Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary
Last week, with a letter published in Salesian News, I announced that we will have a provincial chapter in July 2022. This week, I would like to share with you the themes to be prayerfully studied and discussed, both in the preparation by the SDB communities and the educational pastoral communities and at the chapter itself.
The primary topic for study and discussion in preparation for the provincial chapter will be the implementation of General Chapter 28. All confreres have been provided with the essential documents related to GC28: the Message of Pope Francis to the Participants in the Salesian General Chapter (“Revive the gift you have received: the Valdocco Option”), the post-chapter reflection, “What kind of Salesians for the youth of today?”, and the six-year action program for the Congregation. We could include in this list the report of Fr. Tim Ploch and the letter of the Rector Major at the end of the extraordinary visitation 2019, and documents of Provincial Chapter 2019, which were our reflections in preparation for GC28. These documents are already reflected in our province strategic plan and the province delegates’ annual plans of animation.
During the provincial chapter, we will verify how the six-year action program of the Congregation is becoming part of the life of every SDB community and every Salesian work. In carrying out this analysis, we will emphasize:
- the urgency of the evangelization of young people and their families;
- our missionary zeal to serve youth most in need, and our attention given to immigrants as a real and Salesian way for us to go to the peripheries (cf. Rector Major’s “Letter of Navigation” to the SUE provincial, July 2017); and
- our shared responsibility with lay colleagues for Salesian formation and mission.
In addition to the implementation of GC28, the provincial chapter will also discuss the ongoing reshaping of our works and our province. This is a process being carried out in all the provinces of our region. The Rector Major reminded us after the extraordinary visitation in 2019 that reshaping cannot be identified with opening and closing works, but involves “changing the way Salesian ministry is done in each of our works so that it becomes even more significant.” In other words, reshaping can be seen as a renewal of the Salesian charism in each confrere, in our religious communities, and in our educational pastoral communities. The data being collected from each community will be helpful in seeing trends over time in our works and our province. The interpretation of the data will contribute to discussions on “ideas and criteria for the planning and reorganization of the works of the province” (Reg. 167.3).
During these months of preparation, the various parts of the province handbook will be reviewed by the province delegates and their teams. The revised documents will be presented to all the confreres for their comments before the chapter. The final version will need to be approved by the provincial chapter.
In line with the Congregation’s action program, Proposal Eight, “being educational models of care for the environment and for nature,” and continuing common practice in the province, most documents related to the provincial chapter, including the documents mentioned above, registrations, delegates’ reports, revisions of the province handbook, and contributions from communities and individual confreres, will be shared in digital format. Confreres are encouraged to become more familiar with Google Drive. It would be helpful, but not necessary, if you have a Gmail account.
The days of prayer and planning for the provincial council in 2022 will be Sunday, July 24 through Saturday, July 30, almost immediately after the provincial chapter. We will spend time considering how to integrate and elaborate the priorities and guidelines of PC2022 into the life of the province. We will also see if the province strategic plan, the province SEPP and the province formation plan need to be revised. Last, we will be relying upon your prayers to the Holy Spirit to enlighten and strengthen us.
On this Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, we turn once again to Mary, asking her to intercede for us, for the young and their families, and for the renewal of the Salesian charism in our province.
Fr. Tim Zak