Dear Salesian Family and Salesian Young People,
Pope Francis, in his Apostolic Letter Patris Corde (“With a Father’s Heart”), has proclaimed the “Year of St. Joseph” from the 8th of December 2020 through the same date in 2021. The Feast of St. Joseph is on the 19th of March and it seemed appropriate that our Province theme for the month is the “fatherliness of St. Joseph” As members of the Salesian Family we can look up to St. Joseph in how we live our Salesian mission.
In the Apostolic Letter Pope Francis speaks of St. Joseph as a beloved, tender and obedient father who accepted Mary unconditionally and offered a love placed at the service of the Messiah who was growing to maturity in his home. We have a founder and mentor, Don Bosco, who is “Father, Teacher and Friend of the Young.” We, too, are called, just like St. Joseph and St.John Bosco, to care for the young by loving them unconditionally and being at their service in their growth to maturity and faith.
“Fathers are not born, but made,” says Pope Francis. “A man does not become a father simply by bringing a child into the world, but by taking up the responsibility to care for that child.” What powerful words on parenting by Pope Francis! To all parents and guardians and to all teachers and ministers in our Province ministries I encourage all to reflect on our call to create environments of hope and trust and to foster dialogue in the many positive and healthy ways we can accompany our young people.
The Pope continues that “he (St. Joseph) knew how to love with extraordinary freedom. He never made himself the center of things. He did not think of himself, but focused instead in the lives of Mary and Jesus.” The Salesian mission is never about us or our institutions. It is about placing young people at the center. It is about helping them find God and find meaning in their lives and about bringing them to a deeper relationship with God and the world around them.
I once again thank you for your attention. I hope and pray that you have a blessed Lenten journey. Advanced Happy Feast of St. Joseph!
Sincerely in Christ and in Mary,