(ANS - Nairobi) - The participants in the Africa-Madagascar Region Visit have experienced the second day of work, yesterday, 21 February, reflecting on the question posed by the General Councilor for Formation, Fr. Ivo Coelho, in the homily of the Morning Eucharist: "How can we be credible signs of God's love for the young?" The two morning sessions were dedicated to a profound reflection on the quality of the training. With his intervention, Fr. Coelho urged the representatives of the entire region to pay attention to the two dimensions of Salesian consecrated life:
laical and clerical, once again reiterating that each confrere is first Salesian and then a priest or coadjutor. In the context of ongoing formation he asked the Superiors and their Councils to contribute to the personnel of the Regional Salesian Permanent Training Center (SAFCAM, in English), erected in Nairobi with the approval of the Rector Major. And, in conclusion, he also spoke about the importance of training for trainers.
In the end, Don Coelho left three open questions for the reflection of all those present: Salesian representatives from all over Africa and Madagascar confronted themselves on the roots of the crisis of the vocation of the Salesian coadjutor; have indicated that they use multiple criteria for the choice of trainers, not just academic achievements; and have made proposals on collaboration with the laity, including that of carrying out a joint formation between lay and consecrated persons.
At the end of the session on Salesian Formation, the Rector Major, Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, recalled that he always considered the young poor as priorities for the Salesian mission. "Being a Salesian means preferring poor youth. This is our DNA, "he said. And as regards the laity he added that administrative tasks should be delegated to them.
In the afternoon sessions the starting point was offered by the report of the General Bursar, Mr. Jean Paul Muller. In his speech, Mr. Muller stressed that the economy should always be made available to the mission and indicated that it is necessary to check whether the educational works offered really meet the needs of the labor market that awaits the young. He concluded by stating that young people do not believe so much in words, but in facts, and that the "Valdocco model" remains an inspiration for all Salesian presences.
The General Econome was followed by Fr TJ George, Director of the technical-professional training project "DBTECH-Africa", who informed about the numerous technical-professional training programs already launched all over the continent, and made available of Superiors and their Councils for other future initiatives at the service of young Africans.
The second day of work was then concluded with a final session of reflection and proposals on how to offer a better service to the young and, finally, with the intervention of synthesis by the Rector Major.