Provincial Letter July 18th, 2020

Dear Salesian sisters and brothers,

I just returned from Southern California, where I visited our communities and made my way back to the Provincial House in San Francisco, stopping in Watsonville for the night.   Thanks again to everyone’s hospitality.   And, a big “Thank You” to everyone for their joyful witness of Salesian life even in the midst of these confusing times of Covid-19.    Things change so fast and everyone has to be flexible and patient as we adapt to changes.  Constitution 19 of our Salesian Constitutions, in describing the Salesian Spirit which applies to all the Salesian Family, gives this characteristic:

The Salesian is called to be a realist and to be attentive to the signs of the times, convinced that the Lord manifests his will also through the demands of time and place.

Hence his spirit of initiative and apostolic creativity:  “In those things which are for the benefit of young people in danger or which serve to win souls for God, I push ahead even to the extent of recklessness.” (Don Bosco).

Timely response to these needs requires him to keep abreast of new trends and meet them with the well-balanced creativity of the Founder;  periodically he evaluates his work.”

As I speak with different members of the Salesian Family, whether Salesian sisters, Cooperators, administers in our schools, parishes and clubs and others, I hear them mention some creative ways to keep in touch with the young, ways to move forward with realism, hope and courage.   THANK YOU to all for your hard work and initiatives.

While in Bellflower, I was able to interact with communities and speak individually with some SDBs.  I also spoke with members of St. John Bosco’s administration and had a long chat with Fr. Mel Trinidad, our next provincial.   Both Fr. Mel and myself are in the process of making our transition to the next phase of our lives as Salesians.   Because of the changes in Covid-19 protocol, which seem to change often, we decided to have Fr. Mel’s installation as provincial, at St. John Bosco High School’s quad, at 7pm on July 30, 2020.  It will be lived-stream for those wishing to follow through social media.    Unfortunately, because of Covid-19 it was decided that only the professed SDBs and those in our formation and Fr. Mel’s family would attend with no reception afterwards.   We felt we could not maintain a proper safety protocol if too many people attended at this time.   Also, our new regional, Fr. Hugo Orozco, will not be able to attend.   We hope to have a bigger welcoming celebration later in the Fall, if conditions permit.   Please continue to keep Fr. Mel in your prayers as he assumes this new responsibility of service.   As mentioned before, Fr. Mel brings many wonderful gifts and while a little nervous, he is excited to help move the Province forward.   Please also pray for me as I move on to a new phase in my life and assume the role of service as Director.   I too am a bit nervous but excited to continue our Salesian mission in Bellflower.   Technically, Fr. Mel becomes the provincial of the Western Province on the day of his installation.   Fr Mel will move to the provincial house very soon after that.   I will join him for a few day in order to help him make the transition more smoothly.

The Provincial Council and the delegates of the province met for a zoom meeting on Wednesday, July 15th.   We met for two and a half hours as we discussed our Province Organic Plan and ways to better implement and evaluate it.  I felt it was a very good meeting with great discussion.  This new way of meeting with the provincial council and delegates takes a lot of patience as we figure out how best to work together.  I believe that this recommendation by our last provincial chapter was an excellent idea and proposal but it takes a lot of dialogue and process and it takes the united effort of wanting to work as a team.  Again in our Constitutions (Const. 5), in reference to the Salesian Family, we read:

Within this family, by the will of the Founder, we have particular responsibilities:  to preserve unity of spirit and to foster dialogue and fraternal collaboration for our mutual enrichment and greater Apostolic effectiveness.” 

Let us continue to pray for each other.  May our work and efforts bear much fruit and help us be signs and bearers of God’s love for the young and each other.  Keep safe and enjoy the rest of your summer!

With warm regards and gratitude,