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1/3/2010 - Spain - III Congress on the Salesian School in Europe and Vocational Training Centre
(ANS - Sanlúcar la Mayor) – Yesterday 28 February, the III European Congress on the Salesian School and Vocational Training Centre ended. It had begun on Thursday 25 February, attended by about 230 people directly involved in the schools and centres of the Salesians and the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, including religious and lay people from 22 countries of Europe, Asia and South America.

After greetings from civil and ecclesiatical authorities present, the Congress was officialy opened by Bishop Antonio Dorado, former bishop of Malaga, President of the Commission for Education and Catechesis of Southern Spain.

Fr Fabio Attard, Councillor for Youth Ministry of the Salesians, read a message from the Rector Major, Fr Pascual Chávez, which recalled how “young people nowadays more than ever are asking us to accompany them in overcoming the loneliness around them. They are putting questions to us which we must learn to understand and interpret.”. Mother Yvonne Reungoat, Superior General of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians also sent a letter which was read by the Councillor General Sr Maria Carmen Canales.
The first talk given by Prof. Bruno della Chiesa, from Harvard, dealt with the ways of thinking which are a feature of the globalised world. In the afternoon Dominique Fily and Ángel Miranda, from the European Consultative-Committee, spoke about the identity card of the Salesian school, and described the Salesian educator in the light of professional skills and of being a Christian educator in the Salesian style.

The ten working-groups then met together and exchanged their ideas about the topics dealt with and focused on strategies for the initial and ongoing formation of teachers in Salesian schools and centres. The first day ended with a concert of classical music which they Sanlúcar local authorities provided for them.
Etienne Verhak began the session on Saturday morning speaking about the current challenges regarding the training of teachers in Europe. This was followed by four presentations of different experiences: teacher selection in the Seville Province;  a primary school of the FMA in Krakow, Poland; educational courses offered to teachers in the formation centre in Lyon and finally a reflection on the family spirit in Ireland.

At the end of the morning Fr Attard and Sr. Canales examined the third key issue regarding the specifically Salesian features of the formation of educators. Referring to Don Bosco’s experience, who encouraged the clerics and Salesians to spend their free time with the boys, the two speakers reflected on the Salesian school and the staff called to acccompany the young people and to make any meeting with them an educative opportunity and also a much broader experience. This is the challenge for Salesian educators in the XXI century. 

The final day was devoted to discussions among the working groups. Then Fr José Miguel Núñez, Councillor for the West Europe Region, presided at the concluding Mass of the III European Congress on the Salesian School and Vocational Training Centre.

Several times during the Congress the words of Paul VI were mentioned: “contemporary man listens to witnesses much more willingly than to teachers, or if he listens to teachers it is because they are witnesses.”

Published 01/03/2010

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