SDBs and FMAs together: with the Pope, in the Church, at the service of the young

19 Jul 2018

by Gian Francesco Romano

(ANS – Rome – July 12) – The joint meeting of the general councils of the Salesians and the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians at the FMA Generalate on July 11 is summed up so: Men and women consecrated to God, who share the charism and the mission for young people from all continents, especially the poorest and neediest and work fraternally and in a spirit of fidelity to the Church and the Pope.

Their work session was prompted by a reflection on the upcoming Synod of Bishops on “Youth, faith and vocational discernment” by Fr. Rossano Sala, SDB, special secretary for this synod.

In his presentation, Fr. Sala illustrated the synod working document. The document, he said, is the result of “the convergence of listening to everyone,” which is why it represents “an updated and realistic reference framework on the global youth condition,” as well as being “a unitary and synthetic collection of the issues to be discussed.”

Fr. Sala emphasized the working document’s perspective, namely one of accompaniment, a guiding theme of Strenna 2018, too. It is, in fact, accompaniment that is the “presupposition for every Christian proclamation,” and it is only in that perspective that we can speak of a journey of faith and that youthful leadership can be fostered – as indeed happened in the preparation of the synod.

Therefore, after having indicated positive and negative aspects regarding the conditions of today’s youth – as in “paralysis before important decisions, but also of spiritual nostalgia” – the reflection led to a rethinking of the entire vocational dimension, which must lead to the “creation of a vocational culture that enhances and appreciates every type of calling.”

Along with many questions and healthy challenges, the speaker finally indicated priorities for action for the two congregations: the primacy being assigned to daily presence alongside the young, the quality of the community’s spirituality – on which the value of its witness depends – family spirit, the commitment to give more to those who have received less.

At the end of the presentation, the SDB and FMA councilors divided into groups which elaborated reflections and resonances on how the two congregations are touched by the synod, what their respective contributions to the universal Church can be, and what post-synodal path to foresee.

After a moment of sharing in an assembly discussion, the work sessions closed with the summaries from Mother Reungoat and the Rector Major, followed by praying Evening Prayer together and a Good Night from Fr. Fernandez.