Salesian Youth Movement
The identity and nature of the SYM
The SYM is identifi ed by two elements in particular: on the one hand, reference to Salesian Youth Spirituality and Salesian pedagogy; on the other, the links between groups and associations so that they can mutually cooperate in the task of formation according to what is laid down by the Salesian educational and pastoral approach:
- the SYM unites young people from very different groups, associations and sectors animated by Salesian Youth Spirituality, following Don Bosco’s proposition regarding education and evangelisation: it is a youth movement inspired by Don Bosco, conceived of not just as an “organisation”, but as a kind of spiritual energy with a common nucleus of Gospel values that gives rise to apostolic initiative and enthusiasm for life. Therefore the identity of the SYM is Salesian Youth Spirituality (see Chapter 4), invitation to holiness in ordinary daily life. This is the kind of holiness achieved by Dominic Savio, Laura Vicuña and so many others in the Salesian Family;
- groups are the primary element of the SYM, where young people meet and help on another as they grow. We should bring already existing groups together in a Provincial network and include new ones coming into being. So the first focus is not on the kind of group it is. The SYM sees the value of any kind of group: from sports groups to artistic ones; from those that are simply about coming together to those that prefer some specific activity; from service groups to prayer groups or those that take up an explicit response to the Church and the Christian message; from those focused on things that are of most interest to teenagers to those ready to tackle the demands of faith; from those who are on the fringes of the Christian community to those whose sense of belonging to the Church is very much stronger. Since they com- municate with one another, they are a network where they all share a common educational value. This bond between groups comes into play in the sharing of Salesian values and where there is some coordination of common initiatives, significant occasions for dialogue, discussion, Christian formation and youthful expres- sion (cf. GC23, nos.275-277). So we are talking about a reference Movement where each group retains its own specific character but is united with the others by a range of common elements.
Preferential fields of activity for the SYM
The SYM activities are all based on the young person and has a preference for the following fields of activity:
- education and evangelisation, accompanying young people to the fullness of Christian life through positive and supportive settings (concrete alternative models of Christian living), which breathe confidence and familiarity;
- social and ecclesial life, encouraging young people to become actively involved in the Church’s life;
- personal and/or community apostolic involvement, voluntary service to others and offering a Salesian interpretation of daily life in the light of the Gospel;
- socio-political involvement, especially in civil institutions that promote youth initiatives;
- communication and sharing processes (information, news, experiences) and also common gatherings at various levels, as possibilities exist.
The SALESIAN YOUTH MOVEMENT forms part of the vast Salesian movement whose main goal is to form young people into “good Christians and upright citizens”.
It is a movement of an educative character offered to all youngsters, to make them subjects and protagonists of their own human and Christian growth with a missionary slant, open also to non members, with the will to play an effective part in the local area and to be positively inserted into the local Church.
It is loosely coordinated around the Salesian Youth Movement Council made up of Salesian, lay and youth representatives from the different national groups, with the assistance of the SYM-Philippine Secretariat made up of full time, part time and volunteer workers under the guidance of the Youth Pastoral Delegate and the Youth Pastoral Team member in charge of the Area on Group Experience.
The movement’s common identity is by practicing in one’s life the Salesian Youth Spirituality with the elements:
a) The spirituality of the daily life
b) The spirituality of optimism and joy
c) The spirituality of friendship with Jesus
d) The spirituality of communion with the Church
e) The spirituality of responsible service
The National Associations that belong to SYM-SDB are the following:
- Knights of the Altar (KOA) – Altar servers
- Lilies of the Altar (LOA) – Liturgical dancers
- Juventus – Mass media and Catechesis
- Auxilium – Marian devotion esp. to Mary Help of Christians
- Savio Friends – Leadership as inspired by St. Dominic Savio
- Friends of Laura Vicuna (FLV) – Advocates on behalf of children’s right
- Biblos – Propagation of devotion to the Holy Bible
A group introduced in FIS but is not recognized yet as National Association:
- Zatti Friends – Wellness and healthy living as inspired by Bl. Artemide Zatti
In the FIS province, aside from the weekday encounters with their groups, the SYM-SDB promotes leadership training for its members through the following annual and regular programs:
1. YE-FSW: Youth Encounter Facilitators’ Seminar and Workshop
2. SALT Camp: Salesian Leadership Training Camp
3. YM 101,102, & 103: Basic Course on Youth Ministry, Planning, and Group Building activities (plus module making)
4. LAF: Leaders and Animators Formation
5. iDBYC/ idWYD: Inter Don Bosco Youth Clubs & Inter Don Bosco World Youth Day celebrations
6. KAC: Kool Adventure Camp in coordination with Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc.
8. Sponsoring SYM participants to John Paul II Catechetical Youth Ministry and Conferences
SYM is a proud member of the Federation of National Youth Organization (FNYO) of the Philippines.