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Salesian Spirituality Days

Fr Adrian Bregolin
17 January 2008

Dear brothers and sisters in the Salesian Family,

Along with the Rector Major and his council, the Salesians at the General House and the entire organising team, I would like to offer a warm and fraternal welcome to the “Salesian Spirituality Days” 2008. This year the number of those taking part has reached an extraordinary figure: more than 300 have enrolled, to the point where we had to ask for help from other places besides the Salesianum to accommodate everyone; and in terms of international presence, 25 nations are represented; 18 Salesian Family Groups out of the 23 officially recognised. The largest presence is of the Salesians of Don Bosco, the Salesian Sisters and the Salesian Cooperators. Without doubt, the chance to understand in depth the Rector Major's Strenna has been a happy and welcome choice for participants, along with the way we have chosen to set up these days over recent times. We are happy to see you here in such numbers, and happy that you want to intensely experience our shared Salesian Family.

Last year we had thought of holding this 2008 event in Spain, partly because of the 26th General Chapter which will take place here on 23rd February, but the difficulties we faced convinced us to come back here. The Salesianum from one point of view offers ideal structures and the best opportunity for the Rector Major and others responsible within the Salesian Family to take part.

As always, my invitation to those present is to experience the life of this wonderful gathering intensely and in a brotherly and sisterly spirit; experience these days at the Convention, sensing Don Bosco's own happiness in seeing everyone united here, together in the same spirit and mission on behalf of the young, the poor and the least. What makes our coming together so wonderful is not only the richness of content, but the sharing we can have, and in particular the spirit of communion we can experience amongst us. We represent diverse colours and aspects of the charism which comes from the heart of Don Bosco. We all wish to be a great movement of the Spirit, a great force of love for the good of the young in our time.

The theme given us by means of the Rector Major's Strenna in 2008, is aimed at the heart of our mission: Let us educate with the heart of Don Bosco, to develop to their full potential the lives of young people,
especially the poorest and most disadvantaged, promoting their rights.

These will be days when we can listen to the young and their expectations. We will reflect on the educational response we have been called to give, firstly beginning with the Word of God and then with that extraordinary gift which is Don Bosco's pedagogy. Enlightened by the Strenna text, we will do all this bearing in mind the importance of promoting the rights of children, and the young generally so that their lives may have full potential from a human and spiritual point of view

During 2007 we focused on life. Over the twelve months the Yellow Umbrella has possibly become the most universal of symbols of the Salesian Family. We have come across it in every continent at every latitude. The Strenna this year continues the reflection on life, because educating and promoting life is to make life grow for our young people. And, according to Don Bosco's thinking, it is to get young people to encounter the Lord of life. He who wants to give us life in abundance.

As you can see the proposed theme is a passionate one in its beauty, and it encourages us to reflect, and to do something.

The reflections we will share in the workshops and study seminars should help us select concrete options in our own settings, our schools, oratories and families.

Thank you dear friends for being here; your presence speaks of the joy of belonging to the Salesian Family; your presence speaks of your love for Don Bosco and his 9th Successor, Fr Pascual Chavez Villanueva who will be amongst us to encourage us on the way.

Thanks to all of you. We feel that we are here with Don Bosco who is begging us to have our young people at heart. He is accompanying us today an along our journey through life. He will help us to be effective educators full of life. We ask him for the gift of a great apostolic passion. We ask him that we may intensely live out his motto “Da mihi animas, cetera tolle”.

Rome, 17 January 2008

Fr Adrian Bregolin
Vicar of the Rector Major

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