We neither walk alone nor comfortably, but we walk with “a heart that does not rest, that does not close in on itself but beats to the rhythm of a journey undertaken together with all the people faithful to God.” We walk becoming all things to all people, with the goal of helping others. – Pope Francis
I hope all of you have had a chance to meet some the Salesian Sisters that have visited our Parish Family this weekend. We are blessed to be able to honor them on November 18 with our Vocations Dinner, details of this wonderful event can be found here. Their focus and direction are exactly the reason Father John and our entire parish has dedicated ourselves to this campaign, this Life Center, and the transformation of the church to Build Our Future, Serve Our Past.
The Salesian order of the Catholic Church stems from the work of Saint John Bosco, also known as Don Bosco, an Italian priest born in 1815. Don Bosco realized when he was ministering to the population of Turin that he was not seeing the youth of the area coming to church. Instead, they were working every single day in the city, due to their poverty, industrialization, and disadvantages which did not allow them to focus on their faith. Instead of just sitting back in his church, he decided it was necessary to go out to where the boys of the city were gathering, in the shops and markets. He did not just focus on their religious involvement, but showed God’s love and mercy for these youths by helping them find jobs, education, and joy in their lives. By going out to the youth and engaging them in their activities with a faithful and supportive environment, he transformed their lives. He developed an educational system based on three core fundamentals: reason, religion, and loving-kindness. These are the core tenants of the Salesian program that currently runs the only Catholic High School in Naples. The area is blessed to have Sister Pat and the rest of the Sisters as part of our community.
While it is clear that Naples is not the Industrial-Age city of Turin, the exact same problems with engaging the youth are happening today. The secular world around our youth is pulling them in different directions, from school to sports to social activities. By journeying with them and infusing faith into their activities, we will enliven the future of the Church by building strong, engaged Catholics. We will not be able to do that by dictating their involvement or by forcing them into programs by holding the sacraments hostage, but by using Don Bosco’s own words:
Let the boys have full liberty to jump run and shout as much as they please. Catechesis, music, declamation, dramatics and outings are most effective means of obtaining discipline and promoting morality and health.
– Saint John Bosco
While the money has been pledged in our Build Our Future, Serve Our Past capital campaign to build our Life Center and some of our other urgent needs, we still need our entire Parish Family to give in order to reach our additional goals, including the detailed execution of the above programs. If you have any questions, please contact Joe Lichwalla, the Campaign Coordinator at 239-495-2001 or email: email@example.com.
You can also learn more information about our Capital Campaign at: http://www.sjecc.com/future