Greetings from Nairobi/Valdocco.
I feel privileged and blessed to join the team at the mission sector of the congregation, in which we collaborate with the councillor for the missions Fr. Alfred Maravilla, in enhancing the Salesian missionary dimension according to the mind and dream of Don Bosco.
As the preparation is underway for the 154th missionary expedition, I am reminded of some of the parting souvenir of Don Bosco to the first missionary expedition; “Take special care of the sick, the children, the aged, and the poor, and you will gain the blessing of God and the goodwill of people”. These words remain relevant not only to the missionaries who are getting ready to venture into the mission world but to all of us sons of Don Bosco.
While I wish the new missionaries God’s blessings as they move to the new missionary lands, it is my hope that many more Salesians will daily be touched and moved to respond to the missionary call. May Don Bosco continue to guide each and every one of us. Best wishes to all the readers of Cagliero11.
▀ Fr. Eric Mairura, SDB
New member of Salesian Missions Sector
Dear Fr. Petelo, Samoa lies on the margins because it is geographically remote and isolated. Does this fact in any way affect the life and work of the Salesians there?
Samoa is in fact geographically remote and isolated from many developed countries of the world. Its economy is dependent mainly on the development aid and private financing from overseas. The country is vulnerable to devastating storms and effects of climate change. More and more people, especially the young are leaving the country for overseas, looking for a better future. There are more Samoans living overseas than the residents in Samoa. There is a lot of unemployed young people. Many young people have left schools without any qualifications. A number of students have left schooling prematurely to find work, in order to help their parents.
Because these facts affect a lot of young people, consequently the life and work of the Salesians in Samoa to are aligned to address it. Salesian work here in Samoa depends mostly on overseas assistance, by way of finance and missionaries. Moreover, because of its remoteness, responses for any assistance are very slow and take a long time to arrive.
How do you perceive the contribution of Salesian missionaries and Salesian missionary volunteers in Samoa?
Extremely useful and invaluable contribution from the Salesian missionaries and Salesian missionary volunteers have been received. We are grateful for the wonderful contributions they have made. Our Salesian Work in Samoa was established by Salesian missionaries and there were many volunteers who came to help us especially at two of our schools. They help not only to lift up the standard of education but also to lessen our financial burden because we don’t have the money to pay commercially and to employ many teachers in our schools. Salesian volunteers are a gift to our Salesian missionary work. They are not only sharing their expertise and their own cultures, but they are partners/sharers with the Salesians in the work of St. John Bosco for the young. They have a unique approach and charism which contributes to the Salesian way of life and work.
If we return to the missionary intention of this month, what do the Salesians, or the Salesian family in Samoa, do for young people who are on the peripheries?
The Salesian family in Samoa (SDBs, FMAs, cooperators, and past pupils), should cooperate together to make education as our top priority in order to combat the problems of young people that abound. The youth face lots of difficulties, poverty, are assigned no importance and lack dignity. When I said education, I’m thinking also about our Salesian System of Education, our founder Don Bosco’s Preventive System, a system of education which is based on Love. “Education is a matter of the Heart.” I strongly believe that the Salesian Family in Samoa must work together to promote the Preventive System. This will greatly change young people’s lives. Making education a priority will change their lives for the better.