YOUTH GROUP SALESIAN STYLE
Don Bosco Camp Dromana (Australia)
Volleyball at the 'oratory' Fiji
|(The background to
this was a direct request from one parish where Antioch had been in existence for a number
of years but was now on the wane - yet a number of older post-Antioch young
people wanted to come together under some organized banner, and the reality of a group,
again of older teenagers-to-early-twenties which was meeting, had been doing things
together and were looking for both a name and a style that reflected their Salesian
What follows takes the following realities into account:
Salesian Youth Community
Friends of Don Bosco
Companions of Don Bosco
Young Salesian Cooperators
1.Builders of better selves
2. Builders of a better society
3. through a practical, youthful
1.Appropriate use of Scripture with increased understanding
2. Deepening of prayer life
3. Genuine apostolate/outreach
4. A Salesian style (cf animation and spirituality below)
The Preventive System of Don Bosco is interventionist, i.e. it believes that the adult, with due reverence and caution, enters the world of the young and walks with them.
adult is an animator (cf animation below)
the reality of youthful spirituality in that
the young person responds to the Spirit
an educator calls forth and guides this response
the limited experience of youth which calls for direction
The role of local clergy. Without their welcome and involvement, the aim to grow into a community of (adult) believers is hampered.
1. Animation is a way of thinking about the person - growth to maturity, inner resources, personal responsibility for ones own growth.
2. Animation is a method - selection of opportunities, experiences, resources and their organization which is flexible and growth-oriented.
3. Animation is a style of accompanying the young by means of suggestion, motivation.
4. Animations aim is life, life to the full.
5. Animation requires an animator.
6. Animation becomes an overall strategy involving time, place, experiences.
There are two fundamental prongs to the groups already existing (cf background above) which suggests a structure which is both natural and growth promoting:
The group aims to provide intense social experiences which are also a form of service. Such experience involves fun and games, outings, eating together, apostolic activity, acceptance of others no matter how different. There may be a key focus for the action (e.g. summer camps, leadership, music ministry in the parish) but it will seek to diversify, grow.
Action becomes an entry point. (cf below for some motivation also behind a good entry point).
Meetings involve those who have shown in action a commitment to or at least an openness towards commitment to the aims of the group
ii) shared reflection on experience
iii) discernment - the experience reflected on in the light of Scripture, prayer
iv) further action, resolve
i) Life is the place where we meet God (Human experience is open to being religious experience)
ii) Life in Christ (The question of meaning in life)
iii) Growth into a community of believers (Church, sacraments, Mary)
iv) Spirituality Salesian style (cf below)
A curriculum needs to be developed by the animators around these key concepts. This is the catechesis that the group provides and which can be particular to the needs and circumstances of each group. It is here that the well-developed list of topics, talks contained in Antioch manuals can be most useful. A further very useful reference is the material contained in pages 78-97 of the Acts of 23rd General Chapter of the Salesians. This material offers sets of attitudes and experiences relevant to each of the above concepts.
(A useful reference is the 23rd GC book quoted above).
1. Life - ordinary daily life is the setting for knowing and recognizing God.
2. Joy and optimism - without prejudice to commitment and responsibility.
3. Friendship with the Lord Jesus - Jesus understood as friend, teacher, model, Saviour/Redeemer. He gives hope for life lived to the full.
4. The Church - natural setting for growth in faith through the sacraments. In the Church we also find Mary as mother, first disciple.
5. Responsible service - both ordinary and extraordinary. This includes a sense of call and guidance in that call.
1. Frequency - consistency and regularity are essential whatever the rhythm of meeting and action (weekly, fortnightly, monthly...)
2. Formation - takes place as a result of both action and meeting and the essential role of the animator.
3. Entry level motivation - Look for (amongst those involved in the action)
attraction to the person of Jesus
desire to be of service.
Both are necessary, but one finds usually one or the other. Each type needs to be handled differently.
4. Formal training. At some point a weekend is necessary, though not necessarily at the beginning.
5. Renewal - essential. At some point in the course of the year - a day or a weekend.