The revolution of tenderness: a new style of pastoral ministry

In preparation for the upcoming Feast of Mary Help of Christians, Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, Rector Major, wrote a letter to the Salesian Family.  In addition to prayers and good wishes, it also includes a strong pastoral and social message. He calls for a new style of pastoral ministry, based on a “revolution of tenderness”. We include some excerpts from the letter:

The Rector Major has already made a few visits to the Salesian Provinces , in which he has seen ” evidence of the multitude of exciting projects where God, with a few loaves and a few fish, constantly multiplies our action and causes the poor works of our hands to blossom.”

Angel Fernandez - MHCRegarding the present social situation,  Fr Fernandez Artime comments:  “Just in these days we’ve received awful news of the persecution of Christians in many parts of the world, of violations of human rights in critical areas of the planet, of the mistreatment and kidnapping of minors on account of their being female or of their religion.  Nothing is further from God’s plan!  The presence of the Risen Lord lights up the darkness; he is peace that melts away fear.”

In his letter the Rector Major also emphasizes the proper role of Christians and others: “Hence we Christians, with men and women of good will, in the name of God and of our most vulnerable brothers, must continue to strive to bring forth a new reality that’s closer to God’s plan.  Nevertheless, we’re not dealing only with a political matter for states or with strategies for the United Nations.  In our Salesian Family, marked by a deeply paschal spirituality, we shall continue to work with all our power that there may be ever more life, in Jesus’ name, for the little and the least.”

Don Fernandez Artime has also launched a strong appeal stating that ” We’re called to a new way of “being pastors”:  it’s the revolution of gentleness, of bending down to those who are hurting the most, of welcoming those who are far away, of making a way for those who are last, of accompanying personally those whom social realities shove aside and abandon.

The best way to celebrate our Father is faithfulness to his great intuitions.  I don’t doubt in the least that one of these, a vital commitment for him as well as for us today, is the preferential option for “abandoned and endangered” youths.

The message of the Risen Lord, to return to Galilee, means for us to return to our roots, to return to poor young people.  I’m sure that “we shall meet him there.”

And finally, since we are drawing near to the Bicentenary of the birth of Don Bosco, he concludes by saying that ” the best way to celebrate our Father is faithfulness to his great intuitions.  I don’t doubt in the least that one of these, a vital commitment for him as well as for us today, is the preferential option for “abandoned and endangered” youths. The message of the Risen Lord, to return to Galilee, means for us to return to our roots, to return to poor young people.  I’m sure that “we shall meet him there.”

The full text of the letter is available – in Italian , English and Spanish – on the site sdb.org.

Published by InfoANS 22/05/2014