Summer months: time to live our Salesian vocation with joy and generosity

06 Jun 2018

Dear Salesian Family,

Please join me in offering congratulations to the young people in our Salesian presences who recently have graduated—from elementary school, high school, or college. Congratulations to their families and the Salesian Family who have accompanied these young men and women to this significant moment.

We are well aware that our Salesian mission of education and evangelization doesn’t end with graduation. With creativity and initiative characteristic of Don Bosco, we find ways to continue to help our young people become honest citizens and faithful Christians.

Summer camp at Mary Help of Christians in Tampa always attracts hordes of happy youngsters (and counselors). Credit: Mary Help of Christians Center

In some of our Salesian presences, summer camp has already started. As a province, we can be proud that every presence offers some summer apostolate: recreational camps, sports camps, mission weeks, Bible camp, academic programs, etc. We can be proud also that in each of these summer ministries, there is some element of faith formation. Special efforts are made to form the staff, many of whom are young adults and had been campers themselves, in the practice of the Preventive System. They can recognize how the Salesian environment during the summer has helped them grow, and now they are ready to give back. I think they would be open to “bold challenges for the discernment of their life choices with equally bold proposals for every kind of vocation in the Church, including the Salesian vocation in the various forms, involving the whole community” (Address of Fr. Angel Fernandez Artime at the closing  of GC27, #3.6).

Principal Larry Savoy declares the 2018 senior class of Don Bosco Cristo Rey HS graduated, at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on May 31. Credit: Fr. Mike Mendl

 

Last week, reflecting on the diaconal ordination of Bro. Juan Pablo and Bro. Eduardo, I quoted a sentence from the Rector Major’s letter convoking GC28. “People are formed for and in the mission and formed for and in a community: whether that is the religious Salesian community or the educational-pastoral community.” Fr. Angel is primarily speaking about SDBs in initial formation, but the same holds true for the young people who have just graduated and the young people who will staff our summer apostolates. They have moved through our schools and parish programs, not just to receive a diploma or the sacrament of Confirmation, but to discover their calling in life (their mission). They do not live out their vocation alone, but with family, friends, and colleagues (a community).

It’s not unusual to hear adult men and women say that the best time of their lives was at a Salesian summer camp. The pictures they post on Facebook bring back happy memories and renew friendships even 30 or 40 years after they were campers. They reflect on the lessons for life that they learned as campers or counselors (mission) and again feel connected (community). The Salesian system of educating and evangelizing the young works! Taking into consideration the changes in culture today and the needs and interests of the new generation of young people, the Salesian Family still has a proven way of accompanying the people in our summer ministries—campers, counselors, collaborators—that can help them on the way of salvation.

Besides all the fun at camp, the summer months are also when many of us go on retreat and have some time for vacation, precious moments of renewal so we can live our Salesian vocation with joy and generosity.

Happy summer!

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