Simple But Meaningful Practices

Message of the Provincial 06.08.23

Dear Confreres,

We are familiar with the story Don Bosco tells about Dominic Savio missing breakfast, classes, and lunch because he was enraptured in prayer, "his gaze was fixed immovably on the tabernacle" (Life of the Young Dominic Savio, Chapter 20). I’m sure some confreres have been to the Chapel of St. Francis de Sales in Valdocco to see where this remarkable incident took place. Less familiar but worth noting is how Don Bosco also presented Louis Comollo, Michele Magone, and Francisco Besucco as models of devotion to the Eucharist. Don Bosco was guiding all the young people to have the same sentiments of Savio, whom Don Bosco heard praying, again before the tabernacle in the Chapel of St. Francis de Sales, "Yes, my God, I have already said it and I say it again: I love you and I wish to go on loving you till my last breath."

Besides making known to the young people of the Oratory the love for Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament that Comollo, Savio, Magone, and Besucco all felt, Don Bosco also organized the Blessed Sacrament Sodality which trained altar servers and helped the young people at the Oratory to live a Eucharistic spirituality. The group had its own set of rules: foster Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament; attend functions related to the worship of the Eucharist; help those preparing for First Holy Communion; attend a weekly conference about the Eucharist, etc.

To all the young people at the Oratory, Don Bosco recommended simple but meaningful practices, which are still relevant today.

  • Don’t talk or yawn during Mass, come on time, don’t run up to Communion, don’t be looking at everyone else going to Communion, and don’t lie down on the benches in the chapel.
  • Prepare yourself spiritually to receive Holy Communion.
  • Spend time after Communion in thanksgiving and meditation.
  • Receive Communion and Confession frequently.
  • Stop in the chapel during the day for a brief visit to the Blessed Sacrament and make a spiritual Communion.
  • Invite friends to join you in making a visit to the chapel.
  • Actively participate in special devotions to the Eucharist, for example, Holy Hours and Benediction, Eucharistic processions and vigils, and 40 Hours Devotions.
  • Offer to accompany the priest in bringing Holy Communion to the sick or dying.

This Sunday, June 11, is the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi). The Church in the USA enters the next phase of the National Eucharistic Revival, now focused on the local level. This second phase intends to foster Eucharistic devotion by strengthening our liturgical life through the faithful celebration of the Mass, Eucharistic Adoration, missions, resources, preaching, and organic movements of the Holy Spirit. In many Salesian works, this means just doing what we are already doing. At the same time, I would suggest a few points for us to think about:

  • Share what you are doing with the Diocese, especially special events like processions, pilgrimages, retreats, missions/Encuentros, etc. (Also send news and photos to Salesian News.)
  • Prepare adolescents and young adults to be leaders in the ordinary ways of staying close to Jesus in the Eucharist and the special events.
  • Express appreciation for the dedicated colleagues who are involved in all the activities related to the Eucharist in the local Salesian work.

Keep in view the third year of the National Eucharistic Revival, the year of going out on mission. It coincides with the 150th anniversary of the Salesian missionary expedition to South America. This year, 2023-2024 is the year to form missionary leaders who will be ready to accompany groups of missionaries into the homes, neighborhoods, and even other countries.

I am sending you a Holy Hour Against Racism. I encourage you to use it with the young and their families and with our colleagues. You can also find it on the website for the National Eucharistic Revival. May the grace of communion that we receive when we celebrate the Eucharist be a living reality in our religious communities and educational pastoral communities.

Our annual retreats have begun. This time set aside for renewing our life in Christ is indeed a blessing for us all.

Fr. Tim Zak

June 8, 2023 - 8:00am

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