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28/5/2013 - Italy - Project Europe: Novices’ Meeting
Photograph available in Image Bank

(ANS – Pinerolo) – The annual get-together of the novices from the Salesian novitiates in Europe took place on 22 and 23 May. This year the venue was, once again,  the Monte Oliveto International Novitiate at Pinerolo. The Rector Major wanted this meeting to be seen in the context of Project Europe, to help the novices and their formation personnel to develop a European mentality, and also to allow for a visit, right at the beginning of their formation, to the Salesian places associated with Mary Help of Christians and Don Bosco.

The initiative was planned by the Department of Formation. After the welcome, in song and in video, the novices were introduced. They described in a very interesting way their formation experience in the different novitiates. The participants were 22 from Pinerolo and 16 from Genzano (Italy), 10 from Kopiec and 7 from Woźniaków (Poland), and 3 from Poprad (Slovakia).

Fr Marek Chrzan, Regional Councillor for Northern Europe, took part in the meeting and presided at the Eucharist on 22 May. He spoke about a risk often encountered by novices, and not only novices: we know that our vocation is a call from God and pure gift, and so “we think we are pre-chosen, better than others. We run the risk of ignoring the people we meet, or of thinking that they are less good and less close to God.” Speaking on behalf of the Rector Major, Fr Chrzan greeted the novices and hoped that they would be open and able to discover the presence of God even in unexpected situations and in people, especially in difficult young people.

In the afternoon, Fr Horacio Lopez, member of the Department of Formation, held a meeting with the novices. He spoke about the gifts of educator and pastor that should be the distinguishing marks of every Salesian. In the light of his contribution, the novices spent a suitable amount of time reflecting and sharing. While this was going on, the Novice Masters met and shared their experience of formation. 

Thursday 23 May was spent in Valdocco. They began the day with prayer in the Pinardi chapel and then continued their visit to Valdocco in groups. Mass in the Church of St Francis de Sales was celebrated by Fr Guido Errico, regional Coordinator for formation of the Italy-Middle East Region. He urged the novices not only to look to the future, to what they will be one day, but also to value the present.  “The future is important!” – he said – “but hope begins in the present, the present that you are living now as novices.”

Finally, on the morning of 24 May, Feast of Mary Help of Christians, the Rector Major met the novices and presented them what he called “the most important letter I have written during this six-year period: Vocation and Formation: gift and task.”

The novices then took part, in different ways, in the celebrations at Valdocco for the Feast of Mary Help of Christians.

Published 28/05/2013 

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