During these past few weeks, most confreres from the SUE Province celebrated their anniversary of religious profession. We turn our gaze to Mary, whom Pope Francis invoked as "the woman of listening,...the woman of decision,...the woman of action,..." (May 31, 2013), that we, too, may journey together with the vast Salesian movement in the Church, giving joyful witness to our Salesian vocation.
We have heard the expression that we make our religious profession as members of an international Congregation. We live and minister in local communities, which "are a living part of the provincial community" (Const. 58). Still, we profess as Salesians of Don Bosco, ever open to deepen our sense of belonging to a worldwide community.
Province leaders have unique opportunities to express our belonging to the world community of the Salesians of Don Bosco by participating in gatherings held by departments/sectors in the region and sometimes at the world level. Here are some examples:
- The meeting of province delegates of formation and province delegates of communication from the Interamerica and America South Cone regions, in Sao Paolo, Brazil, Tuesday, September 6, through Saturday, September 10. Fr. Dominic Tran will participate.
- The Change Conference for province treasurers, directors of mission offices, and planning and development offices, at the UPS in Rome, Sunday, September 18, through Saturday, September 24. Fr. Mike Conway, Fr. Gus Baek, and Fr. Thomas Pallithanam will participate. The International Meeting of Salesian Social Works, in Turin, Monday, September 26, through Sunday, October 2. Fr. Lou Molinelli, Br. Rafael Vargas, and Fr. Thomas Pallithanam will participate.
- The meeting of province delegates of youth ministry and province delegates of mission animation for the Interamerica region in Amatitán, Mexico, Saturday, October 15, through Friday, October 21. Fr. Lou Molinelli and Fr. Sean McEwen will participate.
- The meeting of provincials of the Interamerica region in Lima, Peru, Tuesday, October 18, through Saturday, October 22. I will participate.
- The meeting of Salesian Schools of America (ESA).
When a Salesian is given the obedience to serve as a province delegate or in some other leadership role, sometimes he is invited to participate in international formation programs, for example, "provincial school" or "youth ministers school." Most recently, these programs have been held in Turin. Since the pandemic, sometimes they are virtual. These experiences also strengthen the sense of belonging to the worldwide Salesian Society.
As you can expect, these meetings are rich experiences of the internationality of the Congregation. Participants become aware of the diverse cultural, social, political, economic, and religious settings of the Salesian mission. We find ways to overcome barriers and differences. The regional meetings are conducted mostly in Spanish, sometimes in Italian, occasionally in English. Even with all the differences, we can feel the fraternity and commitment to a common mission.
Please join me in thanking the provincial council and province delegates who represent us at these international gatherings. They help us all understand that our religious profession incorporates us into the Salesian Society, and we are disposed to give our service to this world community (Const. 59).
Fr. Tim Zak