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Strenna 2013: ''Don Bosco the Educator''

By Chris Valentino
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Abroad, Jun. 6. The first act of the Rector Major - Fr. Pascual Chavez at the summer plenary session of the General Council, was to present the Strenna 2013: ''Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I say, rejoice'' (Phil. 4:4) ''Like Don Bosco the educator, we offer young people the Gospel of joy through a pedagogy of kindness.''
It is the fervent wish of Fr Chavez that during the preparation process for the Bicentenary of Don Bosco's birth, one would get to know him by seeing him as the educator and deepen the understanding and updating of the Preventive System.
Explaining his choice of topic and its content, Fr Ch�vez states: ''A deeper study of Salesian pedagogy is certainly necessary... to update it according to the sensitivity and demands of our time... and to appropriate the content and approach of what Don Bosco offered in educative and pastoral terms.''
Taking into account the historical understanding of Don Bosco's approach derived from the insights which were already present in his experience of the Oratory at the Pinardi house, ''that would afterwards acquire a deeper value as part of a complex human and Christian synthesis,'' it is a re-discovery of  the Preventive System.
Fr Chavez further states: ''Once we have a correct understanding of the past, we need to translate the major insights and virtues of the Preventive System for today... to the advantage of the formation of the 'new' youth of the 21st Century called to experience and deal with a vast, totally new range of circumstances and problems in times which have changed decisively, and which the human sciences themselves are now critically reflecting upon.''
Fr Chavez presents three particular perspectives, which when analysed in-depth will initiate a process of modernisation:
1.Relaunching the idea of ''upright citizen'' and ''good Christian''
2.Return to the young with better preparedness
3.Education of the heart
The Rector Major provides a basic tool for reflection and action to be engaged in by the educative and pastoral community, as also the various Salesian Family commissions or coordinating bodies. He also suggests some evaluation processes, engaging attitudes and possibilities for planning.
Fr Ch�vez also offers a bibliographical set of references: 1. The Preventive System in the Education of Youth, 2. Letter from Rome, and 3. Lives of Dominic Savio, Michael Magone, Francis  Besucco ''all written by Don Bosco illustrating his educational experience and his pedagogical options.''

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