On a wet Saturday last, the 12th of December, an important event took place for the Salesians in Ireland. A conference took place in Portlaoise entitled ‘Reshaping the Presences of the Province’. Those who took part were many if the Salesians of the province and many from the Salesian Family who are part of Salesian works.
The conference began with an opening prayer and an introductory note from our provincial Fr Michael Casey. The early part of the conference focused on discussion points around ‘what is the Salesian presence for you’ and ‘what do you need or not need from the Salesians’. A lot of good conversations took place and each group gave feedback from these conversations. The feedback was rich with content. It is clear that the Salesian charism is living strong and we’ll for those who work with the Salesians. More still, the charism is more than relevant in the times we live in today. The Salesian presence was emphasised as something of huge importance in our hustling and bustling world. It was mentioned however that some need to put forward the charism more especially with those who are more recently working in salesian works. The first part of the day concluded with a well earned lunch and a catch up between people who have worked together over the years.
The second part of the conference was centred around the SDB’s themselves. The first discussion acknowledged how positive it was to hear from the people who work with us, our Salesian Family, that the Salesian charism is something really valued and seen as a great model for working with young people. It’s not something we tend to bring to mind enough or celebrate enough. This brought further discussion around the point that we don’t celebrate salesianity enough with those who are Salesian or those we work for young people. This is something we need to do a lot more of in the future. In concluding the conference the future was looked at in a more practical manner. We discussed how we are currently stretched in our works and we need to find a solution to this. This is something time will change anyway and we need to make sure that it is not time and circumstances that change our hand as opposed to our own initiative to change with the times.
It was a full but truly worthwhile day, as long as we build from this going forward. The future is inevitable but we need to keep the positivity borne out of this conference to make positive changes going forward that are for the the best of the youth we try to serve. Unfortunately there are many young people in need, but it is fortunate that we posses a charism and spirit that enables us to change young people’s lives for the better. Let’s get to it!