On Sunday afternoons, my family would go to visit my maternal grandmother. Most of the time, the kids would go outside to play while the adults sat around the kitchen table, drinking Red Rose Tea and talking. Sometimes we would all watch Bowling for Dollars or Lawrence Welk. Through these ordinary family gatherings, traditions and values were being communicated: a feeling of belonging, gratitude, respect, etc.
This year's World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly is Sunday, July 23. The Pope has chosen as the theme, "His mercy is from age to age." This phrase from the Magnificat reminds us of the encounter of the young Mary with the elderly Elizabeth. "In their embrace, God’s mercy quietly breaks into human history amid abundant joy" (from the Message of Pope Francis for this day). This theme is also connected to the World Youth Day (WYD) theme, "Mary arose and went in haste." This day helps us to create occasions and value joyful and renewed encounters between young and old.
The website of the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life has some good resources, including the Pope’s Message, catechesis, a prayer, and pastoral kit. In his message, the Pope presents a very practical way to celebrate this day: the young people going to World Youth Day visit their grandparents or older family members and ask for their prayers. The elderly spiritually accompany the young people on this pilgrimage. Our older Salesians, those not in full-time active ministry, can sometimes feel cast aside. We can see in them an important connection to our roots, a source of wisdom and encouragement, and guides for life in the Spirit. Let’s put into practice the Pope’s recommendation and facilitate an encounter between our older SDBs and our young people, not only those going to WYD but also our younger SDBs and the young in our Salesian presences.
This week the provincial council is in Tannersville, NY for the days of prayer and planning. We are working together for a smooth transition of leadership. We rely on your prayers, that this process of transition and planning serves the good of the province and those to whom we are sent.
Even though we are in the midst of summer, a time to relax a bit more, next week will be busy.
The 52nd Annual Assembly of the Religious Brothers Conference (RBC) will take place Monday, July 17, through Thursday, July 20, at the LaSalette Retreat Center in Attleboro, MA. Congratulations to Br. Tom Sweeney and Br. Bernie Dube for their contributions to the leadership team of the RBC. Different groups from the province will head to the Holy Land, France, Italy, and Portugal for pilgrimages and World Youth Day.
Young adults from the Salesian Province of Wroclaw will be visiting our province for two weeks, as an experience of volunteering. They will help principally at Camp Echo Bay, New Rochelle. Fr. Lou Molinelli is their host.
The Salesian Lay Missioners will begin their month-long orientation. Our varied summer apostolates continue reaching thousands of young people. Please share short articles with some photos and captions of these great works with Salesian News.
Tomorrow is Fr. Dominic Tran’s birthday (54 years old!). It is also the birthday of Fr. Jan Bernas (93) and Fr. John Thompson (73). We pray that God grant them good health so they can serve the Lord with joy.
Fr. Tim Zak