The Salesian Oratory

SYM Corner 03.31.2022

By Fr. Louis Molinelli, SDB Province Delegate for Youth Ministry

The Salesian Youth Ministry Frame of Reference reminds us that the Oratory of St. Francis de Sales was the first apostolate established by Don Bosco. Thus, it is the source of inspiration for all of our other ministries. Don Bosco founded the Oratory as a response to the needs of the youth and young adults of the area, especially those who were most in need in Turin, Italy. What kind of activities did the Oratory offer? It offered healthy recreation, evangelization and catechesis, an elementary education, and employable life skills.

If you think about it, all Salesian ministries are an Oratory at their foundation. It is the foundation of our apostolic works. Whether we are ministering in a school, youth center, parish, retreat center, or other apostolates, we are striving to create Valdocco—the Oratory of St. Francis de Sales—in our contemporary circumstances and surroundings. The engine which keeps the Oratory in our individual ministries "humming" is found in the spirituality and methodology of the Preventive System, our four-pronged program of reason, religion, loving-kindness, and active presence among the young.

The foundational Oratory spirit experiences the life of our youth and young adults. As the Salesian Youth Ministry Frame of Reference tells us, "... it shares their [young people’s] worries, their problems, and expectations, and opens up spaces where it can be with them and engage itself in their world" (p.188). The Salesian ministry, modeled on Valdocco, is managed in a flexible and creative way. It is able to adapt to each apostolate for the young with an understanding of the diversity of each situation and the spontaneity that is common in all Salesian works.

Think about your "Oratory" where you minister. What is it that keeps the Salesian engines humming? May the Lord continue to be the fuel which enables us to carry out our ministry!

March 31, 2022 - 8:00am
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