The meeting was attended by 150 participants from 51 countries. The welcome was given by the Councillors for Youth Ministry of the Salesians and Salesian Sisters, Fr Miguel Ángel García and Sr Runita Galve Borja, respectively.
In a friendly tone, they motivated the audience to the importance of the morning’s work: to frame the motto of World Youth Day, “Mary rose and left in haste”, in the current context of the Salesian Youth Movement.
Then, under the guidance of the animators Sílvio Monteiro and Beatriz Domingos, those present left for a moment of reflection organized in four languages: Portuguese, Spanish, English and Italian. Each group had a script with questions that sought to obtain considerations and suggestions for projecting the Salesian Youth Movement worldwide. At the end, each group had to submit their conclusions through an online form to be sent to Rome.
The second part of the morning was attended by the Rector Major, Fr Ángel Artime, and Sr. Chiara Cazzuola, Mother General of the FMA. The auditorium rose to welcome them with a loud applause.
Fr. Angel took the floor, expressing his great joy at being present. Despite being on a stage, he shared that he felt like a family and that he knew that, despite the many differences among those present, all were united in the same concerns.
Next, five young people from different countries, Brazil, Italy, Mexico, Canada and the Philippines, shared their concerns in the form of questions. What to do in the face of young people moving away from the Church, or when faith becomes a burden, how to live affection with authenticity and what to do to accompany young people in their spiritual growth, were questions raised.
In simple but profound language, “from the heart”, the two leaders responded concretely to the questions, quoting several times different episodes from the life of St. John Bosco.
As Pope Francis has often called for, the Rector Major recalled the need to bear witness against the superficiality that characterizes, in part, our time. But he recognized that “swimming against the tide is tiring”, but “being a committed Christian means going against the current”, he said.
In a world that is always in a hurry, “taking time to deepen your relationship with others and with God” was Mother General’s advice.