Message of the Provincial | Jan. 28, 2021

St. John Bosco

Dear Confreres,

Happy Feast of St. John Bosco!

The Apostolate of Accompaniment

When Salesians hear the word “apostolate,” we almost immediately think of the specific work we perform: teaching, pastoral ministry in a parish, supervising in the youth center, running summer camp, etc. This perspective reflects our pragmatism and a practical work ethic. I wonder if it was the same with Don Bosco at the Oratory? As the early Salesians learned from Don Bosco on how to educate and evangelize, were they as focused on the task to be accomplished, or did they learn something more from the Father and Teacher of Youth? My guess is they absorbed a style of relating more than skills for a job. In recent documents from the Church and especially from the Congregation, we read a lot about “accompaniment.” We are even beginning to feel more comfortable with the term in our province. I think this is a good sign that the experience of Valdocco is being shared in our apostolate as less by completing a task and more by the way we relate. Years after graduation or Confirmation, those in our apostolates will remember the way we treated them more than the specific lessons we taught them.

Of course, this doesn’t mean we lower our standards of education or cancel youth center activities so we can all just sit around and relax. It means we, like Don Bosco, feel the urgency of the Kingdom to accompany the young, our colleagues, and our confreres on the journey of faith. So, with typical Salesian zeal and generosity that we show in any apostolate, we engage in the apostolate of accompaniment. I’m certain we will soon see the fruits of this good work.

In Salesian circles, the apostolate of accompaniment has become further a process of formation. Besides the “Seeds of Accompaniment” videos that the Congregation has been producing, Fr. Steve Ryan is working with our own men in initial formation on a series of videos about the same topic. The first in the series is an interview with Br. Rafael Vargas, sharing his ideas on Salesian accompaniment, linked here. Both the videos from the Congregation and the province are great resources for our SDB communities to use in community meetings or youth ministry teams. The “Seeds of Accompaniment” are available on ANS’s YouTube channel.

National Prayer Vigil for Life

The National Prayer Vigil for Life will be virtual this year. It will begin with a live broadcast at 8:00 PM EST on Thursday, January 28 from the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC (www.nationalshrine.org) with a Rosary, followed by Mass. The principal celebrant and homilist for the opening Mass will be Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities for the USCCB. After the Mass and throughout the night, holy hours led by bishops from various dioceses around the country will be broadcast on the USCCB’s website (www.usccb.org). The vigil concludes at 8:00 AM EST on Friday, January 29, with Mass celebrated by Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, MD.

Pro-Life Youth Rally

The Youth Rally and Mass for Life organized by the Archdiocese of Washington, DC will be held virtually on Friday, January 29. It will offer live streaming on the website youthrallyandmassforlife.org, beginning at 8:00 AM EST. The Youth Rally will officially begin at 8:30 AM EST. At 10:00 AM EST, there will be Mass with Cardinal Wilton Gregory, live from the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle.

Happy Birthday to Br. Gérard Richard, who will turn 98 on January 30.

Happy Birthday to Fr. John Blanco, who will also turn 91 on January 30.

Once again, Happy Feast of our Father and Founder, St. John Bosco!

Fr. Tim Zak, SDB

January 28, 2021 - 2:06pm

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