August 14th, 2020
Memorial of St. Maximilian Kolbe
Dear Confreres, Collaborators, and Salesian Youth Ministers,
Summer greetings from New Rochelle, NY. I hope and pray that this letter finds you all well. The current circumstances of our world have certainly made this summer a most unique one. While it is a sure bet that challenges and difficulties have been plenty, it is certain the opportunities for moments of grace and blessing have been equally if not more numerous. As people of faith, we continue to move forward in the Salesian Mission trusting in God’s Providence with the certainty that He is greater than any challenge, difficulty, and our own limitations. This faith allows us to be grateful for the blessings and fruitfulness of our summer activities, whatever form they took: virtual, in-person with restrictions, or through prayer.
The close of Summer also signals the beginning of another pastoral/academic year, which yet again opens up a path for God’s Grace to continue to work through us in the lives of the young. Here in the Province Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry, we too are making adaptations to the reality before us. Through this letter, I wish to communicate to you many of those changes while providing other information relevant to the pastoral year.
This Fall we are very happy to debut our CYM Portal on the province website! This portal will serve as the main hub for communication, information, resources, and registration for province programs. All CYMs of SDB presences will be set up with log-in credentials and a tutorial will be available soon (Gui Lopes has been hard at work at these for nearly two years!). More details are forthcoming, so stay tuned!
CYM Virtual Meetings:
The very first activity or program organized by the Province Office will be the resumption of our CYM Virtual Meetings. Last year’s program ended on a high note, with tremendous attendance and participation. These sessions are wonderful moments for us to come together as Province community for formation, information, discussion, and sharing. The groups have been updated and readjusted slightly to reflect any personnel shifts (i.e. new CYMs) or to include some members of the local Youth Ministry Team. All SDB directors have been reminded of the importance of these meetings as well as the expectation of regular attendance and active participation. CLICK HERE to find the revised schedule and CLICK HERE to find the groups for 2020-21. Be on the lookout for Amy Marinaro’s email with more information!
Annual CYM Meetings:
Thanks to the gift of modern technology (and, of course, God’s Grace), we will still be conducting our annual Coordinators of Youth Ministry Meetings. The meetings will be entirely virtual with an appropriately adapted schedule, but the dates remain the same: Monday, October 26th through Wednesday, 28th. The letter with the meeting details and registration information will be sent out in a few weeks.
Salesian Leadership Retreats:
As we are all too well aware, the Coronavirus pandemic has led to the postponement or cancellation of myriad events. Unfortunately, the SLR in October and January are necessarily included in that list. Only time will tell when we can resume the SLRs, but we are hoping and praying that we can do so in the New Year. Vicky Weekley will remain in communication with you as circumstances develop.
National Conference on Catholic Youth Ministry (NCCYM):
The biennial NCCYM sponsored by the National Federation of Catholic Youth Ministry (NFCYM) has been cancelled due to the risk associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. While the absence of this year’s conference will certainly be felt, the NFCYM continues to offer a wealth of resources that can enrich our local ministries. I strongly encourage you to avail yourselves of these resources to strengthen your local Youth Ministry Teams and further enhance your ministry to the young (https://nfcym.org).
2020-2021 OYM Calendar:
CLICK HERE to find the list of province programs and corresponding dates for your reference and convenience. However, this list will soon be unnecessary once you are all logged onto the CYM Portal (shameless plug!). In all seriousness, and as with all things during this pandemic, the list is what we genuinely hope for, but remains very much subject to change as conditions dictate.
I wish to conclude this letter with a quote from St. Paul’s Letter to the Philippians:
“Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests know to God,” (Philippians 4:6).
Let us continue to be courageous and hopeful in our mission to the young, united in prayer and the gift of the Salesian charism. Be assured always of my prayers for you and your ministries at the beginning of this new pastoral year, and my deep appreciation for all that you do for the sake of the young. Stay safe and healthy. God bless, protect, and keep you always.