IN THE LIGHT OF THE HOLY FATHER'S PRAYER INTENTION
That the Salesian family may be a sign of peace in so many conflict areas where it is at work
Let us pray that Christians, those who follow other religions and people of good will will promote peace and justice in the world.
Dear confreres, dear friends,
We have just seen and listened to the missionary appeal that the Rector major made on 8 December 2019 (http://www.infoans.org). The 151st Missionary expedition is waiting for generous candidates.
This expedition will be sent from Valdocco on Sunday 27 September 2020.
“I make this enthusiastic Missionary Appeal, and with a strong conviction” Don Bosco's successor said, addressing himself to all the young confreres “and all those of every age.”
Cagliero, Fagnano, Costamagna, Caravario, Versiglia, Cimatti, along with the most recent young practical trainees senti: all missionaries ad gentes, ad exteros, ad vitam. are you also ready to extend this list and this mission by adding your name?
This is essentially an invitation to be listened to: listening to God's call, becuase the Lord continues to call people to this special vocation. Only in harmony with him in the first pplace are we able to listen to this call. It is a form of listening that leads us to discernment, to really listening to God in our heart.
Therefore it is about listening well, discerning well, in order to respond well, with generosity.
Fr Ángel concludes by saying: “I invite you to listen. I am praying for you. I am waiting for your letters.”
Fr Guillermo Basanes, SDB
Councillor for the Missions
This year we conclude the six-year period from 2015 to 2020, focused on the theme of First Proclamation in the various contexts of the Salesian mission.After having focused on Oceania (2016), America (2017), Asia (2018) and Africa (2019), 2020 is dedicated to the First Proclamation of Jesus Christ in Europe through our oratories and youth centres.
The oratory is an educational environment with a strong missionary slant, and open to all boys and young people (Reg. 11).
The educative and evangelising power of this typical Salesian presence, today as it did previously, continues to be a keen missionary and relevant proposal for European youth. It is an oraotorian church going forth that is open to young people around it, loving what young people love so that they may love the Lord whom we love.
This Mission Day also seeks to encourage all provinces in the five continents to take this original presence of Don Bosco to heart as a fundamental approach to encountering children, teenagers and older youth where they approach us freely, and doing so in the sense of a creative family ministry where we accompany them, educate them and proclaim the Good News to all whom the Lord offers us the opportunity to encounter.
“Don Bosco lived a pastoral experience in his first Oratory, which serves as a model: it was for the youngsters a home that welcomed, a parish that evnagelised, a school that prepared them for life and a playground where friends could meet and enjoy themselves. As we carry out our mission today, the Valdocco exxperience is still the lasting criterion for discernment and renewal in all our activities and works." (C. 40)
The thrust of SMD 2020 is reliased by the Epiphany and will be celebarted in the week around 11 November, to kee the missionary flame of the Congregation alive. May the Lord grant Salesians and lay members of the Salesian Family an oratorian and missionary heart for today's young people.
I was born in Czechoslovakia, a socialist country at the time. Since I was a boy I wanted to be a priest and a missionary. I had heard stories about missionaries, and had read some books and articles. During my vocational search encounters with non-bvelievers and people who were not practising played an important role. My experience during practical training and my theological studies in Italy were also very important. I think that the final encouragement for my official request to go to the missions was the desire to go and serve where people had objective difficulties in getting to know Jesus the Son of God, and being able to have an experience of church as community.
I have been living in in Azerbaijan for eight years. It lies between Europe and Asia. It is a post-Soviet, secular, multicultural country which shows tolerance for religions. The callenge for me is a life among people or various oriental cultural mentalities, and who are Muslims for the most part. I alos feel the geogrpahical distance from typicall Catholic environments. In a country with 10 million inhabitants, only three hundred are Catholic. Some six hundred foreigners also regularly take part in Sunday Mass and Mass for other occasions. The Catholic presence consists in just one parish entrusted to the Salesians. Luckily Mother Teresa's Sister are also here (MC) as well as the Salesian Sisters (FMA). The greatest challenge, however, is first of all my personal limitations. We feel our limitations, also because there are just eight of us Salesians and one is the Bishop of the country.
However, there are many joys. Certainly among them we recall Pope Francis' visit in 2016, the first Mass of the first Catholic priest from this country, and also the episcopal ordination of our Prefect Apostolic, the first Rector of our community. But the greatest joy is to hear the spontaneous testimonies of faith of those who have discovered the gift of faith in Jesus. One of these testimonies was most dignificant for me. I was together with one of our parishioners in a village below the Caucasian Mountains. we had gone there to visit a friend of his, a Protestant. Every day we prayed together, and in the evening shared our experiences with the Word of God. One day, when we climbed a hill from which we could get a wonderful view of the whole village, the man who was our host began singing and praising God. Then, with tears in his eyes he asked how come, among so many people, only his family had had the grace of welcoming the gift of being Christians. I felt great joy at that moment: even through my presence in azerbaijan, God wanted to draw those whom he had chosen more closely to himself.
I wish my confreres a similar joy, when they ask if they are called to life in the missions. How do we recognise this gift? I believe that we need to be open to God's will, whatever it may be. It is necessary to know how to be oneself, with one's own possibilities and limits.. At the same time there is a need to leave behind one's own expectations. Finally, God invites us to welcome totally different people as our brothers and sisters. He wanted to come among us sinners, to make us his friends and fellow citizens of heaven..
Vladimir Baxa, Slovak missionary in Baku, Azerbaijan
Don Pierluigi Cameroni SDB, Postulatore Generale per le Cause dei Santi
Blessed Titus Zeman (1915-1969) unjustly imprisoned, tortured, sentenced, spent 13 tough years in prison and then was always under surveillance and prevented from fully carrying our his priestly and educative vocation. he is an example and model of the pastor able to spend and give his life for young people who, in the intimacy of their heart and also their social life, were prevented from following Christ more closely. His message “Always act according to the model of Don Bosco and others will follow you”, is just as relevant today.