Without the others we cannot be ourselves10 March 2022
CANÇÃO NOVA - A gift at the service of evangelization
"The Spirit of God distributes different charisms to the faithful «for the common good » (1Cor 12,7), inserting them harmoniously into the life of the Church in view of its mission of the salvation of humanity”. (Identity Card of the Salesian Family)
The Canção Nova Community is one of the many charisms that the Spirit of God has raised up in the Church throughout history. Father Jonas Abib, a Salesian priest, authentic son of Don Bosco writes: "I never intended to 'found' anything and even less to be a 'founder'. Saying that Canção Nova is a "foundation", I affirm that "it was God who founded it". He had designs about it".
In 1976, Dom Antônio Afonso de Miranda, then Bishop of the Diocese of Lorena, had received, first hand, the typical edition of Pope Paul VI's apostolic exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi. Impressed by the content of this document, he wanted to begin right away with a concrete work of evangelization and catechesis, and he chose to begin with the young people who, at that time, had an active movement in the diocese. To this end he commissioned Father Jonas Abib to carry out with the young people with whom he worked what is stated in number 44 of Evangelii Nuntiandi: "It is evident that the conditions of today's world make catechetical teaching, in the form of a catechumenate, ever more urgent for the many young people and adults who, touched by grace, gradually discover the face of Christ and experience the need to entrust themselves to him. (EN 44). The diocesan bishop's sending resulted in an intense work of catechesis which, at the time, was called the "Catechumenate". Those young people received a solid formation from the Church in living the Gospel. The facts showed that there was inspiration in the appointment of Dom Antônio.
Those young people were enthusiastic, they were touched by grace, they discovered the person of Christ in a new way and felt the need to give themselves to Him. After two years of the "Catechumenate Jonas launched the following challenge: "Who was willing to leave his home and come to live in community, to carry out the kind of work that was being done? On February 2, 1978, a group began to live in community.
Looking back at history, we recognise our calling and our sending forth. We were born from the call that the diocesan bishop made in the face of the word of the Church, which urged the need to evangelise in today's world, and for this we were sent. When Dom Antônio pointed out the number of Evangelii Nuntiandi, certainly he did not imagine that he was also pointing out the following number, which dealt with the duty of all Christians to use all the new means of communication for the proclamation of Christ's message: "the Church would feel guilty before her Lord if she did not make use of these powerful means which human intelligence perfects daily" (Evangelii Nuntiandi, n. 45).
We too, only after some time spent working in the media, have become aware of the link between n. 44, which speaks of a catechumenate, and n. 45, which points to the media. We recognise there a design of God. He has destined us for evangelisation and has also indicated a specific field: evangelisation through the media.
Like Don Bosco's motto, da mihi animas cetera tolle (give me souls and keep the rest), Fr Jonas Abib has a great love for the mission and the salvation of souls. Our project, as we call it, is the Give me souls project. We are not a model of life that is already perfect, but a model of life that is sweating, struggling day by day in this school of holiness to pass from the old man to the new man. We are formed in the workshop of life. A process that will take a lifetime to "bring out" and bring to light the new man, the new creature in the image of Jesus Christ, the New Man.
Vera Lúcia Reis