Titolo notiziario Nome società N. 73 - January 2015 Newsletter for Salesian Missionary Animation A Publication of the Missions Department for the Salesian Communities and Friends of the Salesian Missions Dear friends! Now, we have entered fully into the Bicentennial year. We entered the year 2015 “with both feet” (as they say in Angola).
The month of January is always for us a month full of Don Bosco. A month under the light of January 31, which is the dies natalis, the day of true and definitive birth of our dear Father, his birth to eternity. He always wanted one thing: that young people are happy in time and eternity! It is impressive how the great Salesian missionaries have always connected with such naturalness these two births: caring for life and promoting respect for it, the tenderness with the little ones and those newly born, and at the same time, enthusing everyone and everything through the witness of the boundless joy of a life totally rooted in God.
In this perspective I recommend to show to others the testimony of Don Luigi Bolla, a missionary in Peru, in the video of the Salesian Mission Day 2015.
Happy feast of Don Bosco ! Fr. Guillermo Basañes SDB Councillor for missions All Rectors Major from the Special General Chapter (1972) onwards have consistently insisted that “missionary activity is an essential characteristic, that touches the essence and the very life of our Congregation.” (D. Ricceri, ACS 267, p.13). This means that “the missionary dimension is an essential element of our charism,” (D. Viganò, AGC 336, p.11), hence it “is part of our identity.” (D. Fernández, AGC 419, p.22). This implies then that the “the missionary sense is not an optional trait but forms part of the Salesian spirit in every time and situation.” (D. Vecchi, ACG 362, p.8).
Being an essential feature of the Salesian spirit, this presupposes that every Salesian wherever he is - in a school, university, parish, vocational training centre, oratory, in the forest, in the city, in his country, out of his homeland - must live this missionary spirit if he is to be faithful to the charism of Don Bosco. This is concretely expressed by his “passion for the salvation of others” and “the joy of sharing the experience of the fullness of the life in Jesus” (D. Chávez, AGC 401, p.137). In fact for our founder, “the the source to his missionary activity was his ardent apostolic zeal, his longing to save souls.” (D. Ricceri, ACS 267, p.15).
Today Pope Francis enlightens us that living this missionary dimension of our charism implies living our Salesian life “permanently in a state of mission” and thus, keep alive our passion for Jesus and his people that makes us overcome pastoral acedia, small mindedness, the tomb psychology and helps us to rediscover the joy of evangelising! (Evangelii Gaudium 25, 82-83, 268). On the other hand, this missionary spirit which every Salesian must live does not exclude, but actually implies that there are Salesians who have a specific vocation to be a missionary amongst those who do not know Christ or have abandoned him, outside one’s own country, for life.
This, then, is the sense of the Salesian Mission Day 2015: to keep alive in every Salesian the missionary spirit, and help in the discernment of those who feel that they have the missionary vocation ad gentes, ad exteros, ad vitam.
Fr. Alfred Maravilla, SDB Missions department The missionary dimension of Don Bosco’s charism: live our Salesian life “permanently in a state of mission” Starting this year 2015 the video for the Salesian Mission Day will be available only online (/en/Departments/Missions/SMD_2015&lista=video_2015). It is the task of the PDMA to download it and send to communities who have no access to the internet.
If any community desires the video in DVD the PDMA should send the request to the Missions Department. The cost of production and postage will be charged to the Province. Salesian Missionary Intention Salesian Missionary Intention Salesian Missionary Intention Salesian Missionary Intention That as a Congregation which “goes forth” in a Church without borders may the Salesian Mission Day 2015 inspire every Salesian to have the missionary audacity to go out to the peripheries.
In the name of Don Bosco, during the month of Don Bosco, during the bicentenary of Don Bosco ... this month we pray for all the sons of Don Bosco, that they may have the same missionary heart of our founder, always open to everyone to bring God to all. My missionary vocation ad gentes, ad intra amongst the Xavante For all Salesians of Don Bosco Witness of Salesian missionary sanctity From the letters of Venerable Msgr.Vincent Cimatti (1879-1965), missionary in Japan: “Don Bosco! This name must remind me of my duties sworn to God on my profession; it should remind me of the life of my Venerable Father; and through what ways he formed our Society; it should remind me of his immense love for Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, for Mary Help of Christians, for the Pope, and for souls” (December 25, 1925).
M y first contact with the indigenous people was during my novitiate in 2003. It was part of this formative stage to know the Bororo and Xavante indigenous communities in the Salesian Mission of Mato Grosso. It was a very meaningful contact. Eventually I asked, and I was sent to do the second year of my practical training amongst the Xavante community of San Marcos. This missionary experience continued during the holidays while I was doing my theological studies.
In 2011 I was ordained a deacon in San Marcos and I was assigned to be part the Salesian missionary community of the ‘personal’ parish of St. Dominic Savio, Nova Xavantina. The aim was to work for the indigenous Xavante people of the region. In 2013 I was part of the Salesian community Sangradouro, home to the indigenous Bororo and Xavante people. I was there as a teacher, coordinator of the youth group, animator of the liturgy, of cultural festivals and of the Oratory; Besides taking the initiative to write the history of the Salesian Mission in these missions during these last 50 years, I also took care of the maintenance of the hydropower plant, agricultural work and the daily business of the community ... Today I’m back in the personal Parish St. Dominic Savio. The parish covers two dioceses and a Prelature, four indigenous lands; more than 150 villages; a huge land area; and a population of about 15,000 indigenous people.
I see myself as a person who, through baptism, is called to live as Don Bosco in the Spirit of Jesus Christ. The Pope, in his Evangelii Gaudium, calls attention to this important missionary dimension of Jesus which should characterize the community of those who follow him.
Don Bosco understood well that call, he sent missionaries to the Indians of America. Many missionaries, leaving their lands, have dedicated themselves to this work with faith and love. So, in this indigenous reality, I see myself as part of the dream of many other dreamers ... and as a challenge of GC27, which calls us to be Don Bosco in the real frontiers, and where a prophetic and an evangelising presence is most needed. Aware of my limitations, but also with a heart open and available to God and to others, I know that something good can come out from here. This is evidenced by Don Bosco and many missionaries who have given their lives for the indigenous peoples.
There are certainly challenges like learning the language and culture of the Xavante; inculturated evangelisation; the change of pastoral mentality; openness to what is new which challenges us; internal and external conflict (between indigenous and non-indigenous people) through dialogue and mutual acceptance; the lack of material and human resources for the most significant work.
But it is also positive that the Salesian missionary work among the indigenous people is bearing fruit. I am especially happy of the effort made by the Salesian Mission: this shows that the struggle and dreams continue; the ‘little’ that we have, when shared, becomes ‘a lot’.