by John Roche, SDB
The December issue of the Journal of Salesian Studies opens with the second part of Fr. John Roche’s article on Salesian Evangelization. Fr. Roche, after having well-defined the context of our secular age (in the first part of this article), in his second part he addresses our response as Christians, and in particular: the grace and necessity of the Salesian charism for effective evangelization in such secular context. And it is precisely in such context that Salesian accompaniment becomes a necessity in helping the young in helping them to rediscover their desire for holiness and for authenticity. The author then moves to present us with new pathways for new evangelization. He presents different ways towards the new evangelization, including conversion and apologetics. The Salesian Youth Movement comes into play here, since it can encourage the young “in their identity, fostering their sense of community, encouraging their instinct to act in the world.” In this way, Salesian accompaniment becomes an “educative accompaniment” based on good, solid relationships. The Salesian pastoral community enhances these relationships and builds upon them. In doing so, the “act of Salesian spiritual accompaniment…is an invitation into a wider community and has a clear identity, a strong way of life, a clear path to holiness.” And it is precisely holiness that is at the core of the Salesian accompaniment. In “returning to Don Bosco”, the Salesian Family “may remain confident that the Salesian path to holiness remains an effective, authentic experience of God.” In conclusion, the author invites us to be cautious, in a globalized world, of new forms of marginalization stemming from this modern phenomenon. Evangelization “is always an act of radical spiritual accompaniment. It engages the world. In seeks encounter” rather marginalization.