By Fr. Louis Molinelli, SDB, Province Delegate for Youth Ministry
Through this third article in Salesian News, I continue to reflect with all of you on the centrality of the Oratory for our Salesian Youth Ministry. We’re reminded in The Frame of Reference that, ".... the constant reference point is the Valdocco Oratory" (p. 191). It is the Oratory of St. Francis de Sales founded by St. John Bosco that gives us what is necessary for the creation of the Salesian environment. What are the fundamental qualities of an education in a Salesian Oratory model?
- An openness to all young people, especially the poorest and most at risk.
- Personal accompaniment of each young person along the path of growth to a relationship with God.
- An atmosphere of joy and celebration that is created by the educator’s optimistic outlook on life.
- Animation of the young through the active presence of educators.
- Creativity and innovation which transcends routine, indifference, or conformity.
- The sense of duty and responsibility given to all to serve others.
- The value of family and the creation of family in the educative environment.
- An educative environment that is opened to serve the needs of the local community in which it is located, remembering that education comes through diverse programs.
- The creation of an accompaniment model that journeys with young people along the path of vocational discernment and forms them to make the decision and respond to God’s call.
Spending time in Valdocco reawakened me to Don Bosco’s intention in his mission. There at Valdocco, the gates remain open from early morning to late in the evening. Here you find especially young people and young adults going to school or college, exchanging lively discussions in one of the courtyards, playing an animated game of soccer, or gathering in the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians for prayer. Each one of these is an educative moment, because it helps to form the young by creating a home, parish, school, and playground. All of these components are central to the education of young people in the Salesian model of education.
I pray that all of our ministries in our province see themselves as educational centers motivated by the model of Valdocco!