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4/8/2011 - Spain - Project Europe Commission: light and shade along the way
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(ANS – Santiago de Compostela) – The 5th meeting of the Commission for Project Europe took place from 31 July to 2 August at Santiago de Compostela in Spain. Topics on the agenda were new evangelisation, migration and difficulties so far encountered on the journey.

The venue for the meeting was a reminder of the Christian roots of Europe, through the Apostle James, friend and witness of the Lord Jesus. Since 1075 pilgrims from all over Europe have been meeting at Santiago de Compostela and building spiritual unity. A visit to the city and a prayer at the tomb of the Apostle helped the Commissioners to immerse themselves in the history of Europe and to reflect on its future.

The first topic considered by the Commission, chaired by Don Francesco Cereda, was ‘challenges and opportunities for European culture in the face of evangelisation’. This began with a reflection on aspects which could be useful in preparing for the fourth meeting of European Provincials, in harmony with the forthcoming Synod of Bishops on new evangelisation. A common denominator was the need to explore new paths for evangelisation in Europe.

The phenomenon of migration in Europe, a very complex matter, was the second topic on the order of the day. The Commission resolved to study the subject more deeply to discover the nature of Salesian involvement in this field, favour its development, identify the major problems, propose good practices and above all to share common strategies. The first step will be to undertake some research in this field to present to the European Provincials and Provincial Delegates.

A third subject was the communication of the Project in the European Provinces. After the meeting of the General Councillor for Social Communications, Don Filiberto Gonzalez, with the contact persons for Project Europe it was noted that there were still difficulties with understanding the nature of the Project on the part of Salesians and Provinces. The Project must be given greater visibility.

Finally a start was made in outlining the involvement of non-European Provinces in the Project. After the meeting of missionaries already in Europe, planned for the coming November, this matter will be studied in a more systematic way with the Regional Councillors.

The Salesian community of Santiago and the Provincial, Don José Rodrígues Pacheco, were attentive and friendly in their hospitality. The Commissioners also had an interesting exchange of ideas on Project Europe with the Provincial Council of Leon.

The journey towards the fulfilment of the Project is only just beginning, although it was announced by the Rector Major on 31 January 2009. The steps it requires are difficult, because it demands a profound change of mentality and of heart. At the same time the Commission is convinced that it is a journey full of promise and the first fruits are already appearing.

Published 4/8/2011

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