Council Resources

Newsletter for Salesian Missionary Animation Cagliero11 - may 2013



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N. 53 - May 2013
Newsletter for Salesian Missionary Animation
A Publication of the Mission Department for the Salesian Communities and Friends of the Salesian Mission
Interview of Fr. Camiel Swertavagher,
Provincial of Africa Great Lakes
in French with sub titles in English
I was born in Kerala, South India. As an altar boy I heard a
good number of the 65 priests coming from my Parish share
their experiences missionary during their vacation. Naturally I
began to ask myself: ‘if I could be near to a priest at the altar, why
can’t I be there at the altar one day’. The visit of a Salesian vocation
promoter later led to my joining a vocation camp when I was
14. During the camp I expressed my desire to be missionary north
of India in the Province of Kolkata.

I started as an aspirant there in 1994, 2400 kilometers away
from my home, in a totally new culture and language. At the end
of my post novitiate I expressed my desire to be a missionary ad
exteros to my Provincial who advised me to take more time to discern.

After my priestly ordination I was appointed to a parish
“If the Lord is calling you to be a miissiionary
outsiide our Country … GO!!”
D ear confreres and
friends of the
Salesian missions,
A cordial greeting before
Pentecost missionary day
par excellence. Throughout
the Easter season we
read the Acts of the Apostles
where we learn from
the early Church the why
and how of initial proclamation of Jesus
Christ to 'pagans', the journey of faith of
new Christians as well as strategies to build
the Church from 'zero'. In the same way that
the first persecution of the Church in Jerusalem
hastened the spread of the Gospel in the
Roman Empire, so it happens even in our
times in many parts of the world.

Sixty years ago, almost all the institutions
of the Church in China (schools, hospitals,
publishing, social work) were nationalised
and more than 5,000 foreign missionaries
were expelled. Today, however, with
all the limitations of the situation, there are
more Christians in China than in Italy, we are
surprised by the missionary zeal of the laity.

A Protestant Publisher in Nanjing has printed
100 million Bibles in the last 30 years. Between
1949 and 2012, without the presence
of missionaries ad gentes from outside, the
Protestant communities have grown from 1
million to 70 million (the more modest estimate),
and the Catholic Church from 3 million
to 12 million faithful. All thanks to a
tenacious, strong and missionary faith of
many simple Chinese Christians and pastors!

The prayer for the Church in China on May
24, willed by Pope Benedict XVI offers a real
opportunity to bring us closer to the faithful
in China!

In these times of silent apostasy of
Christians in Europe (we have everything,
but we have lost the faith) or of defection of
so many Catholics in America (millions of
Catholic faithful have gone to sects) - the
growth of the Church in China gives us a
glimpse of the dynamics of the Acts of the
Apostles today.

I wish you a fruitful celebration of Pentecost
to relaunch of our evangelised and evangelising

Fr. Václav Klement, SDB
Councillor for the Missions
next page ...

“Constantlly promote devotiion
to Mary Hellp off Chriistiians”
A n essential element in the Salesian mission is the presence
of Mary, a typically evangelical conviction (cf. Jn 2,1.12;
Acts 1,14) and a certainty of faith deeply lived by Don
Bosco. This active presence of Mary in the life of the Church has been
well-described by the title of Help of Christians.

Don Bosco’s souvenir to the missionaries
recommends this “devotion” which needs to
be carefully cultivated. […]
With the use of the title of “Mary Help
of Christians” the Salesian charism is opened
up to the missionary dimension, and a feature
of Salesian missionary activity is the spreading
among the people of devotion to Mary Help of
Christians, the celebration of the principal
Marian feasts, the publication of booklets and
holy pictures, the building of Marian churches
in every part of the world, the visible expression
of the diffusion of Don Bosco’s apostolic
and educational charism. “The Holy Virgin
Mary” – he wrote in his ‘Spiritual Testament”
“will continue most certainly to protect our
Congregation and Salesian houses, if we persevere
in our trust in her and continue promoting
her devotion.” […]
Fr. Pascual Chávez
(The inculturation of the Salesian Charism, AGC 411) Mary Help of Christians
Papua New Guinea
China - the most populated country in the world has about 1.3 billion inhabitants
and about 100 million Chinese migrants of various groups in all five continents, outside
mainland China. Let us pray that God may raise up apostles who will take the
gospel to the many millions of Chinese migrants, especially young people. Due to
linguistic, social and cultural diversity many look at the Chinese either with suspicion or with folkloristic
curiosity, deprive of any apostolic perspective. In Africa alone there are 25 million Chinese migrants, the
vast majority of whom are young workers.

Salesian Missionary Intention
Province - Country Necessary languages Environment and necessary qualities of the missionaries
ARS - Argentina Spanish Need missionaries especially for Patagoina
BOL - Bolivia Spanish, Kechua,
Presence among tribal groups (Kechuas and Aymaras) Evangelization centred
on education (School) and socio economic development
BRE Brasile - Recife Portuguese Scarcity of Salesians, Social work in the poor areas of the Northeast.

PER Perù
Vicariate of Pucallpa
Indigenous Languages
1. Vicariate of Pucallpa entrusted in 2009, few missionaries, indigenous
peoples; 2. Missions-Valle Sagrado (Kechua),
3. Missions in Yurimaguas (San Lorenzo)
USA Migrant ministry
Pastoral care for migrants of Hispanic origin (parish, youth centres – oratories,
social empowerment)
For tthe evangelliisattiion off young Chiinese miigrantts tthe worlldover
That the members of the Salesian Family may welcome the opportunity offered by
the presence of Chinese migrants in our works in all continents to share the faith
and open the doors of the Gospel to them.

where I had to learn the Nepali language for pastoral
ministry. During those years I expressed once again my
desire to be a missionary outside my own country.

Meanwhile, to help me discern, my Provincial assigned
me to a new parish where I had to learn to read and
write Bengali, the local language, and to adapt to another
new culture. He also gave me the opportunity to
make a personal retreat. After
much personal reflection and
prayer, in dialogue with my Provincial
and Regional, I finally applied
to the Rector Major. To my surprise
I was assigned to the Province of
Central America, in Guatemala. I
will never forget what my mother
told me when I made know to her
my missionary desire: “…This means
that you will be far away from us.

But you wanted to be a priest and
you are a priest now. You wanted
to be a missionary and you are a
missionary in Kolkata. And now if you are sure that
the Lord is calling you to be a missionary outside our
country, GO!”
The course for new missionaries in Rome and
Turin provided me lots of spiritual and practical tips
which made me even more enthusiastic about my missionary
vocation. After receiving the missionary cross
at Valdocco, I landed in Guatemala without knowing a
single person, the culture and the language. You could
imagine my feelings… But I encountered great Salesian
Spirit and I felt immediately at home though I had to
struggle to understand and to communicate since I had
not yet learnt Spanish. My previous experiences helped
me greatly to cope up with the
feeling of being a child again in a
new culture and language. It was
of course difficult but my heart
never gave up beating!

Now I am working as part of the
new community at San Benito,
Peten, Guatemala. I struggled to
get into the situations of the local
area, but by the grace of God,
things are on the right track. It
needs courage to be a missionary.

Challenges are everywhere, but if
we do not take up the challenges,
we will never grow. How I wish that all who feel they
have the missionary vocation would take up the challenge.

The Lord’s help and guidance will never be

Fr. Shiju James Thottupurathu
Indian, missionary in Guatemala