|News From Regional Desk|
| Message to Salesian Family Delegates from Regional Councillor for South Asia
February 7-9, 2014
Don Bosco Provincial House, Hyderabad.
Dear Fr. Noel and Delegates of the Salesian Family, South Asia.
Affectionate greetings to you and to all the delegates of the Salesian Family being present in Chennai for your meeting. I am writing just to tell you that you are all in my mind and in my prayers these days as you meet and discuss an important theme of Accompanying the Youth and their Families, and I know that you are also going to discuss the events celebrating the bi-centenary of Don Bosco�s Birth.
Recently we had the annual Salesian Family Study Days of Salesian Spirituality based on the Strenna of the Rector Major, in the third week of January. 27 out of 30 groups of the Salesian Family were represented. It was the last such meeting for the present Rector Major and hence it had taken on also an emotional significance of farewell for the Father of the Salesian Family, who brought so much focus on the importance of the Salesian Family and was insistent on calling it to work together. There were 425 participants who attended the meeting. The theme of the family cropped up again and again. Today it is no more an option for us. If we want to work for the youngsters, we need to care for the family, particularly young families and not so young either. Particularly important is this, even in India, where signs of family break up is already showing up in a big way.
This morning, the Rector Major, Mother General of the FMA and a few other important people gave a press conference in the International Press Conference Centre in Rome, to announce to the world about the Bi-Centenary of Don Bosco�s birth. Of course the year starts on 16th August 2015 and ends on the same date next year. The Holy Shroud of Turin is also being exposed for a month and a half. This is done precisely to give a chance to pilgrims, who come for Don Bosco�s celebrations could have a chance also to see this sacred relic, symbol of his Master, Jesus Christ. It was good of the diocese of Turin to agree to this kind of arrangement for this extraordinary exposition.
Thus, the Salesian Family is no more a marginal reality in the thinking of the Salesians and of any other member of the group. It has come so much into focus, that we need to think like a family, and not only as single congregations or groups. Where we can we can work together in the same institution or project. But we can also work together on many other areas, on common projects from our own institutions. For example we can all decide to go on war footing to bring about a cultural change in India where women will be respected as equals to men. It opens a vast avenue for our mission. This is a mighty cause, far greater than working together in a school as principal and vice principal. For causes of this kind we could come together and plan and draw up strategies, exchange notes and replay our activities.
Another area where we seriously need to work together is to promote vocations for each other. We meet so many youngsters who may show signs of religious vocation. Do we think of proposing also other groups of the Salesian Family for them? While I acknowledge that there is some collaboration in this field, much more interest is needed.
Above all, let us come together on causes that affect the young - human rights, apostolate for immigrant youth, child protection, young at risk, Right to Education, gender education, raising our prophetic voice on violence against women, etc. are causes worth exploring. Apart from these social causes, and above them, is our passion for Jesus Christ and his Gospel, namely evangelisation. It is this kind of causes that give meaning also to our regular boardings, schools, technical schools, colleges, etc. Without these our works could largely lose their charismatic identity. Without interest in such collaboration and mutual support and respect and care, coming together only for celebrations too will be devoid of much meaning. Let us certainly celebrate, but let us also celebrate our mission together and our fraternity together and make each other grow.
I wish all of you a wonderful meeting.
Lovingly in the Lord,
Fr. Maria Arokiam Kanaga SDB Regional Councillor, South Asia,
Maria Arokiam Kanaga
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