By Fr. Lou Molinelli, SDB, Province Delegate of Youth Ministry
As we continue to reflect on the Rector Major’s Commentary in the Strenna for 2023, he reminds us of a very foundational principle of our Salesian Family, going back to the beginnings of the work for the young by Don Bosco. He tells us, "... we are called as a Family to give of ourselves and to complete each other."
When you consider the makeup of the Salesian Family, the majority of the members are lay people who come from a vast array of countries and cultures over all continents. This richness of our Family can be seen by all in the interconnectedness we share through our interpersonal dialogues, whether they be in physical presence and/or virtual. The Salesian charism continues to unfold over the years, opening up new possibilities and challenges given to us by the Holy Spirit. Part of our charism is the generation of zeal and enthusiasm among all for the gift of our Salesian spirituality and the Preventive System as a way of life. When you see the video on the Strenna (www.sdb.org), you experience the unity in our diversity. I invite you all to view this video. Our unity as a family is to bring glory to God and to be signs and bearers of God’s love for the young.
For those of us in the Salesian Family who live as consecrated members, the Rector Major calls us to be "...leaven in the dough of the bread of humanity." We are enriched by the evangelical secularity of all in the Salesian Family which our lay people live with such dedication and joy. In fact, Fr. Ángel reminds us that from our beginnings in the first Oratory, those who ministered there were a mix of consecrated and lay people. Thus, "secularity is in our DNA." The sharing of life together in different states of life enriches our charism and sets a great example for our young people of a single focus of ministry for the young.
For me, these brief paragraphs in the commentary are very critical to how we embrace the strenna this coming year. We must be grounded in faith and in the belief that God has called us to be members of this Family into whatever state of life God calls us. We need to have profound respect, admiration, and love for each other in our Salesian Family. Of course, there are different roles to play given our state in life. No role is better than another. Everyone contributes and lives the charism as God calls them. This creates an intricate and beautiful tapestry that gives the world a vision of God’s love. As Salesian Family, we need to honor this, accept it with zeal, and work together to bring the unity of our family into focus for the good of the young. May we see each member of our Salesian Family as precious and beautiful.