Provincial Letter May 29th, 2020

Dear Salesian sisters and brothers,

As Covid-19 restrictions ease up in many places, I pray that God and his Mother, Mary, keep us all safe and vigilant.    We are not out of the woods yet and many might feel that we are getting back to normal.   While all of us are anxious to return to some normalcy and visit with one another or perform pre-covid-19 activities , we must be cautious and stay safe.

Fr. Chinh Nguyen continues to recuperate well after his stroke some weeks ago.  He has been released from Huntington Rehab in Pasadena and is now resting with his family in Modesto.   After two weeks he wants to return to Don Bosco Tech or to the Bellflower community depending on his progress.  He still needs therapy and more time for recuperation.   So, please continue to keep him in your prayers.  He has progressed quite well but these next few months are critical for his complete recovery.

The Provincial Council and the delegates of the province continue to meet regularly.   While personal interaction is important and, hopefully, face to face meetings will continue to be part of our future gatherings and planning, I must say that these zoom meetings also seem to work well.   There is less travel and expense (no one has to supply a meal or snacks for everyone present) and meetings seem to be streamlined to use our time well.  It has been a good way to stay connected during this pandemic.

Again, I wish to THANK and CONGRATULATE  our schools and parishes for their dedication and creativity.  Some of our schools have already held some type of graduation ceremony or service.   The creativity of faculty and staff (and, kids) has been admirable.   They have tried to honor those graduating with special remembrances and gestures of kindness!   To all of our Graduates, a BIG THANK YOU AND CONGRATULATIONS!   MAY GOD BLESS AND GUIDE YOUR EVERY STEP INTO THE FUTURE!  MAY MARY HELP OF CHRISTIANS KEEP YOU SAFE AND LEAD YOU INTO A BRIGHT AND HOPEFUL FUTURE!

As we wind down the school year, a year without all the regular youth oriented activities and youth noise, I am reminded of what Pope Francis wrote to the Chapter 28 members.   Pope Francis had planned to have come to Turin (Valdocco) and stay an afternoon and overnight with us.   But, then, Covid-19 came.   But, the Pope did send the text of what he was going to present to us in the form of a Goodnight.  Realizing that after several decades the Chapter was being hosted in Valdocco rather than Rome and realizing that Valdocco was where Don Bosco’s foundational dream became a reality and a place where today a lot of youth oriented activities still take place, he wrote:

“I am sure that the youthful noise and chattering of the Oratories will be the best music, the most effective one for the working of the Spirit who is going to rejuvenate the charismatic gift of your Founder.   Do not close the windows to this background noise… Let it be your companion and let it keep you alert, perhaps uneasy, and courageous in your discernment;  allow these voices and songs, in turn, to recall within you the faces of many other young people who, for various reasons, find themselves like sheep without a shepherd.  This youthful shouting and this anxiety will keep you alert and awake against any type of self-imposed anesthesia and will help you to remain faithful in a creative way to your Salesian identity.”

Beautiful words as we miss the background noise of our young people!  Someday soon that music and background noise will return.  In the meantime, we trust, pray for our young people and find creative ways to be faithful to our Salesian identity.   Have courage and do not be afraid!

May this Sunday’s feast of Pentecost be a moment of grace of being renewed by the Holy Spirit.  It is a day we celebrate the birth of the Church.  It is a day we honor and reaffirm the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives.   I am reminded today of the feast of St. Paul VI and our Salesian martyr, Blessed Joseph Kowalski who died in the concentration camp of Auschwitz.   Both Paul VI and Jospeh Kowalski were great examples of witness to the faith and strength to their brothers by the witness of their lives.   May the Holy Spirit give us the courage and strength to open our hearts to the many manifestations of God’s unconditional love for the young and the dream to which we have been called so that we might be a light and comfort of the friendship with Jesus Christ to the young and to each other!


With warm regards and gratitude,