Between 21 and 25 May, coinciding with the meeting of Salesian Bishops with the Rector Major and his Council there was a European meeting for Salesian novices. The event took place in the context of the Project for Europe, with which the Congregation intends to face up to the current challenges to Christianity in the Old Continent.
57 young novices from 12 different countries led by 16 formation personnel met at the Monte Oliveto Novitiate in Pinerolo spent some full days or prayer and discussions sharing their experiences, examining their formation journey and establishing forms of collaboration and synergy.
It was the idea of the Rector Major and his Council to hold the meeting and they encouraged the novices in the 7 European Novitiates – 2 in Italy, 3 in Poland, 1 in Spain and 1 in Slovakia – to take part in order to bring a “European mentality” into the formation of the Salesians of the next generation. In organising the meeting a great deal of attention was given to the places of Salesian interest and to Mary Help of Christians and Don Bosco, focal points for the formation process of every novice.
Having arrived at Pinerolo on the afternoon of Friday 21 May, and spent the evening getting to know each other and finding their feet, on Saturday morning the novices spent the morning in the Duomo in Turin, leading the singing for the Mass of the Salesian Bishops at which the Rector Major presided, and then afterwards venerating the Shroud.
The afternoon was spent learning more about Don Rua, in the year in which the Congregation is celebrating the centenary of the death of the first successor of Don Bosco. They then spent time in groups sharing their experiences of the novitiate: the process, their ideals, dreams, future prospects and everyday life were examined and ideas shared. In particular they talked about Don Bosco, Don Rua, Salesian holiness and the significance of holiness in practical life; the spiritual process in the novitiate; the more significant difficulties, joys and struggles in the formation programme; the “Project for Europe” as understood by each novice.
The following day, Pentecost Sunday, the novices visited Valdocco, and in view of the preparations for the celebrations for the feast of Mary Help of Christians they began the afternoon with the First Vespers of the Solemnity, and then helped out with various activities in the Basilica and being at the service of the pilgrims.
This continued also during the night and until the following morning. Then on Monday 24 May the solemn procession of Mary Help of Christians in which thousands of people took part brought an end to the liturgical ceremonies. In this too the novice helped with the singing and leading the recitation of the rosary, in collaboration with the students from Valdocco.
Before leaving on Tuesday 25 May to return to their own houses, the young novices assisted at the Mass with the Salesian Bishops at which Cardinal Rordríguez Maradiaga presided. The archbishop of Tegucigalpa greeted them and warmly urged them: “go ahead and persevere with courage and fidelity!”
Source: ANS Info