(ANS – Montevideo) – Consecrated Salesians, lay people and young people from all the presences that make up the “St. Joseph” Province of Uruguay (URU) celebrated the Pre-Chapter Assembly on Tuesday 22 November, with the aim of discerning and identifying the most essential to work on in the Provincial Chapter scheduled for February next year. Also taking part in this meeting was Fr Gabriel Romero, Councilor for the Salesian Region of America South Cone, who offered his point of view on the Salesian mission in Uruguay at the end of his Extraordinary Visit to the Province.

During the Provincial Chapter the Salesians and their collaborators will try to discern the steps to be taken to plan together the “Salesian Uruguay” which they dream of building together.

In view of that appointment, the pre-chapter assembly began in the premises of the “John XXIII” Salesian institute, with a prayer led by the “Hay Algo Más” group.

Then, in the Auditorium of the Salesian Institute of Formation (ISF), the Provincial of URU, Fr Alfonso Bauer, invited everyone to take up the image of the fire, present in the Salesian Educational Pastoral Project of the Province (PEPSI), and to reflect on “how is our fire, our life, our interiority; how to get to touch the most authentic place, starting from God, from our charism”.

Then, Fr Bauer illustrated the three conditions necessary for the Chapter and in its preparation: synodality, since “this journey is made together”; discernment, because “we must listen to what God wants from us, from our Province, for our mission”; and, finally, co-responsibility, because “everyone is responsible in the place where they are so that what we discern, God’s plan, can be put into practice”.

After some interventions by the Moderator, Fr Sebastián Ferreyra, and by Dr. Sofia Gutfraind, of the Province coordination team, on the main aspects of the Chapter process, Fr Romero intervened, offering his point of view and sharing the dreams and the hopes he encountered in Salesian Uruguay.

Among these, he pointed out: the desire for a heartfelt and cared for fraternity; a spirituality and an ecological awareness increasingly integrated in the educational-pastoral proposal; the hope of being able to tackle the pastoral work of accompaniment of young university students with more decision; and the dream of strengthening the network of speakers and the training of animators.

Then Fr Romero also outlined what characterizes the way of incarnating the Salesian charism in Uruguay and highlighted the rich variety of Salesian presences; shared work with the laity, with a good group of generous and professional lay people who share charism and responsibility; the option for popular environments and for the poorest young people; the strong preparation for entering the world of work and the quality of the preparation for entry to university of the graduates; the missionary commitment, the Salesian Youth Movement and the oratories.

Finally, the Regional Councilor also highlighted some threats to pay attention to and the potential that can help to make progress in creative fidelity and what the Congregation requires.

The assembly was then completed with group work to identify the themes of the Provincial Chapter, a summary presentation of what was shared and the final prayer.

Uruguay – Pre-Chapter Assembly of “St. Joseph” Province, with the presence of Regional Councilor for America South Cone