The 26th General Chapter asked the Rector Major and his Council to “define the nature and objectives of the Congregation’s intervention on behalf of a renewed Salesian presence in Europe.”
This was a priority in the programme of the Rector Major and the General Council. A meeting of all the Provincials of Europe at the end of November 2008 identified three major areas that needed attention for a revival of the Salesian presence in Europe: the revitalization of the charism as it is already present, the restructuring of the works and sending missionaries.
This was the starting point for GC27 in examining the situation, first of all in the Juridical Commission and then several times in the Assembly. Closely connected is the question of the reconfiguration of the regions in Europe.
The question of reconfiguration was studied by the General Council in the summer and winter sessions of 2013, and was the subject of consultation with the Provinces of Europe. These initial studies pointed overall to two regions and their results were made available to the Chapter members.
Many factors were taken into consideration: the processes of unification and re-dimensioning already implemented or under way in the provinces of Europe; the current division into three regions has changed significantly with the recent restructuring of Spain (2014), France and Southern Belgium (2008) and Italy (2008); the rapid decrease in the number of confreres throughout Europe; the aging of the Provinces; re-dimensioning under way at present; the need to promote and strengthen collaboration between the different provinces with a view also to reinvigorating the charism; the need to create the conditions for greater cooperation and collaboration.
Some doubts emerged regarding the role of the Regional Councillor and his almost permanent engagement in the extraordinary visits, but it was also pointed out that already a few of these visits in the last six years had been entrusted to a confrere who was not a General Councillor.
Certainly the role of the Regional Councillor is still seen positively as an expression of communion and coordination within the region and as a link with the Rector Major and the General Council.
The debate in the Assembly and the results of a straw vote suggested a process of discernment on the possibility of the reconfiguration of the regions in Europe.
On the morning of Saturday 22 March, the Chapter Assembly voted, with a large majority, to reconfigure the three regions (Northern Europe, Western Europe , Italy and the Middle East) and to form just two regions.
The new configuration is as follows:
MEDITERRANEAN Region: the Circumscription of Central Italy, the Circumscription of Piedmont and Valle d’ Aosta, the Italian provinces of Lombardy and Emilia, Southern Italy, North East Italy, Sicily, the Middle East, Portugal, Spain Barcelona, Spain Bilbao, Spain Leon, Spain Madrid, Spain Sevilla and Spain Valencia.
CENTRAL and NORTHERN EUROPEAN Region: the provinces of Austria, Northern Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, France and Southern Belgium, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Ireland, Poland Krakow, Poland Pila, Poland Warsaw, Poland Wroclaw, Slovakia , Slovenia, and the Special Circumscription of Ukraine.
Due to unforeseen problems with the computer network, this vote took place with ballot papers and so the appropriate privacy of individual voters was maintained.
First Published by InfoANS