Presence & Accompaniment Through Salesian Educative-Pastoral Resources

By Fr. Alejandro Rodriguez, SDB

During his time, Don Bosco took full  advantage of the use of communication tools within his reach to do the greatest  possible good for the Church and for young  people in particular. Let us recall that  Don Bosco committed himself to a lot of  writing, which included: numerous letters  to benefactors and members of the Salesian  Family, several volumes on the history of  the Church, biographies of his Oratorians  as holy models to imitate, his Memoirs, our  Constitutions, etc. 

I was reminded of this special gift and  commitment of Don Bosco while I was participating in our Salesian booth setup for  Religious Education Congress in Anaheim  last February. This would be my second  time participating. 

While serving in our Salesian booth,  I encountered hundreds of people of  different ages, ministries, parishes, and  countries asking for printed or digital  material resources that would help them  to continue their formation—to be able to  respond to the challenges of working with  and for young people. The booth visitors  wanted to learn more about how to engage  more with young people in celebrations,  Sacraments, and parish youth groups. 

Many requests went beyond material  resources, they asked for our Salesian  presence, even if it was only to preach or  lead a deeper discussion with the young  people at their parishes. Some booth  visitors asked for the closest Salesian parish  

or center from where they live with hope of  meeting us and learning from us even more  about young people and their education  in the faith. Throughout the three days  of Religious Education Congress at our  Salesian booth, this desire for the Salesians  to accompany educators, ministers, young  people, families, and entire communities  became increasingly constant and clear. 

This urgent need for formation to  accompany our young people has made me  think that perhaps God is calling us—to  respond, as a pastoral service, to produce  materials that are easily accessible and  agile to read on issues of education in the  faith. 

Perhaps today, the urgent need to be leaven  in the midst of our sisters and brothers is a  call to strengthen the distribution networks  of our Salesian educational materials that we  have from throughout the world and make  them more accessible in various languages  and formats for various audiences. 

Our patron Saint Francis de Sales printed  resources to evangelize. The impact of a piece of writing, digital or on paper, is as  great as a beautiful Sunday homily or a  classroom lesson, although the audience  can be exponentially much larger than just  our parishioners and or students. Being  yeast, being salt, being light to the world…  for us Salesians, the challenge is first  “wanting to be” and then “doing whatever  is necessary” to lead us to becoming who  it is, what it is that God is calling us to be.  Are we as Salesians ready to put pen to  paper or fingers to keyboards to share the  Salesian educative-pastoral Good News?  Together, let’s give it a try!