By: Fr. Fabian Cardenas, SDB
Province Delegate for Youth Ministry
Translation by: Miss Marisol Becerra, Fr. Joe Farias, SDB, Fr. Mike Gergen, SDB, Fr. Tom Juarez, SDB
My dear educative-pastoral communities (EPC), receive my most warm greetings, especially my Salesian brothers, the different members of the Salesian Family, and above all, my dear young people:
Our Rector Major, Fr. Angel Fernandez Artime, recently presented to the entire Congregation, the theme and title of the “Strenna,” which will shed light on all our educative-pastoral action throughout the period of 2020-2021.
Moved by Hope: “Behold, I make all things new” (Rev 21: 5)
However, how can we speak of hope when we are so much a part of this reality, so dark and pessimistic, in which we too suffer at world level.
Some countries are totally paralyzed, the number of unemployed growing and unable to do anything, children living in hunger, and the number of people living with depression and the rate of suicide growing exponentially. Also, the continued anguish of having a loved one ill, the uncertainty that comes with it, and the worry of losing someone to this virus.
Without a doubt a huge task of immense proportions lies ahead of us Salesians, bearers and guarantees of the Salesian charism, that charism of joy, through which we proclaim the profound experience of God in the simplicity of daily life.
We cannot forget, the history of humanity has been written in the struggle against adversity, in the epic moments of women and men who were able to make a mark in history, and those men and women who with “eyes of projection”, were able to see the horizon, with a heart able to hunger for new things, with a spirit over-flowing with hope.
It is difficult for us to open our eyes and contemplate the possibility of a better future, it is difficult to see light in the midst of so much darkness. But not impossible. Just like Jesus and Don Bosco, moved by hope, in the respective moments of their history, we too, like true Salesian educators must listen to and support those who today prove able to give new life to history, transform the path of new social realities, and commit themselves to this humanity, which seems to be distressed and helpless.
Let us look at the young people, yes, our youth, for in them you shall find hope.
The hope in a world that is nearer, more human, more just, sharing and bound together! We must re-cognize what the young can do when they work together. A young person aware of his/her gifts and true role in society, in history and, of course within the Church, is unstoppable.
Just look at their impressive achievements, truly remarkable, in this country; for instance, the social movements of the 1960’s, the protests against the various wars, and the civil rights movement, which united a society against social segregation and racism.
We don’t have to go that far; it’s sufficient to examine the solidarity visible in the social movement which unleashed with the unfortunate assassination of George Floyd, and the silent racism that accompanies it. Also, the controversial campaign towards the next presidency that has created a movement of young people that are fighting for justice, along with those generous actions toward the minorities, excluded and defenseless. All the protagonists involved in these movements are the young.
Youth, women and men with creativity, critical thinking and their ability for innovation. Shouldn’t this give us hope?
This is what we today’s Salesian educators must respond to, this is what we must bring life to, give new energy, and support. The ability of the young person today to be moved by the needy and those who suffer, their ability to become aware and commit themselves to reality, are inspiring, they are the reasons for hope.
Today more than ever before we must commit ourselves to the youth, and support them in this period of transition in which we are living. Fr. Angel reminds us that we are called to destroy that culture of pessimism, leave behind the walls that surround us, to follow all the paths that lead ahead. In addition, he reminds us to renounce individualism in favor of the rising culture of empathic solidarity. In conclusion, to move from division to unity, and from indifference to walk in the shoes of others.
Since we are Christian and Salesian women and men, we are profoundly convinced that no one goes to Heaven alone, we must accompany our young people, especially allow ourselves to be accompanied by them in the building of new perspectives and horizons, thus filling our hearts with that hope that lives, moves, and is recreated in those young hearts that hunger for life.
May Mary Help of Christians accompany us in this great challenge to carry and embrace the world with hope.
In Don Bosco: