By Renato Cursi
The Congress is the centre piece of a wider process of reflection and discernment which the Congregation is undertaking in tune with the whole Church.
In 2014, Pope Francis convened the 3rd Extraordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the topic "Pastoral Challenges for the Family in the Context of Evangelization". This followed one year after his 14th Ordinary Assembly on the theme "Vocation and the mission of the family in the Church and in the contemporary world."
For the next Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops (October 2018), the Holy Father finally chose the theme "Young people, faith and vocational discernment".
From the point of view of chronology and content, the International Congress is therefore halfway between these recent Assemblies of the Synod of Bishops which called for reflection not only on the care of families in Salesian pastoral ministry, but above all on the involvement of families in Salesian youth ministry.
Pope Benedict XVI, when he addressed the Salesians at the 26th General Chapter on 31 March 2008, said that "working for families does not take from the work for young people but makes it more enduring and more effective."
On 24 May 2015, Pope Francis, during the celebrations in Turin for the Bicentenary of Don Bosco's birth, said that “involving the families of young people" was "indispensable".
Fr Attard explains how we are to respond today to this call, "that the joy of love - Amoris Laetitia - may become an opportunity to give families their rightful role in the mission for the good of the young."
The official website of the International Congress is available in Italian, English, Spanish, French and Portuguese at: www.symfamily17.org