Dear Salesian Sisters and Brothers,
In five days we will be celebrating Christmas Eve. Many of you will be traveling and will be busy with different types of preparations for that beautiful day when we celebrate Christ’s birth and God’s incarnation, God becoming one with us through Jesus. I wish to extend to all of you a very blessed and beautiful Christmas. May you be surrounded with much love and peace. And, may the true joy of this season permeate your home and fill your hearts. You will be remembered at our Masses and prayers. Thank you to all of you for all you do to support the Salesians and our mission to the young. For those traveling, may the Lord and his Mother, the Virgin Mary, keep you safe.
The provincial council just finished two days of meetings at St. Luke’s Parish in Stockton. The provincial council met at Sunday, December 15th, with prayer, a climate check and dinner out. On Monday, the provincial council met with the province delegates: Formation, Youth Ministry, Missions, Social Communications, Salesian Family, finances and the Coordinators of Vocations and Education. We are grateful to the Salesian Community at St. Luke’s for their hospitality and for finding housing for all of us.
The meeting with the Delegates and the provincial council on Monday, began with prayer and a morning of reflection. The question presented for reflection was: In light of the recent news items regarding the Salesians, what is the narrative we want to promote? How do we continue to allow all the good that is being done for young people to be the narrative we tell. Despite some of the horrible things which have harmed young people in the past, committed by a few, nonetheless something we deeply regret, there is also much good being done and countless dedicated persons, both lay and religious, who continue to work untiringly to promote the mission of St. John Bosco and make a difference in the lives of youth. The morning session with the delegates discussed ways to promote the narrative and tell all the good being done. Part of the morning was also spent reflecting on what type of structure should we have for our future meetings. It was suggested that the day always consist of a formation piece, reflect together on our revisited Organic Plan, in the afternoon-share how the delegates are doing in their own departments and how they are advancing the plan of the province.
As a province we continue to promote the 6 priorities of our Organic Plan which form our vision:
- To grow in the witness of apostolic consecration in fraternal communities
- To seek out, call forth and accompany new vocations to the Salesian Religious life
- To identify and form religious and lay personnel for the Salesian mission
- To develop a planning mentality in all aspects of our apostolic and consecrated life
- To respond prophetically in all our presences to the economically poor with a special focus on the undocumented
- To develop the means to reach financial stability in order to support Province works, especially to reach poor and disadvantaged youth
As delegates and provincial council we finished a good and fruitful meeting with several action steps to be fulfilled by different members of the group and present their completion or process by the next meeting in January 2020.
The following day, Tuesday, the provincial council met without the delegates to continue our discussion of province matters such as personnel, finances, ways to help some of our struggling works, updates on school visits by the Coordinator of education, update on PAD and reflection on some past events. The second day also ended well.
I wish to express my thanks and gratitude to the PAD (Province Assembly Days) committee for their hard work in organizing and getting things ready for our Province gathering-January 12-14. We begin with dinner on Sunday, January 12 and end with dinner on Tuesday, January 14. All Salesians confreres (SDB) who can travel are asked to attend this assembly. It is a way of showing unity and care for one another. The theme will be: “Accompanying One Another, Creating Our Future.” These two days will include reflection on our future, ways to accompany each other as brothers and thus accompany our lay collaborators and young people, time for fraternity and prayer. When our communities are united and living out our Salesian fraternal life well, the mission is enhanced and blossoms. When our fraternal life as consecrated Salesians is not lived well or lived at all, our mission to the young suffers. Please keep us in prayer as we prepare for these very important days.
We wish to congratulate St. John Bosco High School, Bellflower and Salesian College Preparatory, Richmond, both for winning the State Championship in their divisions. Many thanks to their coaches and staff who have worked so hard to form, train and accompany our young people who were part of the football teams. Thank you also to the school administration for their support. We Salesians are proud of you and are filled with pride and gratitude for who you are and all you do! THANKS! CONGRATULATIONS!
As many of you begin your Christmas vacation and holidays, be assured of a remembrance in our prayers during this Christmas novena. Have a beautiful and holy season. May God’s light which shone in the darkness through the birth of Jesus, continue to shine in your lives and in the lives of the young who give us inspiration and are a gift to us all. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
With warm regards and gratitude,