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4/12/2012 - RMG - Commission for Project Europe
Photograph available in Image Bank

(ANS – Rome) – The Project Europe Commission met on Sunday afternoon, December 2nd, following the 4th Meeting of Provincials in Europe. It has now completed its work of reflection, accompaniment, encouragement and animation of Project Europe (PE). This indeed was its last meeting.

In this last session, the working group set up by the Rector Major immediately after launching PE, took into consideration the same questions the Provincials were asked regarding evaluation of PE (results achieved or not, expectations) and the future (what to improve, change or introduce).

The Commission's assessment coincided with those given by the Provincials. The PE was first and foremost a commitment of the Provinces that has brought a way to fulfil the General Chapter 26 together as a common vision. The revitalization and redevelopment of Provinces in Europe from within has been fundamental to the process. The Casket of Don Bosco, which has just visited Spain and France, will be an additional help for the enrichment of the spiritual and charismatic experience of young people and the Salesian Family, as well as of the Church and each local area. The Chapters, which will take place in Provinces over these months, will provide additional information on the subject of Witnesses to the Radical Approach of the Gospel for personal and community conversion.

The reshaping of Salesian presences in the Provinces is still something that takes courage to decide.

It was noted, with regard to the reception and sending of missionaries that despite the inevitable difficulties, there has been a good response; there are currently 68 missionaries who have come to Europe. What is difficult is not just language learning, understanding the context and cultural preparation, but defining the profile of the missionary for the new continent whose task is to stand by the poorest youth and take on the task of the New Evangelization. It is not a case of proclaiming the Gospel to people who await it with joy and hope, but to those who are indifferent to the faith and alienated from the Church; people who live in the absence of God without realizing that this is a problem. We need to keep fostering missionary vocations for Europe; the presence of the Regional Councillors at the meeting in Rome will also encourage vocational enthusiasm for Europe.

There were also prospects for the future. The topics of New Evangelization and migration are for now left to the work of individual Provinces, but will be taken up again after GC27. What is crucial especially for the Provinces of Europe is to understand the meaning of pastoral conversion in new contexts and for new questions of young people.

What will also be of extreme importance is not only to continue the current forms of cooperation between the Provinces of Europe, but also to identify areas in which the mentality of "networking" can operate between Provinces and with the Salesian family: to study joint projects together. It would help, for example, to understand what initial formation in Europe would be like in interprovincial formation communities or what kind in ministry in Europe would best benefit New Evangelization and migrants.

PE is certainly promising in terms of areas to accomplish, both for the European Provinces as well as for the entire Congregation. Everyone needs spiritual and pastoral conversion in particular.

Sunday afternoon's meeting was the 8th meeting of the Committee; three meetings were held in Rome at the end of the meetings of the European Provincials (November 2008, 2010 and 2012); others were held at Fatima, Częstochowa, Santiago de Compostela, Rome, Turin, places that evoke the spiritual history of Europe and of the Congregation.

Published 04/12/2012

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