By Fr. Lou Molinelli, SDB, Province Delegate of Youth Ministry
During the past week, juniors from our Salesian Family high schools, along with their youth ministers, young team, and teachers, attended the March Leadership Retreat at the Marian Shrine/Don Bosco Retreat Center in Stony Point, NY. Over 100 family members gathered to reflect on the four movements of the Salesian Oratory: a home that welcomes, a parish that evangelizes, a school that prepares for life, and a playground where young people meet and make friends. These moments for our high school students provide a deepening of their vocational commitment as young Catholic Christians as well as committed members of the Salesian Youth Movement. It is from these experiences that the seeds of a vocation are watered and nurtured. In these moments of encounter, one can see the transformation by grace in the lives of the young. Thank you to those who support these efforts of the province office of youth and young adult ministry as well as those who give them time to accompany our young people through these experiences.
We have been reflecting on the Strenna presentation for 2023 given to us by the Rector Major. Here is the story of one of our Salesian past pupils, Akash Bashir. He is the first Pakistani whose cause for beatification and canonization is in progress. On March 15, 2015, he sacrificed his own life to prevent a suicide bomber from causing a massacre in St. John’s Church in Youhannabad. As he stood before the bomber he said, "I will die, but I will not let you into the Church." Akash was 20 years old. Fr. Ángel points out to us that Akash, like so many young people in our Salesian Family, gives a clear witness to his faith in spite of his circumstances of extreme poverty, social inequality, religious indifference, and discrimination. Akash and many young people in our Salesian Family have found the pearl of great price and are willing to give everything for it.
To give everything because we have found Jesus and his promise of eternal life is the hallmark of every one of us. Is it our lived reality? Do we sometimes sacrifice the promises of Jesus for the promises of our world? Today, let us reconfirm our call to live as witnesses to the kingdom!