I wish you all a very Happy New Year, one filled with hope and holiness. January is not only the beginning of the new year, but it is also the Month of Don Bosco. I’m sure every Salesian presence already has some special activities being planned, maybe connected with Spirit Week or Catholic Schools Week. Here I will highlight some of the ways we can keep the spirit of Don Bosco vibrant in our communities and works.
The Province Vocation Office is preparing a resource for the Don Bosco Novena. It can be adapted for use on social media. Please share it with all the groups of the Salesian Family associated with your local Salesian Presence. In this way, we will be united in prayer and grow together in the charism.
The Salesian Family Spirituality Days are virtual this year. This format allows for greater participation. The days and most of the program are set for January 15, 16, and 17. You can find the latest information at www.donboscosalesianportal.org. Please register and extend the invitation to all the members of the Salesian Family. I recognize that not everyone will be able to join in because of the time differences or previous commitments. The resources will be available for our on-going reflection on the Strenna and for the preparation of local Salesian Family Days later in the year. Besides the information on the Salesian Family Spirituality Days, on the Don Bosco Salesian Portal, you will find the commentary on the Strenna in American English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian (other languages are available at www.sdb.org). There is also an interview with the Rector Major about the theme for the year. I encourage all the confreres to watch it. Thanks to Fr. Mike for preparing the American English text, and thanks to Fr. Tom, Sr. Denise, Pierre Laroque, and the other members of the team for keeping the information up-to-date.
Next week the candidates and prenovices will be on retreat. Please keep them in your prayers. I am always encouraged when I visit the communities to see the vocation posters on the community bulletin boards and the weekly vocation intention included in morning prayer or evening prayer. It’s great to see how many confreres include these prayer intentions in their social media posts. During this new year, let us continue these best practices and be bold in accompanying young adults to discover God’s call in their lives.
This year, the Congregation is giving attention to Fr. Paul Albera. I have asked Fr. Mike Mendl to do some research on the contents of our archives regarding Fr. Albera. He has already prepared a brief biography and edited some of Albera’s letters. If anyone would like a copy of the letters, Fr. Mike can send it to you. We look forward to knowing more about Don Bosco’s second successor and his relationship to our province. Thanks for all this great work, Fr. Mike.
Congratulations to the team at Don Bosco Community Center, Port Chester, NY for their continued service to those in need. You can see more about this work in this short video, available in English and Español. Additionally, it’s not too late to send Fr. Dave Moreno media coverage of your local Salesian work during the coronavirus pandemic. He will forward it to the central offices in Rome.
We have all learned the importance of flexibility during this pandemic. I inform you of another change of dates: The Fall Leadership Meeting for 2021, originally scheduled for September 23-25, will be October 28-29. In addition, the Jubilee celebration will be on October 30.
On Sunday, we celebrate the Baptism of the Lord. Our formula for religious profession begins, “God my Father, you consecrated me to yourself on the day of my baptism.” May we renew our religious profession as the concrete means of living our baptismal consecration and be joyful witnesses of God’s love to the young.
Fr. Tim Zak