Italy – CG28 official opening, Rector Major: We are “an assembly of consecrated men, gathered in the name of the Lord”
(ANS - Turin) -The Rector Major began with several words of thanks for the many guests, Salesians and representatives of the groups of the Salesian Family. For Fr Angel, too, the first focus is that of a prophetic and hopeful gaze for an especially significant commitment: "responsibly guiding and animating a charism of the Church, for the Church and for the world, aroused by the Spirit."
And it is with this focus and this task that, as Salesians, there is to be renewed "the responsibility of guiding communion and unity of life in the Congregation" with a single interest: taking care of the interests of God.
As Fr Luigi Ricceri stated in General Chapter 20: "Ours is not an assembly of shareholders of an industry, it is not a political assembly with factions with conflicting interests that are economic, prestige and ambition. We are here as Church - better, an assembly of consecrated men, gathered in the name of the Lord, totally devoted to a supernatural ideal."
In moving on to the specific theme and objectives of the GC28, the Rector Major focused on a few objectives.
First of all, by underscoring that we must "give absolute priority to the Salesian mission with today's young people, and among them giving priority to the most needy, the poorest and most abandoned.
Who is the Salesian who goes to meet young people today? What is his profile? The one that has Don Bosco as a model.
With Don Bosco as a model, saying Salesian today should be the same as saying:
- consecrated man of deep faith;
- apostolic passion for young people;
- son of God who knows he is and feels like a father to young people;
- charismatic identity of everyone who enriches the Church with the charism of Don Bosco and creates ecclesial communion;
- always faithful apostle of young people, always flexible and creative;
- always educator, always friend of young people."
Today, even more than in other times, the Salesian lives together with the laity in mission and formation. And in this area there is to go further, and Fr Angel hopes that the General Chapter "will perhaps consider some of these points on which to push our discernment", to overcome resistance in the mission shared with the laity, to grow in reciprocity in relations between Salesians and lay people, with a joint formation.
General Chapter 28 is a great appeal or summons at this hour, as already indicated in the convocation letter: “we shall be called to discern with realism, courage and determination, the orientation of the path to embark upon in this 21st century, in a very special ecclesial moment of renewal and purification."
The “business” started by Don Bosco has to be continued, as he himself said to Fr Giulio Barberis in 1875: 'You will complete the work, which I begin; I sketch, you will spread the colors [...] I make a rough draft of the Congregation and I will leave it to those who come after me to make the good [beautiful] copy.' Fr Angel concludes:
"I think that with the GC28 that we start today we will clean up other parts of the sketch that Don Bosco left us, since the Holy Spirit continues to illuminate us even today to be faithful to the Lord Jesus in faithfulness to the charism of the origins, with the faces and music and colors of today."
At 12.30, the Regulator on behalf of the Rector Major formally and officially opens General Chapter 28, placed under the protection of Mary with prayer and singing Sub tuum praesidium.
- Rettor Maggiore
- Ángel Fernández Artime