By Fr. Sean McEwen, SDB, Delegate for Mission Animation
This inaugural Missions Corner will be a monthly feature in Salesian News. Since the general objective of our province's office for mission animation is to promote and animate missionary discipleship in the ministries of the SUE Province, this space intends to develop the concept and understanding of missionary discipleship. Last October, in the Cagliero 11 publication, the general councillor for the missions, Fr. Alfred Maravilla, drew attention to missionary discipleship with the following description:
Through the Sacrament of Baptism, all Christians are people of God and share in the mission of the Church. The Second Vatican Council emphasized in a special way that every baptized person and all Christian communities share in the Church’s missionary task of extending the frontiers of faith (Ad Gentes, 2, 6). Therefore, every disciple and every Christian community is challenged, and invited to be a missionary by making its own the mandate entrusted by Jesus to the Apostles, to be his "witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth" (Acts 1:8). Thus, Pope Francis insists that for every baptised member of the Church "we no longer say that we are 'disciples' and 'missionaries' but rather that we are always 'missionary disciples'" (Evangelii Gaudium, 120).
As consecrated persons, our Salesian religious profession is a unique and fruitful deepening of our baptismal consecration in view of our particular mission in the Church. As Salesians, we are, everywhere, true missionaries of the young and the youth is our mission land. We live our identity of missionary disciples by living Don Bosco’s missionary spirit. This missionary spirit—summed up in the 'Da mihi animas'—is the heart of our pastoral charity, which manifests itself in the 'oratorian heart,' fervour, drive and the capacity for intercultural and inter-religious dialogue. It is the passion for evangelisation, especially of young people, and the willingness to be sent wherever there is a need, expressed in the 'ci vado io' (‘I’ll go there’) that Fr Albert Caviglia considered as being the 'Salesian motto.' In short, the missionary spirit is typical of every Salesian, because its roots are in Don Bosco’s charism itself. It is this missionary spirit that makes us live the Salesian consecrated life "permanently in a state of mission."
Each month, a personal reflection of missionary discipleship will be shared by a Salesian or Salesian family member. It is hoped that, through these shared experiences, we may all grow in our awareness of the mission reality in both our province and congregation. In addition, some practical suggestions and/or material will be linked to this monthly publication that each community may choose to use in their respective houses or apostolates. Finally, we are all encouraged to keep in our prayers the monthly mission intentions of the Holy Father and of the Congregation.
The Pope’s universal prayer intention for February: Religious sisters and consecrated women
We pray for religious sisters and consecrated women and thank them for their mission and their courage. May they continue to find new responses to the challenges of our times.
February Salesian missionary intention: For strong trust in God and compassionate love in life and action of the Salesian Sisters in Lithuania.