Salesian Missionary Intention
IN THE LIGHT OF THE HOLY FATHER’S PRAYER INTENTION
For Refugees and Displaced in Africa
For these brothers and sisters of ours who, because of conflicts, must leave their home to find acceptance and the possibility of rebuilding their lives with dignity.
The theme of the SMD 2019 focuses on Initial Proclama-tion among refugees and displaced persons in Africa, who are about 24 million in number. Salesians are there at this periphery with various programmes of pastoral, educational and human promotion. We pray for peace and justice in the countries that create these situations, and for refugees, especially for children and young people, so that, like the Family of Nazareth, they find serenity, security and oppor-tunities to realize their future, and experience in this "exodus" the provident and reassuring presence of the Lord.
CAGLIERO11_121, JANUARY 2019
MISSIONARY APPEAL OF THE RECTOR MAJOR
On the occasion of the Solemnity of the lmmaculate Conception 2018
My dearest Confrères,
May my fraternal and affectionate greeting reach you on the day of the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, the day I chose three years ago to address a strong missionary appeal to all the confreres in all the provinces of the world. I renew this appeal again this year, accompanying it with a video of about five minutes.
Pope Francis declared the month of October of next year 2019 an extraordinary missionary month, because of the centenary of the Apostolic Letter Maximum Illud that Pope Benedict XV wrote at the end of World War I.
Hard times are always favorable times. In this case, they are times for “doing good business”, a “great business”, as Dominic Savio remarked when he read in Don Bosco’s office the words “DA MIHI ANIMAS COETERA TOLLE”. It was a matter of the utmost importance, and this is what we consider the evangelization of peoples, a permanent and deep passion of the heart of our Father don Bosco: a matter of the utmost importance.
My dearest Confreres, what do I intend to propose? I am inviting you to celebrate and remember the missionary generosity of the sons of Don Bosco.
The next missionary expedition will be the 150th and will take place on Sunday, Septem-ber 29th, 2019, in the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians in Valdocco, as has always been done since don Bosco’s time. How much do I wish that the response to the missionary appeal were the best gift that the Society of St. Francis de Sales, we Salesians, could present to the Lord, to Pope Francis and to the Church and, above all, to our beloved youth in all our presences in the world.
I dream that each Province this year could put at the disposal of the Rector Major at least one confrere for the missio ad gentes, ad exteros, ad vitam.
Is it too much to ask and dream?
Even the Provinces that are numerically poorer of Confreres can do it.
There already is a Province in which six confreres have matured their Salesian missionary vocation and put themselves at the disposal of the Rector Major for next year’s 150th expedition.
I encourage you, my dear Provincials, to be the first to help the confreres to cultivate in their lives these missionary aspirations and to facilitate their discernment, inviting them, after a personal dialogue with you, to get in touch with the Rector Major.
Let us keep in mind that God does not allow himself to be overcome in generosity, nor does our Congregation itself, when it thinks of the needs of each Province, particularly of those that give generously, like the widow of the Gospel with her offering in the temple.
The dialogue with the Dicastery for the Missions and the reflection shared in the last months within the General Council allow me to precisely point out the urgencies identified for 2019 and where I would like that a significant number of confreres might be sent:
All this will naturally depend on the generous response to the appeal.
Provincial Chapters, in the path of preparation for GC28, are immersed in a full and fruitful discernment on the central theme: «What kind of Salesians for the Youth of today?». Before clear and inspirational responses are drafted and formulated, let us allow the happy, generous and precise faces of young and mature confreres to speak eloquently, as they feel they have to listen to the missionary call the Lord is addressing to them.
My dear Confreres, I pray for this and I entrust this intention to the intercession of our Immaculate Mother Help of Christians, asking Don Bosco to continue to nourish in his Salesians the same missionary zeal he lived.
I greet you with true affection
Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, SDB
Here is the theme of the SMD 2019, officially launched on the feast of Epiphany, 06/01/19: "Unaware of it, they welcomed angels" (Hebrews 13: 2). The poster features two girls in Africa. One welcomes the other. It is a symbol of precious African hospitality: Africa welcomes Africa. The largest migration of our days is the intra-African one, where millions of people are forced out of their homes.
In the background you see the realities of the camps or set-tlements of refugees; pastoral and educational activities, particularly vocational training. Salesians are there among the refugees and displaced persons, sharing their life.
The theme focuses our attention on the challenges of this new frontier of our apostolate – full of young people who need the friendship of the Salesians, their oratories, schools, professional formation ... and the Good News of Jesus.
But the theme is also an opportunity to live and promote the evangelical virtue of hospitality, that capacity to welcome, to open our homes, our hands and our hearts to others, especially those most in need. In doing so, we welcome angels and the same Lord.