Fr. Pascual Chavez, the Rector Major wrote: «More than a crisis of identity, I think that what we Salesians are experiencing today is a crisis of credibility… there is resistance to change, unconscious rather than deliberate. Even though we are convinced of the efficacy of evangelical values we find it difficult to reach the hearts of the young, for whom we should be signs of hope.» (Rector Major on 8th April 2012, convoking GC27)
Forty eight delegates from 11 provinces of Social Communication of South Asian region along with the Salesian Sisters (4) representing their six provinces, Jesuit(1) and diocesan(1) representatives gathered for a study day and General Assembly at the Salesian Provincial House, Mumbai (15th – 18th October 2013). They deliberated on the theme ‘Social Media and Salesian Youth Ministry’.
Through six presentations followed by interactions the assembly realised that the exponentially growing trends in social media are now the vibrant ‘Digital Playgrounds’ where youth hangout. Digital Media is going viral from the traditional ‘Analogue’ culture of the alphabet that exerts command and control to the expanding culture of ‘Virtual’ which is free and open.
The youth by virtue of these new platforms of interaction find themselves in constant connect with the world, without which they find difficult to survive. As media practitioners and youth ministers we realise that our presence in this digital world is inevitable without which we are left out. In the face-to-face interaction with 48 youth of the Don Bosco Learning centre, Kurla, we were challenged to plunge and accompany them in their virtual world as ‘Shepherds’.
This is possible when we focus on the PERSON rooted in CHRIST, deepened in the Silent moments of prayer and reflection on the Word of God, like Mary our guide. Though we are from diverse states, cultures, habits and attitudes, we are ONE body with a common mission. This inspires us to pool our resources in synergy and embark on a journey into the digital world accompanying the young.
We share the anxieties and hopes of the young and being prophets in their midst, like DON BOSCO, a catalyst in the use of media, we build relationships, appreciate and acquire their skills, making them conscious of social issues, helping them to participate and connect them to the real world.
We pledge to –
- form ourselves and the young Salesians in Social Media Skills to enter into the digital spaces of the young.
- listen to the young, and create content that will engage them in constant rapport which will transform their lives.
- build NETWORKS between the provinces to share personnel/resources to be more effective in our ministry.