The bicentenary year of Don Bosco’s Dream as a nine-year-old aims to be a year of return to the roots of the essence of the charism for Salesians around the world. That is why in the Salesian cradle of Valdocco, and more precisely from the world spiritual centre of Salesianity, the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians, in the Salesian month of January there will be two different in-depth initiatives on the theme of the “dream that makes you dream”: an exhibition and three evenings devoted to specific topics – the first of which will feature Cardinal Ángel Fernández Artime, Rector Major of the Salesians of Don Bosco.
Don Bosco’s Dream as a nine-year-old is the dream that determined his entire life and work. As the Salesian historian Fr Pietro Stella wrote, it is “the dream that conditioned the whole way of living and thinking of Don Bosco”.
Precisely for this reason, at the initiative of the Rector of the Basilica, Fr Michele Viviano, an exhibition in 12 panels has been prepared for the beginning of the bicentenary year, which will be exhibited throughout the month of January, each panel displaying a sentence from this dream as Don Bosco himself told it. Each sentence then has a brief comment, or reinterpretation updated by the Rector Major, taken from the Strenna for 2024 which has as its title: “‘The dream that makes you dream’. A heart that transforms ‘wolves’ into ‘lambs’”.
This is a way of promoting an interpretation of the dream in its essential and fundamental passages and its immediate transposition into today’s circumstances.
In addition to this initiative, as a way of preparing for the feast of Don Bosco on 31 January and to help people immerse themselves more and more in the understanding of the dream and its meaning for the entire Salesian Family, three evenings of reflection and in-depth study have been organised, in an attempt to grasp the different aspects:
– Monday, 8 January at 8:30 pm, the Rector Major himself will offer a Salesian interpretation of the dream for today;
– Monday, 15 January also at 8:30 pm, the Rector Magnificus of the Pontifical Salesian University (UPS) in Rome, Fr Andrea Bozzolo, will offer a theological interpretation;
– finally, on Monday, 22 January at the same time, it will be Fr Francesco Motto’s turn as a member of the Salesian Historical Institute (ISS) in Rome, to offer a critical and historical interpretation of the dream.
The three evenings will be preceded by the screening of an introductory video, different for each evening, focused on that evening’s topic; and the possibility of a live webcast on the basilica’s YouTube channel will be confirmed in the coming days.
“As the Rector Major says, I really want this dream to continue to make every Salesian and every member of the Salesian Family dream, and become a reality,” Fr Viviano comments for his part.
He then concludes: “Only by discovering and realising the dream that God has for each of us, will our our lives become happier and be of greater quality for each of us and our young people. ‘I have only one wish’, ‘to see you happy in time and eternity.’”