I found myself moved to realise how Don Bosco is still alive today when we are, in fact, signs and bearers of God’s love for young people, our burning bush, as our Rector Major says.
These were days of the Church’s youth, eminently Salesian days. Between smiles, songs, celebrations, dancing, prayer, catechesis and meetings, we felt what a young Church we are. Lisbon and our houses were filled with colour, movement and young people, and it was really good. It didn’t matter where we came from, it was us: this broad Salesian youth movement that is a reference point throughout the world
D. Bosco and his followers. In the glossolalia of languages, we learnt the richness of expression in the smile, the clear look of true joy, the peace made real in so many gestures, attentions and kindness. How much we have to thank God for our charism of simple, festive and profound spirituality; how much we have to thank the many around the world who want to keep alive the spirit of Valdocco, the courtyard of joy, the house that welcomes, the shared life.
As a Salesian, I have often found myself contemplating the richness of God present in young people. I have often found myself wishing that this epiphany of the Lord with a young face, where we find meaning and depth to our consecration as Salesians, would never end. I found myself moved to realise how Don Bosco is still alive today when we are, in fact, signs and bearers of God’s love for young people, our burning bush, as our Rector Major says.
That’s why we can say that it was worth it. We gave everything. We received much more. Everyone’s generosity helped make our houses a home for all these young people. And in that sense, we still need to say thank you and never stop doing so. To those who have been involved in the organisation for so long. The volunteers. The young people. The staff. People of good will. The sponsors and benefactors. To everyone. With a sense of gratitude, but also of duty well done. With enormous pride: we were all part of something great. I too, we too, contributed to this day being remembered by all those who took part. Not just the young people who came from all over the world. But each and every one of us. The Lord accompanied us with the good news of his Gospel, which we made a reality here. Mary Help of Christians welcomed us with her protective mantle. Don Bosco jumped for joy in our courtyards, directed our steps in the city, was the first to show us the way, made himself a pilgrim to take us to the Hill of Encounters, the Field of Grace, the City of Joy, making us relive what is really worthwhile: sharing life, giving everything, so that young people can be happy here and in eternity, expanding their faith, their love for Jesus and the Church, being young today!
It was worth it. Really. To all the young people of the world, we thank you for coming to us and for leaving us and helping us to be Salesians of Don Bosco, today, for everyone!