I thank you for the serenity and communion with which this process of discernment and election was also conducted for the appointment of the Vicar of the Rector Major, in addition to that previously carried out for the election of the Rector Major. I also thank you for the trust you have granted me in the election.
Having known in the last twelve years the life of the Congregation, the Provinces, the confreres, especially the numerous young confreres scattered throughout the world, and having lived within the General Council, I am willing to offer my service to you all, especially to the Rector Major don Angel according to the acquired experience, my abilities and my limits. Obedience lived in a radical way is precisely the willingness to live not according to our plans, but according to the situations that God makes us meet.
I like first of all to look to the legacy, which the Rector Major Fr Pascual, the Vicar Don Adriano and the whole General Council with whom I lived in this twelve years, leave me and all of us. It is a precious inheritance that has its roots in the special General Chapter and in the figures of Don Egidio Viganò and Don Juan Vecchi, Rectors Major who, together with Fr Pascual, come from America. It is a legacy on which to reflect, to draw on, to welcome and to make fruitful further.
I especially thank Fr Pascual, for having always involved me in numerous experiences and initiatives and for this very reason for having given me the opportunity to learn love for Don Bosco; I thank him above all for his great charismatic intuitions of paths for the young, the Consecrated life, the Salesian Family and the Congregation. We continue to look at "the stone from which we were cut" and the place, Valdocco, "where we all were born". I must say that among the councilors besides the fraternity, I found true friends.
Personally I feel very sympathetic that what the Rector Major don Angel proposed to us in the homily this morning and that the GC27 also shows us as a starting point for all our understanding of situations and of every decision: listening. At the same time I find myself in what Pope Francis tells us: "let us learn to see with the eyes of Jesus", because "he who believes, sees". I feel that I have to learn even more, with your help, closeness and collaboration, to listen and to see.
Today at various levels we are called to a capacity for charismatic guidance, to exercise a mystical and prophetic leadership at the service of young people. It is difficult to find the ways of exercising this new type of leadership; it is a leadership that competes above all with the Rector Major don Angel. As I said this morning, my fundamental commitment is to be a sincere and honest help, a loyal and faithful collaborator of the Rector Major Don Angel, together with the whole Council.
The figure of Blessed Michael Don Rua is illuminating in this task of mine. It is not for nothing that Don Adriano put a picture of Don Rua at the beginning of the corridor where his office is located, just to be inspired by him. I am grateful to Fr Pascual for having called us in 2010 to remember the centenary of the death of Don Rua and then to get to know this figure. It will help me in my task to remember what Fr Rua did next to Don Bosco, when he was his first collaborator.
Fr Rua will also help me to keep in mind the help I will have to give to the vocational growth of each confrere. I would like to recall here what Fr Pascual wrote in his letter of indiction for the centenary year of the death of Don Rua: "Following the example of Don Rua, a faithful disciple of Jesus in Don Bosco's footsteps, each confrere is called to rediscover the ways to preserve fidelity to the consecrated vocation. Our vocation is a precious gift; however, it is "like a treasure in clay pots". The greatness of the gift received is often threatened by the fragility of our response ... In fact, embracing the Salesian consecrated life we place ourselves in the following of the Lord Jesus and become his authentic disciples and his passionate apostles; all this demands of us the commitment of a convinced vocational fidelity "
Don Pascual continues: "When Don Rua was sent to Mirabello to found a new house, he summarized the advice received from Don Bosco in a single expression:" At Mirabello I will try to be Don Bosco ". How important it is that each of us take on this same attitude! This is also the life project, which we find expressed in our Constitutions: to be Don Bosco today, where we find ourselves living and working. Becoming Don Bosco, day after day, is exactly what the Constitutions indicate to us. We know that after the approval of the Constitutions on April 3, 1874, because of his exemplary life, Don Rua was called the living rule ".
I conclude by recalling and thanking the confreres and directors of the community of the Generalate and of the Vatican community, to whom as Vicar I have a particular responsibility. I especially thank the collaborators I have had in this year in the field of formation here in Rome Fr Bernard Grogan, Fr Chrys Saldanha, Fr Santo Dal Ben and Fr Horacio Lopez, besides all the regional coordinators, the Provincial Delegates for formation, the trainers and trainees. I thank the confreres of the UPS and of the international communities. I thank you all.