Updating Community and Pastoral Plans

Message of the Provincial 06.15.23

Dear Confreres,

We are in the midst of our second province retreat, this one in Tampa. The thread being woven through the talks in all the retreats is the Eucharist. This unites us with the National Eucharistic Revival and also renews our Salesian spirit. Const. 88 states that the Eucharist "is the central act of every Salesian community: it is a daily festive celebration in a living liturgy." Thanks to the retreat preachers and everyone involved in preparing the retreats. Thanks to you, confreres, for entering this privileged time as a moment of intimate communion with Jesus.

Congratulations to all the Salesian works that have had significant events these past few weeks: awards banquets, graduations, alumni reunions, First Communions, Confirmations, major fundraisers, etc. Our province, too, was privileged to celebrate the priestly ordination of Joshua Sciullo and Branden Gordon. These celebrations are manifestations of God’s goodness to us in the mission, and a chance to give thanks to God for all that his Spirit accomplishes in our midst.

At the end of our days together in Lima for the team visit with the Rector Major and some members of the General Council, Fr. Ángel shared with us a draft letter of some observations and recommendations about our InterAmerica Region. We will receive a definitive version in August. I was pleasantly surprised to see how much continuity there was between the Rector Major’s remarks and our province's strategic plan. As our school and pastoral year come to an end, I highlight just three points that we can keep in mind as we already look ahead to next year and renewed community plans and updated pastoral plans.

  1. The grace of unity. All the aspects of our Salesian religious life are brought together as one, total self-giving in love to God and others. Sometimes we give primacy to the mission and relegate community or our spiritual life to second place. In today’s secular and individualistic world, our commitment to fraternal life and our willingness to share our spiritual journey are prophetic and attractive.
  2. Shared mission. To be Salesians, true to Don Bosco and in line with the Congregation and the Church today, we welcome the opportunity to share the Salesian mission with many, especially the members of the various groups of the Salesian Family. This enables us to give witness to our unique vocation as consecrated religious and to ensure consistent, quality formation in the Salesian charism.
  3. The phenomenon of migration. Our province was founded on a ministry to immigrants. We have continued that commitment, working with varied immigrant populations over our 125 years. Some are calling the current migration of people in our region a humanitarian crisis. Our response to this phenomenon is true to our Salesian mission—a welcoming environment, closeness, accompaniment, education, and evangelization.

When Fr. Steve Shafran became provincial, the Rector Major spoke of "a narrative of hope" for our province, in which he saw much life. Reflecting on our current reality, I see the truth of his words. I am encouraged by the goodness of the confreres, the relevance of our mission, the fascinating charism of Don Bosco, and the promise of Christ to be with us always. Thank you all.

The province has begun the process of reaccreditation with Praesidium. Now is a good time to ensure that your files are up-to-date and complete, that you adequately screen all collaborators, that you provide training in safeguarding, and that everyone knows how to report and respond to allegations of boundary violations or abuse. Abuse can be prevented. We have to do our part.

God bless you.

Fr. Tim Zak

June 15, 2023 - 8:00am

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