N. 66 - June 2014
Newsletter for Salesian Missionary Animation
A Publication of the Mission Department for the Salesian Communities and Friends of the Salesian Mission
D ear friends,
The month of June is
wholly focused on the
merciful and missionary
heart of Jesus. This
month we ask Him for more Salesian apos-
tolic zeal in Europe! It is true that the av-
erage age continues to grow in the “old
continent”, however this cannot become a
reason to lessen the zeal of our da mihi
In my constant communication with the
confreres, I received these days the appli-
cation of a Salesian, over seventy years
old, inquiring if there is some limit to the
sending of missionaries ad gentes. I told
him that we cannot put limits neither to
the mission nor to Divine Providence!
Visiting Maputo in Mozambique, I met Bro.
Pedrosa SDB, an 81 years old Portuguese,
who arrived in the mission there in 1968.
He is happy that every weekend – besides
his many weekly activities – he can cate-
chize different groups of young people .
On the other hand, the 27 th General Chap-
ter has underlined “that prayer and sacrifi-
cial offering of one’s life by the elderly
and sick Salesians is a true apostolate with
and for young people; they remain ‘active’
part of the community that lives the ‘da
mihi animas’. In fact the communities are
committing themselves not to exclude
them from the mission.” Let no one,
therefore, feel being in the “garage” of the
mission. Dear confreres in the infirmaries
of the Congregation, we entrust the mis-
sionaries to your constant prayer, and this
month, especially the Salesians in Europe.
Fr. Guillermo Basañes SDB
Councillor for the Missions
THE ENCOUNTER WITH THE LORD
SPURS US ON TO PROCLAIM TO ALL
“ Evangelising at this time of great social
transformation requires a missionary
Church impelled to go forth, capable of dis-
cerning how to deal with various cultures
and man’s visions. Because a world in transforma-
tion needs a Church renewed and transformed by
contemplation and personal contact with Christ,
through the power of the Spirit. The Spirit of Christ
is the source of renewal, for he enables us to dis-
cover new paths, new creative… Neither our weak-
nesses, nor our sins, nor the many obstacles that
are placed in the way of witnessing and proclaiming
the Gospel can hold us back. The experience of an
encounter with the Lord is what spurs us on and
gives us the joy of announcing him to all peoples.
… Evangelization, which must reach everyone, is
nevertheless called to begin with the least, with the
poor, with those who are weighed down by the bur-
den and strain of life... The Church is the people of
the Beatitudes, the home of the poor, of the af-
flicted, of the excluded and persecuted, of those
who hunger and thirst for righteousness. You are
asked to work and endeavour so that the ecclesial
community may be ready to receive the poor with
preferential love, keeping the doors of the Church
open so that all may enter and find refuge
to participants in
the meeting of the
May 9, 2014 Salesian Missionary Intention Salesian Missionary Intention Salesian Missionary Intention Salesian Missionary Intention
W hen I was in the postnoviciate I had written to Fr. Luc Van Looy, then
Councillor for the missions, and he offered me some possible mission
field, then again as a student of theology and also as a young priest ...
I remember that he had written advising me to continue to pray ... and that the
Lord will call me through the Superiors ... many years passed since then ... and
in 1996, when I was on my fifth year as Novice Master of Argentina and Para-
guay ... I felt a call to return to Japan, I did not know if I was to return as a
missionary, but I decided to return .... entrusting the future of my life to God
alone ... I felt just like my parents who migrated to Argentina in 1964, listening
to the voice of God. Like Abraham I also returned to Japan ... it was like my
second exodus ... the first was in 1964 when we left for Argentina with my
parents and four brothers .... Angel and Fidel SDB ... Domingo and Paulino. My
other four brothers and a sister who died at birth were born there...
As a missionary in Japan, my first challenge was the Japanese language. I was in Japan only until the third
grade (I was 8 and a half years when we migrated) and in Argentina we lived (in a town called Media Agua)
where there were no Japanese families... At first I was not even aware that I was Japanese so I quickly learnt
not only Spanish ... but also drink mate and eat asado, play football, and be the official altar server at Sunday
Mass in our parish ...
Now I am 58 years old and I am the Vice Provincial of Japan, but in 1997, when I returned to Japan after 33
years, I was 42 years old. I was
an Ursashima Taroo (a legen-
dary Japanese who, after
spending years in paradise un-
der the sea, returned to his
village where he was now un-
known and no one knew where his house was). Having a Japanese face and not being able to speak well Japa-
nese was quite difficult ... I became a child again ... learning not only the lan-
guage but also the culture and customs of Japanese society, including how to
be a Christian in Japan where Catholicism is a minority (one million Japanese
and foreigners among 126 million inhabitants).
As a missionary, my greatest joy are the confreres and friends that the Lord
has given me in Japan ... for me they are all wonderful and each time I dis-
cover more their kindness, their patience, their solidarity, respect, their re-
ligiosity, their orderliness and cleanliness .... Even after being hit by the tsu-
nami, particularly in the region of Fukushima, I discovered a new Japan, the
spirit of solidarity beyond the walls of Christian churches and Buddhist monas-
teries. I have experienced the power of interfaith solidarity ...
In the course of my life I had to say ‘yes’ to tasks that have always exceeded my ability. The human fear of
the unknown is normal, but trust in the loving presence of God gives one so much peace and strength to go on.
Hence, I invite all of you who are younger than me (probably) to be more courageous to listen to the voice of
the Lord calling you as a missionary and embark on an adventure full of hope. Those who obey God immediately
will always receive his blessing and He will never abandon you!
Fr. Mario Yamanouchi
Japanese migrant to Argentina and missionary in Japan
For “Project Europe” in Countries of North Europe For “Project Europe” in Countries of North Europe For “Project Europe” in Countries of North Europe
We migrated to Argentina ... We migrated to Argentina ... We migrated to Argentina ...
… and I returned to Japan … as a missionary! … and I returned to Japan … as a missionary! … and I returned to Japan … as a missionary!
Countries in the West in North Europe are suffering from lack of vocations and ageing amongst confreres. Revitalisation
from within is helped by the presence of young confreres and lay volunteers from other Provinces. Confreres begin to believe
that it is possible to regenerate the charism. The processes of Project Europe need to continue through support from the en-
tire Congregation. The need for the Salesian charism of education in Europe goes without saying; young people often lost in
European societies await guidance and support through education in order to find happiness. Every effort at international
collaboration is well-regarded and brings with it signs of a rebirth of enthusiasm and the best practice which is essential for
the future. Our support in prayer is always of great assistance so that we can believe that it is only the Spirit can revive Chris-
tian hope and faith in an ageing Europe and give young people a vision of a happy and Christian life.
May Salesian communities in Europe who are experiencing the powerful ef-
fects of ageing believe in the power of regeneration in the Spirit thanks to
young missionaries and confreres from other countries, and may they re-
spond to the expectations of needy youth and support them in their search
for meaning in life. May the Polish Provinces be ever more open and offer a
real contribution to Project Europe beyond their own country.