GC27: A Time of Grace and Presence of the Spirit

The 27th General Chapter, which ended on Saturday 12 April, was "a real time of grace and presence of the Spirit."  This was the phrase used by Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, tenth successor of Don Bosco, in his final talk to the more than 200 chapter members. He entitled his address “an opportunity to belong more to God, to our brothers and to young people”.

His talk served as a reminder of the three core themes already indicated when the GC27 was convoked by Fr Pascual Chávez: mystics in the Spirit, prophets of fraternity, servants of the young.

The theme "the radical approach of the Gospel – work and temperance" guided the seven weeks of the Chapter which involved community life, study, prayer and discussion, all summarized in the final document .

That final document repeats a phrase that guided the three stages – listening, interpreting, finding the way forward:Like Don Bosco, in dialogue with the Lord, we walk together moved by the Spirit, experiencing community life as it was at Valdocco, open to planning and collaboration, going out to people on the margins, becoming prophetic signs in the service of young people.

In order for "the opportunity to become an event of grace" it must be guided and accompanied by the Word which reminds us that without roots we cannot bring forth good fruit. That is why the branches must always be united to the vine.

We recall that as Salesians of Don Bosco our roots are in the Gospel and at the Becchi and Valdocco. This, says the Rector Major, allows us to be completely involved and taken up in the plan of God: in fraternity that is irresistibly prophetic, ready to live the radical approach in the style of work and temperance, convinced that to be good servants of the young we cannot be masters of anything or anyone.

With these strong assumptions and conditions we look to the future as Salesians, guided by the decisions of the General Chapter and motivated primarily by the desire to witness to the God of life. Fr Ángel does not hide the challenges: first of all is the challenge to live a profound interior life, “something we are not too good at”. We need therefore to invoke the Holy Spirit that we may be able to overcome this weakness.

Then we will be able to animate the community and young people, among whom we make a preferential option for the poor, the least and the excluded. It is urgent for us to evangelize young people, walking with them and facing their challenges with them. Our Salesian mission is shared with the Salesian Family and with the lay people who share responsibility with us.

The Rector Major concluded with a final thought about Mary and Don Bosco, and a prayer that they may accompany us in an authentic search for God, the experience of  prophetic fraternity, and service to young people with the heart of the Good Shepherd.

The 27th General Chapter concluded with the morning Eucharist, a meeting of the General Assembly, and the words of the Regulator, Fr Francis Cereda.

Source: Info ANS

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