GC27: “Forward with strength and courage”. Cardinal Farina to the Chapter

Yesterday, Sunday 2 March, Cardinal Raphael Farina, archivist and librarian emeritus of Holy Roman Church, presided at the Mass for the conclusion of the Retreat. He invited the Chapter members to have strength and courage in making decisions that will guide the Salesian Congregation in its mission with young people and the Church.

02-03-2014-GC27-EucaristHe quoted some things that important characters of literature and history have said about Don Bosco, and drew particular attention to the exhortation addressed to the Salesians by Fr Duvallet, prison chaplain and collaborator with Abbé Pierre:“You have works, colleges, oratories and homes for young people, but you only have one real treasure: Don Bosco’s pedagogy! All the rest you can put at risk: they are merely means to an end; but preserve his pedagogy … Change everything, even lose your houses if needs be, that doesn’t matter! But preserve Don Bosco’s pedagogy, and build up in thousands of hearts the way of loving and saving young people you have inherited from Don Bosco!”

He also spoke about his own experience with books as an example of what Don Bosco wanted:“In my life as a Salesian religious, bishop and cardinal I have always had to deal with books. Allow me then to continue listing ways by which Don Bosco aimed to carry out his Salesian mission. I invite you to read the Circular on spreading good books written by Don Bosco and sent to all Salesians in 1885 … This spreading of wholesome literature is one of the principal ends of our Congregation. Article. 7, § 1, of our Regulations says of the Salesians: “They shall devote themselves to spreading good books among the people, using all the means which Christian charity inspires…”

Cardinal Farina referred to the forthcoming celebration that will involve all of the 132 countries where the Salesians are present: “The Bicentenary of Don Bosco’s birth which we are preparing for should be a return to the complete Don Bosco, his substantial and structural choices, meaning his primary objectives and the structures he had to support them, without confusing these supporting structures with the objectives, but also without pretending we can maintain these objectives without the appropriate and significant structures relating to Don Bosco’s vocation, charism, intuition: the primacy of God, the charism of the Founder which precede and include that of the educator.”

On this same point he added: “Obviously we don’t have to copy the exact structures Don Bosco set up. But – I ask myself – does it cost us so much to say that vocations and formation houses are what we are most serious about, since they guarantee the survival of the Congregation and the good works it does?”.

The cardinal concluded by inviting the Chapter members to be courageous in the decisions they take: “We are gathered for this reason. God asks us to decide on the structures of the Congregation and we must not fail. Let’s go forward with strength and courage! ”

First Published by InfoANS