By Fr. Lou Molinelli, SDB, Province Delegate of Youth Ministry
For the next few months, I will reflect in this column on the proposal sent to the Salesians by the Rector Major that came from the 28th General Chapter. Two weeks ago I reflected with you on Proposal One: Salesians of Don Bosco Forever. Proposal Two is equally as energizing for us Salesians: the urgency of "Da Mihi Animas, Caetera tolle." This Latin phrase is translated into English as, "Give me souls, take away the rest." This motto best expresses the zeal and pastoral charity which should characterize the Salesians of Don Bosco and all of our collaborators in the mission. Don Bosco lived this by creating an environment where sound Christian and Catholic principles were lived realities, not just theories. Don Bosco invited the young to embrace their faith totally and created the structures and the relationships to support this choice. We are called to journey with the young and be there for them as they wrestle with the deep questions of life and how to make their faith a living and breathing part of their daily decisions.
To make "Da mihi animas" the centerpiece of our pastoral approach and to embrace the urgency of this task today, the Rector Major gives us the following guidelines.
It is urgent that we give absolute priority to the commitment to evangelize the young with conscious, intentional, and explicit proposals. We are invited to introduce them to Jesus and the Good News of the Gospel for their lives.
It is urgent that we help the young (and their families) to discover the presence of Christ in their lives as the key to happiness and the meaning of their existence.
It is urgent that we accompany children, teenagers, and older youth in their process of education to the faith, so that they may personally embrace the person of Christ.
It is urgent that we be "true educators" who accompany the young from personal experience in dialogue with God in prayer and in the celebration of the sacraments.
As we plan for our upcoming pastoral year and youth ministry in our schools, parishes, youth centers, and other ministries, it is important that we feel this urgency. There is not a moment to lose—the salvation of the souls of the young is at stake!