Provincial Letter May 21st, 2020

Dear Salesian sisters and brothers,

I pray you are all keeping safe.   Many of us are still “sheltered-in-place” and wondering when it will be safe to travel, visit friends or move around more freely.   Of course, folks still go out for groceries and essentials.   Others, perhaps, are still working at their normal jobs.  We pray for everyone’s safety.

Two significant events are taking place these weeks.    Next Sunday, the Salesian world is celebrating the feast of Mary Help of Christians!  Throughout the Salesian world, many prayers have been raised to her during this novena for the safety and protection of our Salesian Family, especially, our young people and those who are poor and most in need.   Here in our country we think of many young people who are poor and struggling, especially, during this pandemic.   This morning I was reading an article of the many young people, some only 10 years of age, who have been deported by our Government’s immigration policies.   Sometimes, I feel helpless in the midst of this suffering but, for sure, it gets me upset to hear and read about the injustices and lack of empathy and compassion during a pandemic like ours.   If we Salesians are unfazed by this, we should reconsider how we Salesians look at the world today.   Don Bosco’s love for poor and needy young people was a concern close to his heart.   He was inspired by God to reach out to those young people most in need, those abused by their bosses at work sites, those paid unjustly for their work, those who did not have a voice.

During this pandemic and unprecedented times, as we celebrate the feast of Mary our help, the helper of all young people, Mother of Don Bosco’s youth, our protectress and guide, let us remember those who are suffering most during this pandemic.   Let us remember the young people of our ministries, those at the border, those who have no voice, and ask our Mother and Teacher, to fill us with the same humble and courageous spirit that she had.   May we surrender to the power of the Holy Spirit and be ready to embody the values of the Gospels and the Salesian way of thinking, living and responding.  May we be signs and bearers of God’s love for the young.

MARY HELP OF CHRISTIANS, PRAY FOR US!   May she continue to bless each and everyone of us!  Let us join the Salesian World and mark this day  in a special way, remembering our young people!

These next few weeks also mark such events as Baccalaureate Masses and Graduation Ceremonies!   A big heartfelt CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR GRADUATES!   Our Graduates will certainly always remember their Senior year or 8th grade year if they are graduating from one of our elementary schools.   Time Magazine’s front cover was titled:  “Generation Pandemic: A Global Crisis Changed their lives.  How They Respond Will Change The World.”   As Graduates commence a new life, the challenges of the future will definitely affect their lives.   I have been impressed how many young people are responding with creativity, hope, faith and determination to move forward to a more glorious future, however that will look.   This Pandemic, which has disrupted more class time, for more students, than almost an other event in U.S.history, has changed the future of our students.   How we confront this together with them, will mean much for all of us.  Other crisis events that have affected young people, have depended on the school and class structure to help students navigate through those traumatic moments.   Now, with our stay at home situation, the dynamics change.    Schools and interaction via technology can still help young people stay grounded.   But, young people have also shown us ways to deal with our situation.   I wish to THANK OUR TEACHERS AND SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS FOR THEIR EFFORTS TO KEEP THEIR STUDENTS ENGAGED .  BUT, I ALSO THANK THE YOUNG FOR THEIR RESILIENCY AND CREATIVITY!   I have trust that all will be well because of the Salesian education and character building we have given our students!   May God continue to bless them, bless our work and bless our families.   May Mary Help of Christians always accompany them now and on their future journeys!

With warm regards and gratitude ,