Council Resources

Cagliero11 November 2014


MISSIONS - Cagliero 11

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Titolo notiziario
Nome società
N. 71 - Novembre 2014
Newsletter for Salesian Missionary Animation
A Publication of the Mission Department for the Salesian Communities and Friends of the Salesian Mission
D e a r
The eleventh
day of the
month is ap-
proaching once
again. We remember with vivid
emotions the 11 th of November
1875, prophecy of all Salesian mis-
sionary expeditions that followed it
including the recent 145 th Expedi-
tion last Sept. 28.
Little by little, in the Provinces
and in the houses the 11th of the
month is taking a missionary shape
and colour. The initiatives are mul-
tiplying: Missionary Rosary, commu-
nity missionary celebrations, mis-
sionary testimonies, missionary
send offs of groups or individuals,
and so on.
Along with the 24 th of each
month - Mary Help of Christians -
and the last day of the month - Don
Bosco – the 11 th should become a
“thermometer” and a “beacon”: a
“thermometer” that measures the
missionary “temperature” of our
hearts, our houses and our projects;
“Let us not allow ourselves to be
robbed of missionary vigour,” Pope
Francis insists (EG 109); and also a
“beacon” that guides the mission-
ary horizons of our daily educative
and pastoral commitment which, in
turn, helps us not to stand still.
May the missionary animators
know how to seize the marvelous
opportunity the 11 th of every month
offers, particularly this November!
Fr. Guillermo Basañes SDB
Councillor for the missions

The seed planted on November 11,1875
has become a vigorous tree
The Biographical Memoirs narrates the first missionary
send off 139 years ago:
inally, November 11 dawned... the departure of
a group of missionaries for South America... was
an extraordinary event in the eyes of people living in the remote
little corner of Turin known as Valdocco... As soon as the Mag-
nificat was intoned, the missionaries made their appearance two
by two and took their places in the middle of the sanctuary
where space had been reserved for them. The priests were
dressed in Spanish style and held their boat shaped hats in their
hands; the coadjutors wore black suits and carried top hats...
Don Bosco mounted the pulpit as Vespers ended. At the
sight of him, a profound silence fell over that vast sea of people,
all trembling with emotion as they eagerly drank in his every
word. Every time he referred directly to the missionaries his
voice became choked, the words almost dying away on his lips.
He manfully restrained his tears, but his audience wept... “In
doing this,” Don Bosco preached, “we are entering upon a
mighty undertaking, not because we have any pretensions, or
because we believe we can convert the whole world in a few
days; yet who knows? This departure and this humble beginning
may be the seed that will grow into a mighty tree…” (BM XI, 356-
Thanks to this missionary spirit, which is an essential ele-
ment of the Salesian spirit, today the charism of Don Bosco is pre-
sent in 132 countries! That seed planted on November 11, 1875
has really become a vigorous tree! Salesian Missionary Intention Salesian Missionary Intention Salesian Missionary Intention Salesian Missionary Intention
In the context of the great Salesian mission we are at times tempted to remain at the level of
social work – eliminating illiteracy, offering quality education or offering out-of-school youth
a good technical preparation, rescuing street children etc. But we can also slowly forget that
we are first of all disciples of Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus’ solution was to save humankind from
all evil, including material and social oppression. The best thing we can give the poor is the
Gospel and the Spirit who makes us free! Even though conversion is not our direct aim, pro-
claiming Jesus Christ in all our words and deeds is our right, beginning with Baptism. It is im-
portant for our vocation throughout our life.
May Salesians in the South Asia Region be committed to evangelisation in all
their educational or social works, and in political empowerment of all our bene-
Missionary challenges and joys in Belgium
Salesians in the South Asian Region
Witness of salesian missionary sanctity
“The real fraternal bond that binds these dear children with brown face and pure heart is
always the same: charity and good manners. They know they are loved, that's all; and they
strive to respond to our care, even at the cost of small personal sacrifices” (October 1926).
From an article for the Salesian Bulletin by the Servant of God Vendrame Constantine (1893-1957),
the fiery apostle of the gospel, as a new St. Francis Xavier in the North East of India
D uring my prenovitiate I read a passage from Isaiah 6,8: “I heard the voice of the
Lord, saying, whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then I said: Here am I;
send me” and I felt as if God was addressing it to me. Later, in prayer, I made
Isaiah’s response my own as well. Eventually I shared three times with my novice master my mis-
sionary desire “to share God’s love with other people as a Salesian missionary either in my own country or outside my
country! The response, however, was always the same: “Why do you want to become a missionary abroad? Indonesia
needs missionaries”!
In the course on time, I could no longer refuse God’s voice who was calling me to become a missionary ad ex-
tra. Therefore, I expressed again my desire to my Rector in the postnovitiate but I still got the same response:
“Indonesia needs more missionaries!” This didn’t dampen my missionary desire. I also thought that while Indonesia
needs missionary, here there are vocations while other Salesian Provinces as well as other parts of the Church need
workers in the Lord’s vineyard. Thus, during my second year in the postnovitiate (without the permission of my Rector)
I decided to write directly to Fr. Francis Alencherry, then Councillor for the missions. Two months later he replied tell-
ing me to prepare myself to be a missionary.
In 2010 during his visit to Indonesia I spoke about my missionary desire to Fr. Václav Klement, the, then, new
Councillor for the missions. A month later he wrote to me telling that I will be sent as a missionary in Belgium. I was
very excited to finally fulfill my missionary vocation. It has been four years since I arrived. During these years, like all
missionaries everywhere, I exerted extra effort to learn Flemish in order to communicate with the local people. I had to
adapt also to the food, the climate, mentality, and to their way of life. I did my practical training here and right now I
am studying theology in Leuven.
Living in Belgium is not so simple. Every moment is a challenge which I try to face with faith and joy. Secularism,
materialism and rationalism pose enormous challenges. Their impact on present day society often limits the discourse
about religion, God and faith especially among young people. In fact I realised that for most young people in Belgium
these topics are considered irrelevant to talk about. This secularised environment similarly affects us Salesian mission-
aries. If we do not have a profound spirituality we could be just social workers. Even worst, we ourselves could also end
up living a secular lifestyle.
How, then, can we proclaim the Gospel in Belgium? Let me share my experience. One day some young people
saw me play soccer and they asked if I was a soccer player “No,” I told them, “I am a Salesian”. “What is Salesian?”
asked one of them. “A Salesian is a religious priest or brother”. “What are you doing here?” asked another. I told him,
“I am a missionary”. “What? A missionary in Belgium! Isn’t that strange?” they answered with surprise. So I told them “I
am a real modern missionary!” Yet, through this simple encounter I became their friend. Now, we are beginning to talk
about religion, faith and God. They have also accepted me as missionary. Indeed, I have discovered that in this secular-
ised, materialist and rationalist society friendship is what opens the way to the initial proclamation of Christ.
I am very happy to be a missionary here in Belgium. With the help of your prayers our missionary witness and ef-
fort to foster initial proclamation will one day bear abundant fruits!