06 "What Salesian for today's youth? A concrete man, who takes courageous decisions" - Pope Francis

posted Jan 22, 2019, 2:04 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jan 22, 2019, 2:05 AM ]
On the occasion of the opening of the Salesian Family Spirituality Days, we publish the preface by the Holy Father to the volume edited by Antonio Carriero, SDB—Evangelii gaudium con don Bosco—a text in which the Salesian Family takes up the message of the Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Francis from a pastoral educational point of view.

"You Salesians are lucky, because your founder, Don Bosco, was not a saint with the face of 'Good Friday' - sad, long-faced, morose ... but rather from 'Easter Sunday. He was always joyful, welcoming, despite the thousand labours and difficulties that besieged him every day. As they write in the Biographical Memoirs, "his radiant face of joy manifested, as always, his own happiness in finding himself among his children" (Biographical Memoirs of Don Giovanni Bosco, volume XII, 41). It is no coincidence that, for him, holiness consisted in being "very happy, joyful." We can therefore call him a "healthy bearer" of that "joy of the Gospel" which he proposed to his first great student, Saint Domenico Savio, and to all of you Salesians, as an authentic and ever-present style of the "high measure of Christian life" (John Paul II, Novo Millennio Ineunte, 31).

His was a revolutionary message in a time when priests lived the life of the people with detachment. The "high measure of Christian life" Don Bosco put into practice by entering the "social and existential periphery" that grew in the 19th century Turin, capital of Italy and an industrial city, which attracted hundreds of young people looking for work. In fact, the "priest of the poor and abandoned young people", following the far-sighted advice of his teacher St Joseph Cafasso, went down into the streets, entered the building sites, factories and prisons, and there he found children who were alone and abandoned, at the mercy of the owners of work, without any scruples. He brought the joy and care of the true educator to all the boys he tore from the streets, boys who found in Valdocco an oasis of serenity, and the place where they learned to be "good Christians and honest citizens". It is the same atmosphere of joy and family that I too was lucky enough to live and taste as a child, attending the sixth grade at the Colegio Wilfrid Barón de los Santos Ángeles, in Ramos Mejía. Salesians have formed me to beauty, to work and in being very joyful, and this is your charisma.

They helped me grow without fear, without obsessions. They helped me to move forward in joy and in prayer, as I had the opportunity to remind you during the visit to the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians on June 21, 2015.

The three White Loves