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28/11/2011 - RMG - Meeting of Salesian missionaries in Europe
Photograph available in Image Bank

(ANS – Rome) – Last weekend 25 to 27 November there was a first meeting for Salesian missionaries in Europe, led by he General Councillors for the Missions and for Formation, Fr Václav Klement and Fr Francesco Cereda.

37 missionaries took part, for the most part originally from Provinces in Asia, at present engaged in 8 Provinces in Europe, representing the 80+ missionaries sent to Europe in the last 10 years.

Meeting in the Generalate from Friday afternoon, on Saturday morning Fr Cereda gave them a talk on “Motives and Commitments for the Project for Europe.” Quoting documents of the 26th General  Chapter and the letter sent by Benedict XVI on that occasion, he referred to Europe now as a “new frontier” for the Congregation and emphasised that unless the Salesian charism, received support there was the danger of it disappearing from the continent just when the  educational challenge presented by the new generation was most pressing.

According to Fr Cereda, relaunching the Salesian charism in Europe needs the Salesian  presences to become “re-significant” in other words made new and  capable of making an impact. In this regard he highlighted several points, in the first place, the Salesians themselves, then making contact with the young, cultivating fraternal life, a high quality of educational and pastoral work, vocational fruitfulness, the ability to bring together the other forces engaged in the mission and finally fitting into the local society and church.

Reflecting on the sending of the missionaries and their being welcomed in the context of the Project for Europe, Fr Klement spoke about the needs of the missionaries and those of the European Provinces. Among others he noted the need in the missionaries for a strong faith, capable of coping with the indifference of a materialistic society and the humility to take their place gradually in the community, promoting a new growth from within. Then from the point of view of the Provinces, there is need for greater openness by the communities and the provision of accompaniment for the new missionaries.

In the concluding session the missionaries discussed various requirements needed for their mission in Europe to be successful. Regarding the topic of the “re-significance of the presences”, for example it was suggested that working on the outskirts of the cities was worth pursuing, following the example of the great European saints of recent years, and creating opportunities for meeting with families.

Published 28/11/2011

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