At the Provincial Chapter, the chapter members were invited to consider where they see themselves in five or 10 years. It was a useful point to consider as we clarify the vision for the province and revise the province strategic plan. If not in five or 10 years, where do you see yourself in three years, in 2025?
2025 will be an ordinary Jubilee Year. The theme is "Pilgrims of Hope." The logo has also been chosen. Many of us will remember the Jubilee Year 2000, especially World Youth Day in Rome, and maybe the more recent extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy in 2016. These are moments of grace and renewal, with the opportunity of obtaining a plenary indulgence. A traditional part of a Jubilee Year is the opening of the Jubilee Door through which pilgrims pass, often on their knees, as they seek a closer union with Christ. During the Jubilee of Mercy, the Marian Shrine in Stony Point was designated as a place of pilgrimage, with a Jubilee Door. The confreres made themselves available to welcome pilgrims, pray with them, and celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation. For us Salesians, the 2025 theme echoes the 2021 strenna, "Moved by Hope." On our Salesian coat of arms, the anchor—hope—is the dominant symbol. We see it repeated in the logo for the Jubilee Year 2025. "…we who have taken refuge might be strongly encouraged to hold fast to the hope that lies before us. This we have as an anchor of the soul…" (Hebrews 6:18-19).
2025 will be the conclusion of the National Eucharistic Revival, which began on the feast of Corpus Christi this year and will continue until Pentecost 2025. One of the highlights of this three-year process of renewal will be the National Eucharistic Congress, July 17-21, 2024, in Indianapolis, Indiana. More than 80,000 Catholics of all ages are expected to gather in Indianapolis to reconsecrate their hearts to the source and summit of our faith. Since the Eucharist is so central to our Salesian charism, it feels natural for us to be involved in the Eucharistic Revival in all our Salesian presences. The final stage of the journey is described this way, "Having enkindled a missionary fire in the hearts of the faithful, the Holy Spirit will send us out on mission to share the gift of our Eucharistic Lord as we enter the universal Church’s jubilee year in 2025." We don’t have to wait until then to feel the passion of the Da Mihi Anima Caetera Tolle or invite young people to be missionaries. You can find more information about the Eucharistic Revival on their website.
2025 is also the 150th Anniversary of Salesian Missionaries to Argentina. In fact, this historic event is included in the Action Program for the Salesian Congregation after GC28, Proposal 7.2: The 150th anniversary of Don Bosco’s first missionary expedition to Argentina (that will be in 2025) and the first centennial of the missionary presence in Northeast India (in 2022) will be opportunities to continue our Congregation’s missionary project. The proposal goes on to speak about ministry to migrants and refugees, a reality that is very much part of our province history and our current ministries. Later this year, we will be able to welcome the Rector Major to our Province to celebrate the 125th anniversary of SDBs in New York, and the 75th anniversary of the Salesian Missions, New Rochelle. Recognizing this as a "time of generosity," I urge each confrere and each local work to "strengthen, as much as possible, attention to immigrants. This is not only a prophetic and evangelical sign, but also a real and very Salesian new frontier!" These are the emphatic words of Fr. Ángel in his accompaniment of the new provincial and council in 2017. In light of our discussions at the provincial chapter, we see how relevant the proposal still is.
2025 is when we will have the next Provincial Chapter! The main focus will be on the theme of the General Chapter 29. We can also pause to evaluate and update our province strategic plan. Please pray for the provincial council as we spend this week considering how the provincial chapter we just finished can guide the renewal of the Salesian charism in every confrere and throughout the province.
Fr. Tim Zak