(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Monday met with members of the 27th General Chapter of the Salesians of Don Bosco. The theme of the chapter is “Witnesses to the Radical Approach of the Gospel.”
In his address, the Holy Father said the Holy Spirit would assist the religious institute to understand the expectations and challenges of our time, especially those of the young people whose formation is the basis of the congregation’s main apostolate.
Pope Francis told the Salesians the evangelization of young people is closely connected with education, and he encouraged them in their efforts to respond to the current educational crisis, while always remembering the “Preventive System” of St. John Bosco, which is based on kindness and friendship with pupils.
He also spoke of the life of exclusion many young people face. “Think of the vast reality of unemployment, with all of the negative consequences,” said Pope Francis. “Think of the addictions, which sadly are manifold, but stem from a common root of an absence of true love. Reaching marginalized youth requires courage, maturity and much prayer.”
He urged the Salesians to use “careful discernment” when sending people to the peripheries inhabited by these excluded youth.
The Holy Father also encouraged the community life of the Salesians, which he said supports their entire apostolate. “The humanizing power of the Gospel is demonstrated by the fraternity lived in community, comprised of welcome, respect, mutual help , understanding , kindness , forgiveness and joy,” said the Pope. “The familial spirit bequeathed by Don Bosco is a great help in this respect, encouraging perseverance and building an attraction to the consecrated life.”
During their General Chapter, the Salesians elected Don Angel Fernandez Artime as the 10th Rector Major, commonly referred to as the successor of Saint John Bosco.