For a Culture of Vocation: A Joint Reflection by the SDB and FMA

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"Welcome. Feel at home," with these words the Rector Major, Don Pascual Chávez Villanueva, welcomed Mother General, M. Yvonne Reungoat, and the Sisters of the General Council and began the meeting last Tuesday, January 18, at the generalate of the Salesians, on Via della Pisana, for the semestral meeting of the SDB and FMA general councils. After the exchange of greetings and the prayer moment, Mother Yvonne emphasized the importance of the theme of the agenda, regarding the joint reflection on the basic elements of the Strenna 2011 "Come and See." She stressed the primary responsibility to keep alive the charism received as a gift from the Spirit, beyond the concern to maintain the institutions. Don Pascual reiterated the importance of the semestral meeting: besides the benefit of knowing each other in order to nourish a deeper communion, the meeting is an expression of the family spirit, an opportunity to create a mentality of sharing of principles for a journey in synergy.

After the intervention of Fr. Fabio Attard on the basic elements for a culture of vocation , taking into consideration the actual context in line with the theme of the Strenna 2011, followed the sharing in small groups on the present situation of the FMA and the Salesian congregations with regard to vocations. Questions were raised on some specific points: In the light of the Strenna, what do we have to carry out and promote in our congregations to create a culture of vocation? How do we face the difficulties in promoting and accompanying vocations today? What are the concrete choices in youth ministry in order to have an improved vocational animation? In the sharing in the assembly, the following were particularly emphasized: the essential need to create environments of values and joy; to increase our presence among the young people; to educate to prayer and the sacramental life, to listening, to silence; to recover the capacity to narrate one's vocational experience and to take note of the " best practices " of the culture of vocation; and to have the courage. Among the different means emphasized were the importance of motivating and strengthening service and volunteerism in young people and the commitment to the proposals of the Salesian Youth Movement.

The concluding talks of the Rector Major and Mother General pointed out the need to awaken in young people the search for meaning and put them in situations that would make them seek for answers. Furthermore, it is an urgent task to help local communities to feel the responsibility of vocation ministry, to believe that God continues to call, and to have the certainty that there are many young people who are willing to respond. The present poverty should not stop us: from the evangelical point of view, fear is transformed into courage to propose in an attitude of hope.

As in every meeting, it was followed by the prayer, and afterwards supper, a moment of fellowship, and finally, the "Good Night" talk by the Rector Major.

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