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24/1/2013 - RMG - Rector Major’s Good Night at the conclusion of the General Council’s Winter Session
Photograph available in Image Bank

(ANS – Rome) – Yesterday evening, 23 January, the Rector Major gave the Good Night to Salesians at the Generalate explaining what had taken place in the Winter Session of the General Council. The official conclusion to the Session is tomorrow, 25 January.

The Winter Session began towards the end of November, with the meeting of European Provincials who were evaluating progress in Project Europe (PE) as a basis for information to be forwarded to General Chapter 27. The Rector Major made the point that PE is a project of the Congregation – attested to by the presence of all the General Councillors – and is different from earlier Projects. It is based on the inward revitalisation of the charism on the part of Salesians, and then leads to us asking ourselves today where our activity can be more socially significant and pastorally and vocationally fruitful (restructuring), and considering the old continent as mission territory (sending missionaries.

There were two special activities which also involved the General Council over December and January: the course for newly appointed provincials, “an initiative of great value for identity, unity and vitality in the Congregation and which requires much time, dedication and energy”; the Salesian Family Spirituality Days, “an experience which has become ever more involving and effective in the charismatic growth of the Salesian Family of Don Bosco, encouraging team effort around the Strenna theme”.

During the 24 sittings of the Council they:

  • appointed 4 Provincials; Fr Francois Dufour, reconfirmed as Superior of the Southern Africa Vice Province, Fr Gabino Hernández, for the Mexico–Mexico Province, and Fr Andrzej Wujek for Warsaw, Poland, Fr Daniel Federspiel for France- Belgium South.
  • studied 8 reports of Extraordinary Visitations: Argentina South, India–New Delhi, English-speaking West Africa, Haiti, Bolivia, Korea, Czech Republic and Spain-Barcelona.
  • Distributed funds from the Mission Offices and approved the budget for 2013.

Councillors took up a number of topics.
The first was the rethinking of Youth Ministry, an issue especially requested by General Chapter 26. Fr Attard presented a first draft of the document drawn up by a team of experts, a commission and reports coming from the Provinces. The Council will come back to issue on the Summer Session to draw up a final text to present to GC27.

The outline of a report for GC27 was drawn up. Councillors for Regions and sectors, as well as other leadership groups in the Congregation have until the end of July 2013 to hand in their material so that a final text can be drawn up relating the current status of things and directions for future development.

The Rector Major also spoke of the financial crisis affecting solidarity efforts for particularly needy situations.

In reference to Salesian work in North Africa, while Morocco will continue to belong to France-Belgium South Province, Tunisia will now come under Sicily Province. In both cases the personnel will be provided by the Rector Major and his Council.

He spoke too, once again, of Don Bosco International as a body that will increasingly become the civil face of the Congregation in Europe, especially for questions which touch on the Salesian mission, and especially in matters concerning the promotion of human rights.

Some General Council sessions were dedicated to: continued reflection on the question of the Congregation's government and leadership (animation) structures, the Postulation for Causes of Salesian Saints, and preparation for GC27.

Before concluding, the Rector Major spoke of his state of health which has made good progress over recent months, and that following medical advice he hopes to be able to establish his agenda for the immediate future

Published 24/01/2013

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