Spain – SYM Forum: Salesian youth spirituality
(ANS – Madrid) – About 160 people attended the Salesian youth spirituality workshop this morning, August 17, held at the Salesian Sisters Centre for Advanced Studies (CES) Madrid. The initiative was promoted by the Youth Ministry Departments of the Salesians and the Sisters (FMA), in collaboration with the Spanish Youth Ministry Delegation. The Rector Major and Mother General also took part and were welcomed with enthusiasm by many other SYM leaders, together a total of 400 people.
The seminar, called a “Mini-Forum”, provided an opportunity for reflection and discussion among the various leaders of the Salesian Youth Movement (SYM); in fact, a number of delegates and others responsible for YM amongst the Salesians and the FMA were present, plus one leader from each national delegation represented at World Youth Day.
The meeting opened with a prayer to the Holy Spirit and greetings from Fr Fabio Attard and Sr. Maria del Carmen Canales, YM Councillors for the Salesians and FMA respectively, who thanked the Spanish delegation for their wonderful hospitality. “Spain is showing its true face!”, said Fr Attard.
Subsequently, participants were asked to discuss three issues in particular: select something in each ones personal story, some aspect of Salesian spirituality that has helped them to grow; share a powerful experience of encounter with Jesus, and propose concrete steps, such as SYM, which help deal with the problems of circumstances young people find themselves in today.
Divided into language groups, for about an hour, participants at the Forum produced ideas and practical suggestions which, in summary form, will be presented to all SYM youth in Madrid on Saturday morning, August 20, when the various national groups will meet at Carabanchel on the esplanade at Cuatro Vientos, where the Vigil and Closing Mass of World Youth Day will be held.
In their group work the the young people also prepared questions to be submitted to the Rector Major and the Mother General on their arrival at 11:30 where they were enthusiastically welcomed to the tune of the song “Father, Teacher and Friend” (Padre, Maestro e Amico).
The topics the young people touched on concerned: The constantly valid elements of the Preventive System in need of renewal; the Salesian Family position as regards Africa and in particular inter-religious strife; the troubling gap between faith and daily life of young Australians; what the SYM can offer young people disillusioned by the contradictions of the society so that they might be able to dream again, and find reasons for commitment.
The Mini-Forum ended with a group photo and Mass at which the Rector Major presided.