WHY BI-CENTENARY ? Rather, Why not?
“Why BiCentenary”? Well, the birth of Don Bosco on 16th August 1815, is indeed, an historical event deserving of a worthy celebration to gratefully acknowledge and commemorate a humble country Priest whose life and ministry as a Pastor and Educator, made a tremendous impact not only on the lives of marginalized youth and poor people of his time, two centuries ago, but continued to inspire and benefit young people and inspire Youth Workers and Educators over the years and across countries, leading to this moment in history, the Bi-centenary Year, 2015.
In the field of Education and Spirituality, Don Bosco, very much present in the Salesian Family he established and the Religious Congregations he founded, remains very relevant today both, as Pastor and Educator. His spiritual message, “God’s will is your holiness” and his educative method based on “Reason, Religion and Loving-kindness” appeal to the young and the old. This legacy of Youth Ministry must live on. Hence, no question about “Why Bicentenary”?
Rather than “Why Bi-Centenary” perhaps the question to be asked is “How Bi-Centenary ?” In fact, the Salesian Family, over the last three years began a spiritual preparation with the “pilgrim Don Bosco” visiting the Salesian world and arousing a greater commitment to the Salesian Charism. Careful to sidestep vain and expensive triumphalism, the emphasis, as clearly indicated by the GC27 (27th General Chapter) has been “to return to Don Bosco” by reclaiming the Salesian Identity: to be “Mystics in the Spirit,Prophets of fraternity and Servants of the youth”.
“Returning to Don Bosco” as a theme of the Bi-centenary obviously suggests that the tone of the celebrations must be less about building monuments’ staging performances and multiplying activities but more about the ‘rebirth’ of Don Bosco’s Spirituality in every individual Salesian.“Why Bi-centenary”? The answer is clearly written in the “How Bi-centenary” programme of celebrations and the message is “Be Holy, as I am Holy”.