This Sunday, September 27, is the 106th World Day of Migrants and Refugees. This day reminds us of our history as a Province, when 123 years ago, Salesians of Don came to the United States to minister to immigrants. We have been true to these missionary roots and now offer pastoral ministry not only in Italian, but also in Creole, Filipino, French, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Slovenian, Spanish, Tamil, and Vietnamese. After so many years, the challenge remains to recognize in the face of migrants and refugees the face of Christ who pleads with us to help. The GC28 post-chapter reflection includes this process to be put in place:
In reshaping presences, let Provinces provide for communities with Salesians that can welcome children and young people in difficulty (migrants, refugees, street children, etc.), to offer them opportunities for study, job training, and integration into the world of work.
This challenge is not something new for us, but it is something that needs to be renewed in us.
I was struck by this part of the Message of Pope Francis for the 2020 World Day of Migrants and Refugees, “You have to know in order to understand…When we talk about migrants and displaced persons, all too often we stop at statistics. But it is not about statistics, it is about real people! If we encounter them, we will get to know more about them. And knowing their stories, we will be able to understand them.”
Our history, of which we can be proud, and our current ministry, which presents us with apostolic challenges, motivates us to know migrants and refugees, to be close to them, to listen to them, and to share life with them. To know the immigrant as a person, not as a problem; to listen to his or her story, not see a statistic; to understand their struggles, especially during this time of the pandemic. In this issue of Salesian News, we have included some stories of migrants and refugees so we can better understand them and further our Salesian mission, as presented in GC28. You can find educational resources for World Day of Migrants and Refugees at https://catholicrefugeesponsors.com and www.justiceforimmigrants.org.
Did you notice the number on this edition of Salesian News? It is the 100th edition! This publication began as Service, then became E-Service, and was reborn as Salesian News nearly three years ago. It continues to evolve as an effective means of communication for the SDBs of the SUE province. Thanks to the many people who have contributed over the years to any version of this publication. Please continue to share what is happening in your religious community and apostolic work.
Back in April, I sent out to all the confreres a list of our Salesian presences with their various means of communication through social media (website, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, etc.). Now we are looking to extend the list to include the social media of the groups of the Salesian Family. Could you check with the FMA, Cooperators, ADMA, Past Pupils, Damas, VDBs, etc. to see if they use any of these means for public communication (not personal accounts or internal communication)? This information can be sent to Julia St. Clair at [email protected].
Congratulations to all our jubilarians. We realize that many are not able to join the celebration in person in Stony Point. Please join us for the live-stream Mass, which will be on the DMACT Ministries Facebook page and on www.dmact.net/live at 9:45 AM EST.
Fr. Tim Zak