(ANS – Rome – September 10, 2020) – “Young Salesians and accompaniment: Orientations and guidelines.” The first “seed” of reflection that five young Salesians toss to their colleagues and all the Salesians in their three-minute video in five languages for the month of September is to open our eyes to this awareness: there is a large number of young Salesians. It is a charism, a gift, a challenge: how to be and become increasingly more the face of Don Bosco, be close to the millions of young people who are clamoring for such proximity? GC28 encouraged young people to be true and proper protagonists and not just beneficiaries: this is true above all for those thousands of young people who are already Salesians or are about to become Salesians.
From the answers to the questionnaire in which 86% of the young men in initial formation took part, the data that emerged concerned the age and distribution of Salesians, the vast majority being under 30 years old. The Salesians are a religious congregation with a large number of young religious, the most widespread across the six inhabited continents.
It is not a homogeneous distribution in terms of age, if one compares the percentage of Salesians with temporary vows with respect to the total in two regions that are geographically close, but very different by birth. As of December 31, 2018, in the Mediterranean Region, the percentage of SDBs with temporary vows was 4.17%; in the Africa Region, it was 37.35%. These differences between regions and provinces, however, do not diminish the number of young confreres as a whole Congregation, but rather offer clear indications on the new face of the Salesians that is emerging.
72.48% of novices as of December 31, 2019, live in Africa, South Asia, East Asia, and Oceania. 93% of postnovices replied to the 2017 questionnaire on accompaniment. Of this group of young Salesians, 59.4% used English. It is not necessary to be prophets to grasp the signs of the future that give hope and at the same time strongly challenge us, especially for the formative investment to which we are called as a congregation.
John Paul, Anselmo, Marc-Auguste, Chema, and Tommaso ask three questions at the end of the video to stimulate reflection and community sharing. These questions are recorded in the PowerPoint/PDF that is attached to the video itself, where more space is given to the data and links to the pages of the accompanying document whose dissemination is to be promoted (in the 1st chapter in particular):
- How do we cultivate the SENSE OF BELONGING to the Church and to our Salesian Congregation? Are we open to the great HORIZONS that the Church and the Congregation open before us?
- How do we experience INTERNATIONALITY and INTERCULTURALITY? They are perceived as a problem or as a valuable resource?
- How does the DIALOGUE BETWEEN GENERATIONS work within our training community?