By Fr. Tom Dunne, SDB
(Ramsey, NJ – November 9) – Twenty Salesian Family leaders from the region of Boston to New Jersey met at Don Bosco Prep High School in Ramsey on November 9. This meeting was called and chaired by Fr. Tim Zak, provincial of the New Rochelle Province.
The groups of the Salesian Family in the Northeast US represented were the Association of Mary Help of Christians (ADMA), Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (Salesian Sisters), FMA Past Pupils, Salesian Cooperators, and Salesians of Don Bosco. They came from Boston (via Internet connection); Haledon, NJ; Hauppauge, NY, Hawthorne, NJ; New Rochelle, NY; Orange, N.J.; Port Chester, NY; Queens, NY; Ramsey; and Stony Point, NY.
These leaders began the meeting by reviewing the Charter of the Charismatic Identity of the Salesian Family of Don Bosco as a dynamic expression of the identity and charism that we share within the Salesian Family. In strengthening our identity in Don Bosco’s charism, we offer a gift to the whole Church. Fr. Zak went over article 46 of the Salesian Family Charter to explain how the 32 autonomous groups of the Salesian Family operate as one communion. Then he went on to explain how each group maintains the unity of the Salesian Family and its own special calling through the operation of Salesian Family councils on the world, provincial, and local levels.
The group that gathered in Ramsey on Saturday morning served as a Salesian Family council for the groups in the Northeast US region. They followed up on the action steps taken by the provincial Salesian Family council on July 1, 2019: to support follow-up strategies for the Forming the Formator Workshop that took place at the end of June; to reach out to all branches of the Salesian Family, and to work on a common Salesian Family regional project.
The project chosen by the Salesian Family leaders of the Northeast was a regional celebration of the feast of Mary Help of Christians on May 23, 2020, at the Marian Shrine in Haverstraw-Stony Point, NY.
The members spent a good part of the meeting brainstorming how this feast could be a truly Marian, Salesian, youthful, and family gathering. The members agreed to form a committee that would work with the local Salesian Family centers, communities, and groups to put together a celebration in which all our family members and others who love our Lady can honor Mary, the Immaculate Help of Christians, our Mother, as Family.
The local communities, centers, and groups should expect to hear from this committee before too long. We look forward to this revitalizing moment in the life of the Salesian Family in the Northeast.