Friday 11 November 2016

Updating of Don Bosco's Preventive System

The updating of the Preventive System has been going on: in the general chapters since the SGC 1972; in the magisterium of the Rectors Major; in the successive editions of the Youth Ministry Manual / Frame of Reference.

Some of the elements:
  • LISTENING. Wonderful that, in his account of his meeting with Bartholomew Garelli, Don Bosco presents himself as a friend who listens. One of the very first photos we have of Don Bosco is of him hearing confessions - he is not looking directly at us; he is listening to the boy making his confession. 
  • A listening that is ROOTED in Christ and the Church.
  • With a clear IDENTITY as Salesians of Don Bosco.
  • With a clear CHARISM - the Preventive System.
  • As COMMUNITY, not as individuals. Romano Guardini speaks of the death of individualism and the birth of the person - a theme taken up now by Marko Rupnik, SJ. 
  • With PROCESSES rather than isolated events.
  • In a varied set of EXPERIENCES - the settings of youth ministry.
  • And with clear LEADERSHIP - the structures of youth ministry, including the provincial formation delegates and their commissions. Improvisation is one of our enemies, and one of its children is superficiality.

These are, in fact, the various chapters of Salesian Youth Ministry: Frame of Reference (2014).

Obviously, we are in the process of recovering and re-emphasizing certain elements in the praxis of Don Bosco. I am thinking here of LISTENING and of the EDUCATIVE PASTORAL COMMUNITY - the sharing of our mission with a large number of people, including laypeople and other members of the Salesian Family. Listening probably is the key to the handling of cultural differences. EDUCATION AND EVANGELIZATION is a new way of expressing the lay dimension and the spiritual finality - good citizens and honest christians? 

But P. Chavez's Bari lecture would still be worth reading for the calls it makes to take into account the various revolutions that have taken place since the time of Don Bosco, in the church and in the world. 

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