10 Jan 2019
World Conference of Salesian Mission Offices
(ANS – Rome – January 10) – Don Bosco was quite a professional “beggar.” He had to be, because he served young people in need. Salesians today have various structures around the world that look for resources to sustain Don Bosco’s mission. On January 16-20 the Salesians will hold a world conference of the leaders of such structures at the Domus Urbis house in Rome. 90 persons will be involved – 68 Salesians, 1 Salesian sister, and 21 lay people, coming from 54 provinces in 45 countries.
The world of philanthropy is going through very rapid change. The global economic situation is radically different from what it was just a few years ago. The values, priorities, and attitudes of people are evolving. The number of organizations looking for the donated dollar has increased and multiplied. In many societies, people have become more reluctant to donate to religious organizations, even if their money is used for charitable purposes. Technology and the means of communication enable the donor to ensure that his money goes precisely to the issue of his greatest concern. He wants to see measurable impact. The same technology makes it possible for him to follow up on the way his money is used. The European Union’s recent law on privacy has serious consequences on the relations between donors and recipients, not only within Europe but globally.
“If Salesians are to continue their mission of serving needy youths, we need to update ourselves – on legal matters and in the use of the latest technology. We also need to ensure that the hunt for the dollar does not lead us away from our identity as Salesians and as religious. We need to deepen our own spirituality in the exercise of this pastoral service. We want to strengthen our commitment to our ethical values and principles. We would like that our relationship with the donors as well as with the beneficiaries does not begin and end with a transfer of some money – we wish to have a partnership, in the mission as well as in our spiritual pilgrimage through life,” said Fr. George Menamparampil, the meeting organizer.
In fact, the logo specially designed for the meeting recalls just that: the mission office is a window to the world, and the global logo of the SDB’s is integrated into it, as the mission office is set up by the Congregation and belongs to it. So, the mission office is an instrument of the Congregation that facilitates a free flow between the Pious Society of St. Francis de Sales and the world outside it – a flow of information, knowledge, ideas, opinions, skills, expertise, solidarity, and spirituality. It is very rich, varied, and colorful exchange.
The World Conference of Mission Offices will be a platform for us to exchange best practices in all these areas. We will learn from each other as well as from outside experts – but everything with a single goal sharply in focus: Don Bosco’s mission to the young at risk.