Saturday, April 7, 2012

Witnesses to a Radical, Gospel-informed Lifestyle

Witnesses to a Radical,
Gospel-informed Lifestyle
RM announces theme for GC27

A lightly edited version of what ANS published on April 4
Fr. Pascual Chavez, Rector Major, announced the topic for the next SDB general chapter on April 4 at the conclusion of a short plenary session of the general council. The Congregation’s 27th General Chapter will open in Turin on February 22, 2014 (before moving down to Rome), to consider how SDBs can be “Witnesses to a radical, gospel-informed lifestyle.”

The ninth successor of Don Bosco used a letter to introduce his confreres to GC27. He said, in part, “The chosen topic is concerned with witnessing to a radical, gospel-informed lifestyle, for which the motto ‘work and temperance’ is a practical formulation of Don Bosco’s plan of life, ‘Da mihi animas, cetera tolle.’ It is meant to help us to examine in depth our charismatic identity, so that we may be aware of our call to live Don Bosco’s apostolic plan with fidelity.”

The topic follows from that of GC26 (“Da mihi animas, cetera tolle”: Starting afresh from Don Bosco) and provides a good opportunity for further reflection on the Salesian vocation on the eve of the bicentennial of Don Bosco’s birth.

The RM proposes four particular areas for consideration:
1. living the Salesian consecrated vocation, which is a gift of God and a personal plan of life with the grace of unity and with joy;
2. having a strong spiritual experience, making Jesus’ way of living and acting one’s own – obedient, poor, and chaste – and becoming seekers of God;
3. building in our communities a fraternal way of life and action;
4. dedicating ourselves with generosity to the mission, walking beside the young in order to give hope to the world.

The fundamental objective of GC 27 is “to help every confrere and every community live Don Bosco’s apostolic plan with fidelity.” The fruits hoped for from GC27 are visibility, credibility, and vocational fruitfulness.

“Visibility is not mainly about looking after our image but is the beautiful witness of our vocation. If we were to bear witness with fidelity and joy to Don Bosco’s apostolic plan, that is to the Salesian consecrated vocation, then our life would become attractive, it would become fascinating, to the young especially, and therefore we would have a new vocational fruitfulness.”

GC27 will have other tasks also:
1. electing the Rector Major and general council for the period 2014-2020;
2. assessing requests made by GC25 and GC26;
3. rethinking the organization and structuring of the departments for the Salesian mission (youth ministry, missions, communications);
4. assessing the structure of the three regions in Europe;
5. assessing the role of the vicar of the Rector Major in relationship to the Salesian Family;
6. evaluating the structures for animation and central government of the Congregation.

Fr. Chavez named Fr. Francesco Cereda moderator of the general chapter, and he named six other members of the general council to the technical commission to assist him in the preparatory work.

Fr. Chavez concludes his letter by inviting every Salesian and community “to foster those attitudes and that climate which will give practical expression to ‘work and temperance,’” and to pray for the chapter’s success.

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