(ANS – Vatican City – September 24) – Bishop Raul Biord Castillo, SDB, of La Guaira, Venezuela, recently defined the Synod of Bishops that will open on October 3 on the theme “Youth, faith, and vocational discernment” as “a synod with a Salesian flavor.” In fact, we cannot but agree: both because the chosen theme obviously concerns the pastoral accompaniment of the young, that is, the very roots of the Salesian charism; and for the broad representation of Salesians who will participate in the meeting, as many as 16, in various ways included in an ecclesial assembly of great importance.
Among the synodal Fathers we should mention first of all the Rector Major. Fr. Angel Fernandez Artime was elected by the Union of Superiors General.
Two Salesian participants were appointed to special responsibilities directly by the Holy Father, Card. Charles Maung Bo, archbishop of Rangoon, Burma, who will be one of the four delegate presidents; and Fr. Rossano Sala, one of the two special secretaries of the Synod.
Salesians who were elected by their respective episcopal conferences to participate are: Bishop Roberto Bergamaschi, vicar apostolic of Awasa, Ethiopia; Bishop Miguel Angel Nguema Bee of Ebebiyin, Equatorial Guinea; Bishop Eduardo Pinheiro Da Silva of Jaboticabal, Brazil; Bishop Patricio Buzon of Bacolod, Philippines; Bishop Virgilio Do Carmo Da Silva of Dili, East Timor; Auxiliary Bishop Joaquim Augusto Da Silva Mendes, of Lisbon, Portugal; Bishop Stefan Oster of Passau, Germany; and Bishop Pedro Baquero of Kerema, Papua New Guinea.
Pope Francis personally nominated Salesian Card. Daniel Sturla, archbishop of Montevideo, Uruguay; and Bishop Luc Van Looy of Ghent, Belgium.
As a member of the Ordinary Council, Card. Oscar Rodriguez, archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, will also be a member of the Synod.
Finally, Fr. Andrea Bozzolo, professor of dogmatic theology of the School of Theology of the Pontifical Salesian University in Turin; and Fr. Renato De Guzman, catechist in charge of the Office for the Pastoral Care of the Don Bosco Center in the Philippines, will take part.
Participating for the Salesian Family are Salesian sisters Lucy Muthoni Nderi, pastoral worker for young people in difficulty in Kenya; and Alessandra Smerilli, professor of economics at the Auxilium Pontifical School of Educational Sciences.
Such a large participation of Salesians at the synod on young people will certainly favor the diffusion of good Salesian practices in the Church and the assimilation of the Synod’s ideas and conclusions in the Congregation.