N. 64 - April 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,
I always gave my eyes and my heart to Cagliero 11 since it
was born. I've always been its attentive and admiring reader. Now,
Cagliero 11 gives me the opportunity to say something! So here I am
to address you for the first time, after the 27th General Chapter has
just elected me Councillor for the Missions.
During those days of discernment and election in Rome, the words of
our dear Fr. Cagliero often crossed my mind: “friar or no friar, I'll
stay with Don Bosco!” I was not worried so much what Don Bosco would have asked in this Chapter.
Instead, I focused on the joy of being able to continue to collaborate with him.
And in fact, now I am very happy to be directly at the service of the missionary heart of Don Bosco
in the world. Thirty years ago, when I concluded my secondary school in Buenos Aires, the desire to
be a missionary led me to choose the Salesian consecrated life. I thought and prayed at that moment:
“Lord, if I become a diocesan priest I would be closed into a small geographic area.” Today, after the
experience of recent years, first in Angola and later, throughout Africa, the Lord puts me right now
in front of the whole world, without limits or borders. I'm tempted to think and pray, “Lord, you've
exaggerated this time ...!”
Dear friends, with this first greeting I simply want to present to you my “identity card”: Salesian
Our most heartfelt gratitude to dear Fr Václav Klement for his years of passionate, courageous and
creative service to the Salesian missions. We remember and multiply his smiles. Let us take care and
foster the growth of the abundant seeds he scattered in all five continents!
Thank you and I wish you all a holy and fervent Easter!
Fr. Guillermo Basañes, SDB
Councillor for the Missions
to all our readers
AT THE SERVICE OF DON BOSCO’S
MISSIONARY HEART THROUGHOUT THE WORLD!
Our best wishes to
Fr Ángel Fernández Artime and his Council
Salesian Missionary Intention
May young people not only be the target of state policy but become volunteers
for peace and human progress and apostles of new evangelisation.
We pray for young people who took part in World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro that the
experience of faith they had there may become Christian life in the service of others and
that they may be tireless workers in society, especially amongst the poorest of the poor.
All previous issues of "Cagliero 11" are available at purl.org/sdb/sdl/Cagliero
M y missionary vocation was born in the oratory in the city where I was
born. As a boy, then as animator I often listened to the stories of our
missionaries, especially Fr Jan Sutka (Slovak missionary for almost 60
years in the forest of Ecuador among Shuars) and our confreres in Siberia. Then
during my Salesian formation, several times I met confreres working in Siberia
and after the first year of my practical training I asked the Provincial to continue
my practical training in Yakutsk in Siberia. There I spent two wonderful years in
our oratory and youth centre.
After studying theology at the Crocetta in Turin, in 2010, I wrote to the
Rector Major asking him to send me where there is a need. During the summer, as
a deacon, I had a great experience working for two months in the novitiate of
Sunyani (Ghana). After that summer I received the news that the Rector Major
was sending me again to Siberia. After my priestly ordination, in September 2011,
I attended the Course for New Missionaries in Rome and I received the missionary
cross from the, then, Rector Major, Fr Chávez. Due to diplomatic bureaucracy
obtaining a residence permit is a problem. In fact, I received my residence permit
only after shuttling thrice (for a year and a half) between Slovakia and Russia every 90 days.
Our mission has many challenges. Yakutsk is a city of 300,000 inhabitants of many nationalities. We Catho-
lics are a small minority, and we are often considered as a cult. Since September, the parish priest in our parish
had around 150 baptisms. Most are first generation Catholics. Besides the Filipino women who are here for work,
ours is a young and vibrant Christian community. We try to form good leaders because their formation gives us
the hope to grow not only in number, but especially in quality.
We are part of the Diocese of Irkutsk, the largest diocese in the
world in terms of land area (with only 45 priests). And our deanery of
Yakutsk covers 3 million square km (equal to the whole of India) with
only one million inhabitants. The severe continental temperature var-
ies during the year from -60 °C to +40 °C.
The nearest Catholic and Salesian community is in Aldan, 520
km away. Ours is the only Catholic and Salesian community across this
vast territory. As Salesians we have here a vast field of work among
young people. Here orphanages are not enough because of the trag-
edy of divorce and alcoholism. About 25,000 students study in Ya-
kutsk. On the social field there is also much to do.
Our community is now living a special moment of transformation: we are part again of the Province of Slo-
vakia due to the dissolution of the Eastern Circumscription. At the moment we have 4 stable confreres in the
two communities of Yakutsk. Of these 2 will go back to Slovakia this year while the other 2 will be shuttling back
and forth while hoping to get their residence permit. This problem regarding personnel has already lasted three
years, but we hope to overcome it.
Come and help us share the story of Jesus in this land of permanent glaciers !
Fr. Ján Chovaňák
Slovak, missionary in Siberia
We share the story of Jesus in the land of permanent glaciers! We share the story of Jesus in the land of permanent glaciers! We share the story of Jesus in the land of permanent glaciers!
For the Young People of Latin America For the Young People of Latin America For the Young People of Latin America --- a year after WYD 2013 in Rio de Janeiro