, we are grateful for the gifts of these two men and continue to involve the lay people in the work and ministry of accomplishing the vision of Don Bosco to work for the young, especially, the poor and most disadvantaged.
Continue to enjoy your summer and let us pray for a world without division, racism and hatred.
With warm regards and gratitude,