Last week, about 60 confreres in the province were on retreat, either in Stony Point or Tampa. The preacher in Tampa was Fr. Henry Bonetti, while the preacher in Stony Point was Fr. Joseph Thannickal (from the Kolkata Province, now working in Berkeley, CA). For me, it was a great experience for several reasons. After 15 months of province programs being canceled or becoming virtual, the confreres were able to be together in person. Although we followed the protocols, we were able to enjoy each other’s company and strengthen our fraternity. The fundamental message of Fr. Joe T. in Stony Point was living a transcendent life and dedicating oneself in love to another or responding selflessly to the call to service. We remember the words of Don Bosco that are on the perpetual profession cross, “Strive to make yourself loved.” In today’s world, as it was in the time of Don Bosco, it’s important to witness a transcendent love, flowing from Christ and leading others to encounter Christ. Another important moment during the retreat was the visit to the Salesian Cemetery in Goshen. At both Mass and the cemetery, we prayed for our deceased confreres, especially those who have died during the pandemic. May the retreats bear much fruit in our lives and in our mission to the young.
Some of our Salesian presences have already begun their summer apostolates. Others will begin the first week of July. As with the retreat, it’s good to be in person again, while respecting the safety protocols. Many of our summer programs run with two objectives:
- To give the children healthy recreation and creative evangelization during the summer.
- To train young leaders.
Many of the camp counselors are young adults who had been campers, returning year after year because they feel welcome. Let’s not just welcome them back for another camp season as counselors. Please offer these young adults some meaningful accompaniment, really forming them as leaders, and helping them be attentive to the call of Jesus to follow Him. During the staff training sessions, some of our Salesian presences are using the resource Walking Side by Side: the Salesian Journey of Faith with Young Adults, developed by the province youth ministry office. This would also be a useful resource for young adults who have returned home from college for the summer and would like to stay connected to the Salesians, their friends, and their faith.
Br. Joshua Sciullo has already returned from Jerusalem to the province. Deacons Craig, Steve, and Lenny will return on Saturday. We welcome them home. What a privilege it is for the province that Lenny and Steve will be ordained Salesian priests, and Br. Ky a Salesian deacon, on Saturday, June 26 at St. John Bosco Parish, Port Chester, NY. And Craig will be ordained a Salesian priest on Saturday, July 31 at St. John Bosco Parish, Harvey, LA. Please support our brothers with your prayers and make every effort to be present at the ordinations. Br. Travis Gunther will spend the summer in Spain and continue his studies in Barcelona for another year. We ask him to remember us this summer as he walks part of the Camino de Santiago de Compostella.
Because of the pandemic, we could not have Province Day in person for two years now. Still, we want to find times to be together as brothers, either locally or with the Salesians from neighboring communities. July 1 (Canada Day) and July 4 (Independence Day) enable us to relax and pray together, strengthening the bonds of brotherhood. You are all invited to a cookout at the Provincial House in New Rochelle at 4:00 pm ET on Sunday, July 4. Please respond to Fr. Dave Moreno [email protected].
During these summer months, please share some short articles and photos of your youth apostolates with Salesian News. We look forward to seeing how the creative Salesian spirit moves us to serve the young, both in-person and online.
In Don Bosco, the father, teacher, and friend of the young,
Fr. Tim Zak