RMG – Experiencing change as opportunity to improve: toward the "SDB Change Congress"
(ANS – Rome) – Less than a month and a half to go until the “SDB Change Congress” event (Rome, Sept. 19-23, 2022), the appointment strongly desired by the General Economer of the Salesian Congregation’s Office to “enhance the ability to network in the economic field by promoting the connection and exchange between economers.” The rich and varied stage of speakers and experts called to intervene intends to ensure a high-level formation opportunity that can lead the entire Congregation toward a sustainable economy and in the understanding of an increasingly complex world, in which the Sons of Don Bosco must be able to continue to accompany young people.
Interest in the SDB Change Congress is already extremely high, so much so that the available seats have already all been filled. Provincial Treasurers/Economers, Managers of Planning and Development Offices (PDOs), Heads of Mission Offices, Salesian NGOs, and international and third sector organizations – that is, the privileged recipients of the Congress – have joined the proposal en masse, and during the congress, in addition to receiving valuable training on highly topical issues, they will also be challenged to create collaborative networks, as the whole Congregation must prepare for the future.
The ultimate objective of the “SDB Change Congress,” in fact, is to conceive and experience change as an opportunity to improve. Specifically, the event conceived by Br. Jean Paul Muller, SDB, General Economer of the Congregation, together with his collaborators, intends to focus on five macro-areas of interest to provide solutions and guidelines to better deal with the social, economic, and environmental changes the world is experiencing. They are, in detail: Sustainable Economy, Salesian Spirituality and Leadership, Artificial Intelligence, Communication of the Future, and Corruption Prevention.
While the actual implementation of the event will take place in Rome, as Br. Muller himself explained, “many things are already underway, as the five themes are indeed being taken seriously in many Provinces. And after the Congress we shall continue to refine the themes until the next General Chapter, to improve the quality of our work for young people.”
On social networks, too, it can be said that activities have been underway for months now, with interesting stimuli and contributions on various topics being made available by the various speakers and guests who will be speaking.
“We give out answers that are no longer convincing, to questions that no one asks anymore,” is the provocation addressed by Annette Schavan, former German Federal Minister for Education and Research and Ambassador of Germany to the Holy See, who shall speak on the topic of Salesian leadership in changing times.
For his part, Ángel Gudiña, Head of Corporate Relations of “Misiones Salesianas,” the Mission Office in Madrid, observes, “Whether we like the word or not, the Salesian Congregation is a multinational youth education and youth ministry company. In fact, we are very good at it. But to maintain our ‘competitiveness’ we need to update our structures and interpersonal relationships to the 21st century to continue to reach the most vulnerable youth. And all this, without disrupting our spirituality and Salesian Charism.” “Swamped by a daunting surplus of information, in the uncomfortable position as permanent targets of skillful strategists of misinformation, never before have we been in such need of choosing which journalism to consume, so that it may truly help us read the world,” said Pietro Saccò, a journalist for Avvenire and professor of journalism at the Salesian Pontifical University, who will speak at a session on economics and media. “In the face of the globalization of indifference and the culture of waste, the urgency of a truly human alternative is emphasized. At the economic level, starting from the social magisterium of Pope Francis, this perspective is translated into the proposal of ‘an economy with a human face’ preferentially oriented toward the poorest of the poor and the promotion of integral ecology,” is instead the consideration of Salesian economist Fr. Renato Tarcizio de M. Rocha, who will speak on Sustainable Economy. “You might ask yourselves, is the change really relevant for us? It will change and challenge the young people the Salesians care about, so the Salesians have to find answers for them,” concludes, in a nutshell, Janko Jochimsen, a lawyer and consultant and longtime Salesian collaborator.
To learn about the other key players in the SDB Change Congress and stay up-to-date on all the latest developments, visit the congress website or the related accounts on social networks: the Facebook page, Instagram profile, and YouTube channel, as below.