The 13 Salesian provincials of the Interamerica region met virtually from Sunday, October 18 to Friday, October 23, 2020. Fr. Hugo Orozco, the general councilor for the Interamerica Region, joined in all the sessions from the Salesian headquarters in Rome. The annual gathering of provincials was scheduled to be held in Medellin, Colombia, but because of the coronavirus pandemic, the provincials met using Microsoft Teams. Monday was a day for spiritual renewal and fraternal sharing. Fr. Ángel Fernández joined the meeting on Tuesday, greeting each provincial and then sharing some points about the six-year action plan of the Congregation. Fr. Ivo Coelho led the discussion on formation on Wednesday. Fr. Miguel Angel Garcia led the discussion on youth ministry on Friday. Other topics for discussion included: the Salesian Center for Ongoing Formation in Quito, CRESCO America, the Network of Salesian Schools in America, the Network of Salesian Social Services, the Network of Salesian Centers for Professional Training, and Don Bosco Green Alliance.
Despite the limitations of not being physically present, the provincials were able to reflect together with Fr. Hugo on the priorities of the Congregation and what they mean for the provinces of our region and for our region as a whole. Some of the priorities mentioned were: well-prepared formation teams which include laypeople; dedication to the young most in need; a concern for migrants, refugees, and indigenous peoples; exchange of SDBs between the provinces; being present among poor youth and their families, now more than ever because of the hardships caused by the pandemic; moving forward with hope. The Rector Major acknowledged the problems we all face on every side without giving in to discouragement. Discouragement comes when we say “no” to living the Salesian “sacrament of presence” among the young, especially those in greater need. We remain hopeful as long as we are present among the young. With them and their families, we can see the mighty works God is accomplishing in their lives.
Fr. Tim Zak