N. 72 - December 2014
Newsletter for Salesian Missionary Animation
A Publication of the Mission Department
for the Salesian Communities and Friends of the Salesian Mission
Dear broth ers, dear friends, I remember that once, in an Afri can country, an elderly lady made this comment about an old and holy missionary: “his beard is white and long, but the eyes are those of a child.” And in fact, it was just so! The missionary ad gentes must nec essarily “become like a child.” Begin to learn everything: talk, greet, eat, dress.
And so little by little, his soul and his eyes become like that of a child, ex actly as Jesus wants, “unless you be come like children, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven!” For this reason the missionary ex periences a very particular charm in contemplating the eyes of the Child Jesus, who became small for the sake of all peoples, of all cultures, of all nations! I wish you a fruitful and happy Christmas 2014! Time to become “like children.” Time to look with the clear eyes of the Child Jesus, and make these eyes a missionary school.
Learn to be a missionary contemplat ing: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God!” Thanks! Fr. Guillermo Basañes SDB Councillor for the missions Celebrate the Bicentenary of Don Bosco’s birth by contributing to the missionary activities of our Society “… I want to say something simple and clear: The missionary dimension is part of our IDENTITY and that cultural diversity, a multicultural and intercultural situation are a treasure towards which in this six year period we are advancing. … The Pope is calling for the Evangelisation of all peoples and we are directing our gaze, always so as to recognise ourselves in our identity, on the missionary character of our Congregation. Don Bosco wanted the Salesian Society to be determinedly missionary. In 1875, from among the small group of the first Salesians, he chose ten to go to America; before his death he had already sent 10 missionary expeditions and the 153 who were in America at the time of his death were almost 20% of the Salesians at the time according to the Elenco of the Congregation for 1888.
This missionary identity, preserved and cultivated as the years passed led the Special General Chapter to make a special appeal which I want to renew today, on the threshold of the Bicentenary of the birth of Don Bosco and as a living homage to him: “The Special General Chapter appeals to all the provinces and even to those who are poorest in numbers so that by obeying the invitation of the Council and following the courageous example of our Founder they may contribute, even in a temporary manner, to the spread of the kingdom of God.”(SGC, n.477) I sincerely believe dear Confreres that this call remains fully relevant in the current situation of our Congregation. When I speak about a homage to Don Bosco on the celebration of the Bicentenary of his birth I am not doing so in an empty spirit of celebration or for the sake of statistics, but because I truly believe – and it was the feeling of the GC27 – that a great wealth of our Congregation is its missionary capacity, the possibility of being there where there is the greatest need for us in the work of Evangelisation, even though all our efforts are very valid wherever we may find ourselves”.
Fr. Ángel Fernández Artime SDB (excerpts from AGC 419) We wish all the readers of “Cagliero 11” a Blessed Christmas & a Happy New Year Salesian Missionary Intention Salesian Missionary Intention Salesian Missionary Intention Salesian Missionary Intention That they may be true lay missionaries in their setting In the 38 countries making up the Salesian Africa – Madagascar Region, there are already more than 1,500 Salesian Cooperators. Little by little they are gaining greater awareness of their vocation and more significant roles in education and evangelisation. Benedict XVI addressed this exhortation to them too: “I also encourage you to have an active and courageous presence in the areas of political life, culture, the arts, the media and various associations. Do not be hesitant or ashamed about this presence, but be proud of it and conscious of the valuable contribution it can offer to the common good!” (Africae Munus, 131).
My missionary joy: working for the most neglected of Bulgarian society For the Salesian Cooperators in Africa Witness of salesian missionary sanctity The Venerable Attilio Giordani (1913-1972), father of a family, oratory animator, Salesian Cooperator, who died as a missionary in Brazil with his family, a layman who seems to be moulded directly by the hand of Don Bosco, exhorts us: “In life you do not really need to say the things we need to do. We do not need so much preaching, what matters is what you do. We need to show with our life what we believe in. There are no sermons to preach. The sermon is our life.” M y missionary vocation practically began in the aspirantate in 2001 when I was given a chance to assist Fr Carmelo Attard, an elderly missionary from Malta.
He was a very hardworking missionary. I was touched by his religious commitment. Gradually, I too developed the desire to be a missionary. The pictures of works of missionaries on the notice board and the occasional visits of missionaries made my missionary enthusiasm even stronger. Soon after my aspirantate I had spoken many many times about this desire to my Provincial but he was not willing to send me to the mission not even after my postnovitiate.
I didn't give up my missionary desire but I decided not to mention it anymore to my superiors.
Instead, I decided to surrender myself to the will and plan of God saying “if God wants me to be a missionary, He will surely guide and show me the way.” One day I was surprised when my Provincial decided to send me to Italy for my practical training and my theological studies. Fortunately in Italy I met Fr Václav Klement, then, Councillor for the missions. I talked to him and he encouraged me to begin my missionary discernment. Eventually, I wrote my application and the Rector Major sent me to Bulgaria in 2012.
I attended the Course for New Missionaries which helped me to have a different view of being a missionary today where witness of life has primacy.
Some situations may render it difficult to preach the Gospel while other situations may even be indifferent to the Gospel but in both situations I am called to witness Christ through my personal life. Being a missionary today does not mean only preaching the Gospel to others or going to a poor country or caring for others but it also means bearing witness through our way of life because our way of caring for one another, living and working together as a community is already a powerful message of the Gospel of love.
I am happy as a missionary in Bulgaria and what gives me more joy is the mission that we do for the poor people and the most neglected section of Bulgarian society - the gypsies. Although I was in Bulgaria only for my practical training, I am eagerly waiting to return and render my service as a priest. I see that a bright future is awaiting us and the Church in Bulgaria. Our mission with the gypsies is very promising. But we also need to explore other possibilities in the field of education and christian formation. Cl. Donbor Jyrwa Indian, missionary in Bulgaria