Interview with Fr. Roggia about the Salesian Director’s Manual

08 Aug 2019

The Salesian Director: Builder of Unity and Communion

(ANS – Rome – July 30) – The Salesian Director: A ministry for the animation and governing of the local community is the result of an extensive work, entrusted by the 27th General Chapter to the general council, and particularly to the Formation Department. We shared about the nature and  meaning of this work with Fr. Ivo Coelho, general councilor for Formation, and Fr. Silvio Roggia, of the same department.

“The heart of the new director’s manual is in the fact that the Salesian director is not only director of the religious community, but also in the educational-pastoral community. He is above all a custodian: of the consecrated Salesian identity for the religious community, and of the Salesian identity for the educational-pastoral community,” said Fr. Coelho.

“Inside, there is all the richness of our tradition,” continues Fr. Roggia, “starting from Don Bosco’s ‘striving to make yourself loved’ addressed to Fr. Rua when he went as director to Mirabello. But together there is also all the wealth that comes from the 316 contributions sent by all the Salesian regions.”

Father Silvio, the first part of the text presents Salesian consecrated identity. What does it say?

The first pages focus on our identity as Salesians consecrated in the two forms in which we live our sole vocation, as Salesian brothers and Salesian clerics, within the Salesian Family and in the Church. The Salesian director is called to grow and strengthen the Salesian identity among his brothers and in all that the Salesian presence means in that territory. The director s guarantor and guardian of the Salesian charism was one of the most accentuated messages, transversally present in the 316 contributions coming from the seven regions [of the Congregation].

In the second part the director is presented in the Salesian religious community. What are the guidelines offered?

Recalling the guiding themes of the GC27 (mystics in the spirit, prophets of fraternity, servants of the young), one grasps the gift and responsibility that the presence of the director is called upon to offer to the community. Methods and means are taken into consideration: from the Good Night to the community plan; from the role of the local council to assemblies of the confreres. The type of accompaniment requested of the director toward each confrere is thus drawn. And concerning accompaniment there is another important work that will soon be made available to all the confreres: Young Salesians and accompaniment: guidelines and directives.

As for the “shared Salesian mission,” what does the new manual say?

Taking advantage of an intervention by Fr. Vecchi, who made it clear that there are no presences of  ‘only Salesians,’ the text devotes much attention to how the Salesian community can become a charismatic reference point in the educational-pastoral community, that is, how to continue to sow the spiritual pedagogical charism of Don Bosco so that it continues to flourish and bear fruit among the young.

What does this manual represent for individual Salesians?

The Rector Major writes in the preface: “To all of you, my dear confreres, I offer this gift, the fruit of a demanding synthesis of all the developments that have taken place in the Church and our Congregation over the past 30 years.” It is a gift that also becomes a task, above all for those who have a role of animation and government.

The interview with Fr. Roggia is available on ANSChannel in Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese.