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SMD 2013 Rector Major Fr Pascual Chávez

Rector Major's Letter

Salesian Mission Day 2013

27 May 2012
Pentecost Sunday
Prot. 12/0153

Dear Confreres and Friends of the Salesian Missions,

I greet you on this Pentecost Sunday with the heart of a disciple of Jesus that feels God's love today personally, and wants to share it with others.

Fro the 26th time the Rector Major is offering the Congregation a mission theme to help make known the involvement of confreres, and so open eyes and hearts to new mission opportunities. In 2013 our attention turns to the African continent, where thanks to the missionary efforts of many provinces through Project Africa (1978-2005), most of the confreres working in this region today are local: about 1000 African Salesians! The freshness in faith of the young Churches, now making up some 150 million faithful, has really become a spiritual lung for all humankind.

As I do each year, I would like to point out the deeper reasons for Salesian Mission Day, which has already found a place in the educative and pastoral planning of many provinces. 

  1. Returning to Don Bosco – walking with young people in faith

In our second year of preparation for the Bicentenary of Don Bosco's birth we are invited to come to an understanding of his pedagogy. In the four Lives he wrote about his boys: Luigi Comollo, Dominic Savio, Francis Besucco and Michael Magone, Don Bosco offers concrete models of disciples of Jesus to his sons who are educators to faith of young people.

The Salesian society is the result of a simple catechism lesson (cf. C. SDB 34). We are aware that if a Salesian takes up his vocation and mission as catechist again after many years, he renews his sense of faith and being an educator to faith of the young. The theme of SMD 2013 aims to help us be more available as spiritual companions of the young, so that in the first instance we return to the practice of personal spiritual direction as part of being faithful to our calling.  The photo of Don Bosco hearing the confession of a future successor, young Paul Albera, is a highly symbolic one for us.

  1. Evangelising the Salesian heart during the Year of Faith

We also find ourselves in the context of  the Year of Faith (11 October 2012 – 29 June 2013). In these words, on 16 October 2011, Pope Benedict XVI highlighted its real motivation: “I think that after half a century since the opening of the Council, tied to the happy memory of Blessed Pope John XXIII, it is appropriate to recall the beauty and centrality of the faith, the need to strengthen it and deepen it on a personal and community level, and to do so not in a celebratory perspective, but rather a missionary one, the mission ad gentes and new evangelisation”.

The theme of SMD 2013 helps us understand the urgency of the personal journey of faith, one that can never cease. We are disciples on the road and we seek daily, more and more, to follow the Master. If our heart is not evangelised we cannot become evangelisers of the young who are waiting for us, and we will not be able to animate our catechists in their important role. 

  1. Opening our hearts to missionary frontiers

One way of strengthening a mission culture is to disseminate information about the missions in an attractive way, each day. Thanks to the many video products around the Salesian world, like for example those from “Missioni Don Bosco” (Turin) the Congregation and the Salesian Family is up to date with missionary life today. Every year some 15 DVDs are sent out to 53 TV stations and 4000 Salesian Houses (SDB and FMA) in 133 countries around the world. Visiting Salesian communities, however, I have seen two extremes: in some cases the cassettes remain in their plastic wrap, while in others the DVDs are copied and set around to leaders and catechists in all the mission stations or basic communities and large parishes. There are some communities that watch a brief mission video every week. SMD 2013 offers five short videos on the journey of faith, in seven languages - Italian, English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Polish and German – and these can help communities rediscover this great wealth of our Congregation. Dozens of films on the missions within close reach!

My dear friends, I invite you to accept the challenge of helping the young to embark on the journey of faith and walk with them as patient catechists. Thank you for your courageous response to his final invitation ".. You will be my witnesses! " (Acts 1:8), entrusting this Salesian Mission Day 2013 to the guidance and protection of Mary, Mother of the Church.

Affectionately, in Don Bosco

Fr Pascual Chávez Villanueva
Rector Major


SMD 2013 V.Klement e G.Basañes

27 May 2012
Pentecost Sunday
Prot: 12/0153

Letter from the Regional Councillor for Africa and Madagascar
and the Councillor for the Missions. 

Salesian Mission Day 2013

Hearts filled with Easter joy, we offer a greeting of peace and joy to all confreres!

In a special way we greet all Salesians on the front line, sharing their experience of the Risen Jesus with young people from many cultures and religions in every continent. We are convinced that your testimony is the best image of Don Bosco today. For every Salesian, Pentecost is an invitation to grow in the missionary dimension of our Charism!
We present you with animation materials for the 26th Salesian Mission Day (SMD) 2013 – The Faith Journey in Africa!  It is the result of teamwork by the 12 Provinces and Vice Provinces of the Africa – Madagascar Region and the Departments for the Missions and Social Communication.

Many Salesians ask us what we want to achieve each year through the SMD.
The first beneficiaries of Salesian Mission Day are we ourselves, the Salesians of Don Bosco. We are invited to make Benedict XVI's belief our own: “The first poverty of peoples is that of not knowing Christ!”.
With this clear, it is possible to indicate three specific aims of Salesian Mission Day 2013: 

  1. Learning from young African Churches – lungs of the Universal Church

In his recent post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation Africae Munus the Pope reminded us once again that Africa is, for the world and the Church “a spiritual lung” (no.13;177) . In his address to the Roman Curia on 22 December 2011: “Encountering this faith that is so ready to sacrifice and so full of happiness is a powerful remedy against fatigue with Christianity such as we are experiencing in Europe today”.
In many countries around the world, in fact, we have already forgotten that the Church can generate new children through the journey of the catechumenate. The fresh stories of young catechists and their young catechumens in Africa challenges us. A good 147 million Catholics in Africa (2011), with a growth rate of 6.5 million a year, is a sign of vitality and hope. Salesian Mission Day 2013 then is a further invitation to be more attentive to the Church, truly Catholic and Universal. We are being called to get to know the most beautiful face of the African Church today.
So we invite all provincial communities to listen to the experiences of the young African Churches which are still little known. We also invite young people in Mission groups and Volunteer movements to let themselves be inspired by the Christian initiation of their peers, catechists or young catechumens in Africa.

  1. Compare yourselves with the young African catechist

In many areas of the continent there are young Churches, many of them have barely a century of evangelisation behind them. In most cases Baptism is received at a young age. They would normally go through the catechumenate journey for Christian initiation, which culminates in their receiving the three sacraments of Christian initiation: Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist. In many dioceses there is an effort to develop this process of Christian initiation in line with their traditional ways, very much alive in many parts and cultures of Africa. The catechist in African dioceses is not only the one giving catechism lessons, but the leader of the Christian community, especially in rural areas. In places where it is difficult for the priest to get to, they are the ones who lead community prayer, prepare people for the sacraments, administer development and finance in the community. In many cases they are the true guardians of the faith and the Church, to the point of martyrdom.
Benedict XVI says in Africae Munus: ‘Catechists are invaluable pastoral agents in the mission of evangelization. Their role was very important during the first evangelization, the preparation of catechumens and the direction and support of communities. "In a natural way they brought about a successful inculturation that has produced marvellous fruits (cfr Mk 4:20). Catechists have allowed their ‘light to shine before men’ (Mt 5:16), because seeing the good that they do, whole populations were able to give glory to our Father in heaven. Indeed, Africans have evangelized Africans". This role so important in the past, remains essential for the present and the future of the Church. I thank them for their love of the Church (no.125).
As Salesians of Don Bosco,in our lives as missionaries of the young in every province, let's compare ourselves with the zeal of young catechists in Africa!

  1. SMD 2013 – Formation of catechists and catechetics materials

Catechist formation and publishing catechetical materials in local languages do not feature regularly in projects for mission support in our provinces. The audiovisual material for SMD 2013 focuses on three experiences in the journey of faith (Angola, Tanzania and Togo).
The support project for this year aims at collecting funds for catechist formation (volunteers, full time) and producing catechetical materials in local languages in the three provinces of ANG, AFE, AFO. Each province is invited to send any contributions collected during the SMD 2013 campaign to the Fondazione Don Bosco nel Mondo (Don Bosco in the World Foundation) in Rome.

Finally, we thank all confreres in the African provinces involved in preparing these materials. As a sign of the close collaboration of the Departments for the Salesian mission, we are especially grateful to those in the Social Communication Department and Don Bosco Media - Eurofilm Turin.

Warm greetings then, with a special prayer for help from Mary our Mother and Help of all Salesians, lay partners and young people who walk together with the young towards Jesus Christ!

     Fr Václav Klement                                                                Fr. Guillermo Basa?es
Councillor for the Missions                                     Councillor for Africa – Madagascar Region


Giornata Missionaria Salesiana (GMS) 2013 V.Klement



Via della Pisana 1111 – 00163 ROMA

Tel: +(39)-06-656-121; fax: 06-656-12-556



Councillor for the Missions

Rome, 13th July 2012

Missioni - 149

To the Reverend Fr. Provincials
Provincial Delegates for Missionary Animation
(Provincial Delegates of YM, SC)

Salesian Mission Day (SMD) 2013 - Sending (digital) materials

Dear Fr. Provincial,
Delegate/ Coordinator of missionary animation

On the day of Pentecost 2012, the Rector Major launched the 26th Salesian Mission Day for next year with the theme 'The Faith Journey in Africa'.

Within next few months we will send to all Provinces teaching aids (1 poster, 2 DVDs with 5 short videos and some missionary training material, 1 prayer for personal use and booklet 1). The DVDs will arrive from Turin, Missioni Don Bosco. From the Generalate in Rome we are sending you:

Teaching Aid / booklet (2 copies for each community)
Poster (2 copies for each community)
Prayer - Holy picture with a prayer (1 copy for each Salesian)

For any questions about the material contact:  (Fr Stanislaw Rafalko)

It is recommended that you distribute the material at the meeting of Rectors with a brief explanatory statement made ??by the Delegate for Mission Animation (or Youth Ministry). The visit of the Delegate to local communities is also a good opportunity. You will find a brief presentation of the objectives and method on two pages (8 - 9) in the booklet: Why? Who? When? How? What does it mean?
The Salesian Mission Day is addressed in first place to the Salesian community. All the material is also available in digital form on (Missions - SMD) cfr. attachment of this letter.

With best wishes for a fruitful animation of the Province in the Year of Faith 2012/2013!

In  Don Bosco,


Fr. Václav Klement
Councillor for the Missions

Jesus walk with me
Jesus stay with me
Jesus never leave me
Jesus evangelize me
May my mouth speak words of peace
and reconciliation
May my ear listen to your voice
May my heart never be cold
May children never see me and run away
Mary Queen of Africa, protect your children
Mary Mother of the Church, journey with us
Let our feet run fast to help the sick
and the poor
Let our lips magnify the greatness of God
Jesus walk with me
Jesus stay with me
Jesus never leave me
I am your witness.

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The Mission Rosary
for the Year of Faith
As a Salesian Community or Educative - Pastoral Community
let us contemplate, through Mary’s eyes, the mystery of
Christ as it is revealed and proclaimed across the continents.
AFRICA - green
ASIA - yellow
EUROPA - white
OCEANIA - blue
Worldwide Prayer Campaign
For the Year of Faith the Congregation for
Evangelization of Peoples is launching a world-
wide campaign. Its aim is to use the Rosary as
a way of accompanying the work of evangeliza-
tion throughout the world and to pray that
many of the baptised may deepen their faith’.
Pope Benedict XVI has told national Directors
of the Pontifical Mission Society that: Today
the Mission needs intense prayer. (11 May 2012)
What is the Mission Rosary
In February 1951 Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen (USA, 1895 – 1979) used radio
(The Catholic Hour) to launch the ‘World Mission
Rosary’. This rosary is made up of 5 colours
representing five continents. Main in-
tentions are for peace in the world
and proclamation of the Gospel.

video       Presentazione della GMS2013, Camino della fede in Africa, da don Guilleromo Basañes, Regionale (it)

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GMS 2012

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Letter of the Rector Major on Salesian Missions Day 2012

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Salesian Mission Day (SMD) 2012 - brochure      

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Mary, Mother of the Church,
we give you thanks for your Yes to God
and for your journey of faith
as first disciple and missionary of Jesus.
We want to live in communion
with all the disciples of your Son Jesus,
together with the pilgrim Church
in order to bring the Gospel to all.
Mary, inspire us with the courage to talk
about the world and young people to Jesus
and about Jesus to the world and to young people!
Help us, O Mother to follow Don Bosco,
a tireless storyteller,
in order to share with humility, patience and courage
the experience of our personal encounter with Jesus
in our communities,
among the young and with every one we meet.


GMS 2013

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Department of Missions

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