We are a family: every home a school of life and love
Romina Martiniello, Assistant director of the Cagliero Project
For those of us who work in the area of Salesian Youth Ministry in Australia, the planning and running of OzBosco is a rather significant affair. It serves as our national Salesian gathering for youth; the only official occasion where our young people from all across the country are invited to come together in the name of friendship, fun and Don Bosco.
This year OzBosco celebration was hosted by St Joseph’s College, Ferntree Gully, from 28 to 30 April. About 150 young people came from the many different settings that both the Salesians and Salesian Sisters animate. We came together in the spirit of the 2017 Strenna: ‘We are a family: every home a school of life and love.’
From Friday evening to Sunday afternoon, we listened to insightful guest speakers, played awesome games and shared interesting conversations and reflections. We acknowledged the fact that we each come from our own human families and that this experience not only shapes us as individuals, but intimately informs our journey through life as young people as we walk the terrifically tumultuous path to adulthood.
On Saturday morning, Lauren Hichaaba gave a very personal keynote presentation that demonstrated the deeply formative nature of her own experience of family. She spoke about her search for love, community and belonging – something that we could all relate to at one level or another.
On Sunday, we heard from a panel of people representing different parts of the Salesian family. Br Tristan O’Brien SDB, Sr Louise McKeogh FMA, Ms Bronwyn Dean, Mr Ashley Trethowan and Mr Michael Walter reflected on their experience of living the Salesian charism. We were able to learn about their distinct experiences, many of which mirrored our own.
In true Salesian style, the weekend was filled with plenty of opportunities to run, jump, laugh and play. On Saturday evening, we all competed in an ‘amazing race’ around the school, where we were able to showcase our skills and talents to complete some epic team challenges. We were rewarded with an awesome food truck dinner before finishing the night with a celebratory bush dance! What a joy it was to dance and sing together in the name of all that is good about being Salesian!
Our weekend culminated in the celebration of Mass on Sunday afternoon, where we gave thanks for our Salesian friendships and connections, and all the richness, support and depth that they add to our lives. As we all went our separate ways once again, goodbyes were softened by the knowledge that we are family, brothers and sisters in Christ, brought together by the spirit and teachings of Don Bosco.