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'Belonging more to God, more to the confreres, more to the young' ACG 419

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PROJECT for the Six-Year and the presentation of the Rector Major
4.1 Chronicle of the General Council
5.1 Message of the Rector Major for the Bicentenary
5.2 Pontifical Brief for the concession of a plenary indulgence
5.3 Decree of the canonical erection of the "Saint James the Great" - Spain
5.4 Decree of the canonical erection of the "Mary Help of Christians" - Spain
5.5 New Provincials
5.6 New Salesian Bishop
5.7 Our dead confreres (3rd list 2013 plus 1st list 2014)

ACTS OF THE GENERAL COUNCIL

LETTER OF THE RECTOR  MAJOR

Angel Fernández Artime
“BELONGING MORE TO GOD, MORE TO THE CONFRERES,
MORE TO THE YOUNG”

 

Rome, 16 August 2014

Beginning of the Bicentenary of the Birth of Don Bosco

1. In the steps of my predecessors.
2. A present time to be lived in faith, with hope, with realism and walking together.
3. Belonging more to God.
4. Let us bring to life the ‘utopia’ fraternity according to the Gospel.
5. With the young, for the young ‘our Masters’.
6. A missionary Congregation: in which diversity is a treasure.
- 6.1. Because there are fields of pastoral mission where at the present moment we are very necessary …
- 6.2. … And diversity is a treasure.
7. Celebrating the Bicentenary of the birth of Don Bosco.
8. “Let us Make a place for Our Blssed Lady in our home”: «And from that moment the disciple made a place for her in his home» (Jn 19,27).

My Dear Confreres,

Three and a half months have already passed since the end of the GC27 and, although I have been able to communicate with you by letter and by a video message, the letter of the Rector Major which is published in the Acts of the General Council is a special occasion.

I have chosen as the title of this first letter of mine the same as the one I gave to my contribution at the conclusion of the G27 since I believe that in the contents of the Chapter a whole programme of reflection and of action for a six year period is to be found, one that we need to examine more closely at  different times and in different ways. It is my intention to refer to some of the key issues of the General Chapter, but in the first place and before anything else I want to convey to each and to  everyone of you my Salesian Confreres, all my affection, and my wish that sometime somewhere in our ‘Salesian world’ we may meet. For me that will be a real gift and a great joy.

I also want to tell you that thinking about the best way to tell you what this moment of writing to you and this service that I have been called to means to me, I decided to look up and to read the first communication of each of the Rector Majors who have preceded me. I have to say that it has been a great pleasure and gift to familiarise myself with these testimonies,  and I cannot fail to share with you what I have observed, because it speaks for itself.

1.  IN THE STEPS OF MY PREDECESSORS

I have to tell you that as I thought about the Rector Majors we have had, I found it very moving just to write this account. One sees in all of them that this beginning of their service was something very special indeed.

Fr Michael RUA (Blessed), who wrote his first letter as Rector Major on 19 March 1888, after the Holy See’s recognition and the decree which confirmed him as Rector Major, says that after the letter sent by the Superior Chapter, for the first time he was writing to them in his new role as Rector Major, to which “in spite of my  unworthiness I have been led by Divine Providence in such a way that it has been made clear to all of you”[1]. Having said this,  Fr Rua explains  that after a private audience with Pope Leo XIII, the Cardinal Vicar in his final words had said: “I recommend to you the cause of Don Bosco; I recommend to you the cause of Don Bosco.”[2] Afterwards he expressed his total conviction that the Salesians ought to be worthy sons of such a  great Father as Don Bosco was, so that the main effort had to be that of sustaining and at the same time developing even further the works that he had started, faithfully following the methods practised and taught by Don Bosco himself. He then thanks them for all the letters he had received full of expressions of  respect and affection, and acknowledges that all of this had been a comfort in his sorrow (for the loss of Don Bosco) and had filled his heart with confidence that he would find his journey less difficult: “Nevertheless, I cannot hide from you or from myself the great need I have for your prayers. Therefore  I recommend myself to your love so that you may all support me with your fervent prayers. For my part I assure you that holding you all in my heart, each day at Holy Mass I shall commend you to the Lord so that He may assist you with His holy grace, may keep you from every  danger and above all grant that one day we may all without exception be together to sing His praises in Paradise where awaiting us, as he has written to us, will be our Beloved Father Don Bosco.”[3]

Fr Paul ALBERA writes his first letter in Turin on 25 January 1911. The XI General Chapter had ended on 31 August 1910. In this letter, with all his usual simplicity, Fr. Albera began by saying that he was aware that people were waiting  with a certain impatience for the first circular letter of the new Rector Major and recognised that as soon as the General Chapter had come to an end, he should have given information about the elections of the Superiors and of other important matters.[4]

With that simplicity that we recognise in Fr Albera, in the letter he says that he is writing on a day close to the anniversary of the death of the Venerable Don Bosco, a date that Don Rua frequently chose to write one of his ‘admirable circular letters’, and that he is convinced that “from that memorable date more than anything else will come authority and effectiveness to my own poor and unadorned words. This is why I present myself to you not with the language of a Superior or a Master but rather with the simplicity and the affection of a brother and of a friend. It is my intention to express my thoughts to you from the bottom of my heart, and confident that my voice will find a faithful echo in all Salesians and will serve as a stimulus to show ourselves ever more worthy sons of our Venerable Founder and Father.”[5] Having said this, further on in the same letter entitled:  “… Under the burden of responsibility”, Fr Albera writes a beautiful page in which he declares that he feels weighed down by a great burden and that he would have liked to have been freed from “an appointment that I know to be far superior to my very weak physical, intellectual and moral strength.”[6]

He saw around him – these are his words – many others better prepared than he was to take up the government of our Pious Society, more gifted with virtues and wisdom …  As soon as he could he had hastened to Valsalice to kneel at the feet of Don Bosco, remonstrating with him, as he expressed more in tears than in words his anxieties, his fears and his weakness, that he had allowed the rudder of the Salesian barque to be placed in his hands.[7]

Fr Philip RINALDI (Blessed) writes his first letter which is published in the Acts of the Superior Chapter, ‘Acts’ which under Fr Albera had already made their appearance three years before and of which 13 issues had been published. In his opening sentence he writes:”This is the first time I am writing to you as Rector Major, I would very much like to be able to show you in all their fulness the sentiments and affection which this new great responsibiilty has aroused in my heart in these memorable days. But you can easily understand that this is not possible. In our lives sometimes there occur events so unpredictable and overwhelming that words cannot adequately express  and describe what they arouse in us. Therefore I leave it to your imagination and goodness to interpret these sentiments and affection of mine.”[8]

Afterwards Fr Rinaldi writes that not being able to thank each and every single Salesian, not even with  a simple word, he expresses his own gratitude in these few lines addressed to all, adding that on the 24th of the previous month of April accompanied by the  Provincials and Delegates at the General Chapter, and surrounded by the  confreres and the boys of the Oratory, overcome with emotion, he had knelt before the smiling image of Our Lady Help of Christians in her beautiful church, knowing that all were entrusted to her as beloved sons. [9]

Fr Peter RICALDONE writes his first letter of greeting on 24 June 1932, beginning in this way: “My first greeting is a prayer. Our Society is no longer in the expert and saintly hands of Blessed Don Bosco, Don Rua, Fr Albera, Fr Rinaldi: help me to obtain from the Lord the grace that in the hands of your new Rector Major, the fervour of its zeal and the rhythm of its expansion will not grow weaker.”[10]

Fr Ricaldone asks that he might be forgiven in that he had not been able immediately to write and send his affectionate and paternal greetings even though his thoughts had at once turned to all of them, but the General Chapter and urgent matters with the Provincials needing to be dealt with, in addition to a journey to Rome had prevented him from doing so. He thanks them for the heartfelt support he had received accompaned by promises to pray to God for him and to remain faithful to the observance of the Constitutions and firmly attached to the spirit of Blessed Don Bosco.

On 24 August 1952, Fr Renato ZIGGIOTTI writes his first letter saying that he had waited until the XVII General Chapter was over and the 15th and 16th August had been celebrated with the new professions in memory of the birth of our beloved Father and Founder, “before sending you this first letter of mine, which I put under the special  protection of Our Mother Mary the Most Holy Help of Christians, on the monthly day sacred to her memory.”[11]

Then the Rector Major expresses his thanks for the good wishes that had been sent to him on the occasion of his appointment and promises a remembrance in his prayers for each and everyone, expecially, considering the many letters received, should anyone not have received an appropriate  reply.

Further on he tells the confreres about the moment of his election on that 1st August. “It was about 1.00 p.m. that day when the long necessary preparations having been made, the oaths of the electors sworn and the solemn counting of the votes taken place that the incomparable honour for a Salesian and at the same time the very grave responsibility of becoming the fifth successor of St John Bosco fell on my poor self. I cannot tell you, my dear Confreres, about my embarrassment and at the same time my joy at seeing myself applauded, congratulated, embraced with such visible emotion by all the members of the General Chapter and especially by some of my former beloved Superiors and companions, by the old and the young, which witnessed the closure of the period of mourning and the beginning of a new term of office of the Rector Major.”[12]

Fr Aloysius RICCERI writes his first words as Rector Major on the date of what he calls the ‘glorious anniversary’, the 16th  August 1965, saying: “I present myself to you for the first time on a day so dear to our filial hearts. Today occurs the 150th  anniversary of the birth of our most dear Father,”[13]

He then writes about the emotion experienced in celebrating Holy Mass in the lower church of the Temple at Colle, surrounded by the Superiors, with Fr Ziggiotti, Fr Antal, the Mothers of the General Council of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, confreres, novices, sisters, cooperators, past pupils, devotees and friends of Don Bosco, a Mass that was broadcast to millions of people in eleven countries on television, by ‘Eurovision’. His thoughts dwelt on the contrast with the humble and unknown birth of our Father 150 years before. He began to reflect on Providence and in his heart to intone the Magnificat.

Further on under the title of  ‘reasons for confidence’  he states: “Certainly looking at Don Bosco, and also at his Successors, I feel my own littleness and how inadequate I am to join their ranks.”[14]  Fr Riceri says that faced with this sense of inadequacy he had drawn some comfort from thinking that he had been called to that role in the Congregation, through the vote expressed by the members of the Chapter. And that the Lord whose ways are not men’s ways had decided that he should be called to govern the Congregation. “Together let us do His will. For me all that now remains is to be always a more docile, however humble, instrument in the hands of the good God.”[15]

Another source of comfort for him was the affectionate and sincere love and great confidence of those at the side of the Rector Major to help and comfort him, and to be as real sons and brothers his friendly and active collaborators.

Finally he shows his Father’s Heart as he says: “On my part  opening my heart to you I want to tell you that I feel that with a father’s heart I am at the service of each one of you. I am fully convinced that authority, especially nowadays, is not an exercise of power, but an exercise of that love that becomes service like that which a father and a mother give to their children. (…) In a word  I should like each one of you to feel my most ardent desire, my wish to always be and to show myself a father; for this reason I am praying insistently to Don Bosco and Don Rinaldi, that they may give me someting of their own heart.”[16]

On the Solemnity of the Annunciation, 25 March 1978, Fr Egidio VIGANÒ wrote his first letter to the Confreres, telling them: “I greet you wih joy and hope and I would like to share with you some thoughts that I have at heart. (…) A few months ago Providence upset my whole existence with my election as your Rector Major. The awareness of the heavy responsibility inherent in this ‘family service’ which demands real spiritual fatherliness in full harmony with Don Bosco is already becoming second nature to me.”[17]

Fr Viganò goes on to emphasise  his certaintly that the Lord is helping him to perceive the beauty and the abundance of grace that comes with this service and in particular the motherly help of Mary that accompanies this ministry with the joy of being able to enter into communion with each one of the confreres and with every community so as to reflect and to grow together in a spirit of gratitude and fidelity.  And speaking for himself he says: “Would that I had the calm and penetratng style of Don Bosco and the facility of communication shown by his successors. I hope to be able to make up for the lack of this charm and simplicity at least by sincerity and solidity.”[18]

It was the task of Fr Juan Edmundo VECCHI, in his role as Vicar, to transmit the message of hope in memory of Fr E. Viganò after his death on 23 June 1995. After the serene farewell of the seventh successor of Don Bosco, he guided the Congregation towards the celebration of the GC24, which he began on 18 February 1996 with the opening session and closed as Rector Major on 20 April.

So it is understandable that, having assumed the government of the Congregation prior to the Chapter, his first letter dated 8 September 1996, on the Apostolic Exhortation “Vita consacrata”, did not make any reference to the beginning of his service as Rector Major. In this way there is a difference compared with all the previous situations.

Finally, Fr Pascual CHAVEZ, elected Rector Major at the GC25, begins his first letter to all the confreres some time after the closing of the  Chapter which he describes as a strong Salesian spiritual experience. The Chapter documents at that time had just arrived in the Provinces  and, as he writes, he wanted  to make “contact with you through this my first circular letter. Letter-writing was the form of apostolic practice adopted by St Paul to overcome physical distances and the impossibility of being present among his communities in order to accompany them in their daily lives.  With the necessary distinctions, the Rector Major’s letters have the purpose of bringing him closer to the Provinces through communication, and the sharing of what is happening in the Congregation, shedding light on the life and the educative and pastoral practice of the communities.”[19]

 The letter is dated  the Vigil of the Assumption of Mary and two days before the date of Don Bosco’s birthday. In it Fr Pascual wants to express his desire to be close to everyone:  “I confess that it would give me great pleasure to be with you and to share your present work and dreams for the future; I have particularly at heart the desire to pray for each one of you.  May God fill you with his supreme gift, that of the Holy Spirit, to renew you and to sanctify you in the likeness of our Founder.”[20]

After expressing this desire, Fr  Pascual says that it is his intention  in this first letter to speak to the Congregation about holiness,  not so much to write a brief treatise on it, as rather to present it as a gift of God and a necessity in the apostolate.

2. A PRESENT TIME TO BE LIVED IN FAITH, WITH HOPE, WITH REALISM AND WALKING TOGETHER

Dear Confreres, I can tell you quite sincerely that several times I was moved when in this way I traced the history of our Congregation. This journey, after that 31 January 1888, when Don Bosco left us, is an invitation to me (I believe to us) to make a deep act of thanksgiving for all that our history has been. A history that it would be foolish to reflect on with a spirit of triumphalism, but rather one that we need to interpret with the eyes of Faith, that speaks to us of the way in which the Lord has wanted to write beautiful pages on behalf of the young by means of the many confreres who have gone before us.

Thinking about my poor self, I can tell you  that as far as I am concerned, in order to  better serve the Congregation and the Salesian Family of which we form part – I should like to possess all those very special characteristics which marked each of the previous Rector Majors, as regards their theological and social context and the stage of development of the Congregation.

It is not possible in a few lines to describe the path we have followed in our Congregation. A very carefully prepared historial publication would be required; but in any case the  historical experts of our Congregation would accept that it is possible to speak about the characteristic stages:  those of  the  Foundation, of the Consolidation and Structuring (with considerable growth and expansion), of the Postconciliar Revision and Theological Definition, of the Pastoral Projection of the Mission, and the stage of Salesian Identity and the Radical Gospel Nature of our life as Consecrated Persons. All of this of course has been enriched by the many directives and options made by General Chapters, subsequently taken up and made their own by the various Rector Majors.

The inheritance we have received is a very rich one and it makes even greater our responsibility before the Lord, before Don Bosco and also before those who in previous ages gave the very best of themselves.

You might ask me what  position I take up in this situation and what programme of animation and government one can expect.  Personally I can share with you what I said on 25 March. This is how I feel I am living my life:

▪  From the Faith standpoint, I am abandoning myself to the Lord.

▪  Because I know that I am not alone , already experiencing in my life that ‘interior strength’ that comes from the Spirit (“My grace is sufficient for you”), that is the presence of the Mother (“Son, this is your mother”…). And I am not alone because I feel that fraternal and helpful communion on the part of Salesian Confreres (those of you who are at my side on  a daily basis and those of you who are in many parts of the world as so many examples of ‘Don Bosco today’ for the young people dependent on you). And I am not alone because I also feel the warmth of the affection and the kind consideration that I receive from our Salesian Family.

▪  And I am living carrying the young people in my heart. I feel this very strongly and in a special way the poorest, those most in need, the excluded ones.

 As far as the Programme of Animation and Government  for the six year period is concerned, the GC27 gave indications for this in a splendid manner, and I have no doubt that everything that we would want is contained in it, in one way or another.

The programme for the six-year period will be:

To continue to cultivate our Charismatic Identity in total fidelity to Don Bosco, a new identity in the forms and expressions it takes 200 years after his birth, but identical in the purity and essential character of his charism which we have received as our inheritance.

To guarantee in all parts of our Congregation our condition as consecrated persons, men who freely choose to take our place fulfilling God’s Design being mystics in our daily life.

Taking care of the human, affective and vocational life of each confrere  and of our communities.  We really want to dream of the Utopia of an irresistible Gospel-based fraternal life.

To witness in a more eloquent and evident manner through the sobriety and austerity of our lives, our Poverty which is Work and Temperance.

To live out to its ultimate consequences  the option for the poorest young people with humility, without triumphalism, but as in the times of Don Bosco so that we might be known primarily for these options, decisions and actions.

And we are not doing all this on our own. We form part of a large Salesian Family which also needs to grow in its identity and sense of belonging, and we have available to us the great strength of a laity that is well trained and committed to a Shared Mission.

I put into my own words what the GC24 said eighteen years ago:

At this time, the shared mission with the laity is no longer an option, it is a charismatic necessity.     

3. BELONGING MORE TO GOD

I must confess dear Confreres that expressions such as The primacy of God, Mystics in the Spirit, God’s Design, God’s Closeness, Union with God, Seekers of God … are phrases which set my heart beating, telling me that here we have something important, that this is the key, all the rest on which we spend so much energy ‘is given us as an exta,’ or ‘falls like ripe fruit’, in other words follows naturally, is guaranteed.

At the same time, with great sincerity I have to confess to a fear that I have felt in a similar way during my years of service as Provincial: I feel that in speaking like this there can be confreres who simply distance themselves, who consider all this ‘a priori’, as outdated theology, as a model which ‘does not apply anymore’, ‘is already out of date’..  And yet one finds these expressions in the most diverse places, in theological writings and in magazines dealing with current affairs in which one can take the pulse of religious life.

In our GC27, drawing on the experience of the whole Congregation, our own diagnosis coincided with that of others.

I really believe, Confreres, that the spiritual life must have the first place,[21] a spiritual life  that first of all is a search for God in everyday life, in the midst of all we are doing, of all our occupations. And I am saying this because for us, as it was for Don Bosco, in seeking what is best for the young, their salvation, and for all religious life today the  fundamental element was, continues to be and will be, the person of Our Lord Jesus and His message: in short, the centrality of Jesus Christ in our life. It may be that this has never really been in doubt, but that is not the same as making it come alive and actually be the criterion of our life.

The raison d’etre of our religious life – since we should not forget that our life is not only Salesian life, but religious life as consecrated Salesians – is not to be found in what we do, nor even in the ways we organise ourselves, nor in the effectiveness of our programmes and  planning. Either our religious lfe as consecrated persons makes us become a sign (communities of believers at the service of the Kingdom), or we run the risk of becoming more concerned about our strength (if in fact we have any) than the message of God.

The inherent danger in every religious life is that of losing its charismatic freshness. It is possible that we become so involved in works, activities, roles (pastoral or otherwise) ... that we can lose the symbolic value of our life. For example, when I hear, as I did recently,  that in a particular place, where there are many Salesian works, we have a great reputation for our social works but as Salesians we are little esteemed as people who believe in the consecrated life, I have to say that I am very worried and I ask myself: what is it that we are not doing properly? what is it that we are not able to witness to? 

For this reason … when we ask ourselves what is it that is essential in our lives? - the way ahead is a return to a meeting with Him Who gives meaning to every moment. We need to ask ourselves why, what is the reason for which we do things, what is the basis on which we make our decisions and live the way we do?

For all of this we can say that at the heart of our identity and the raison d’etre for our religious life, in the final analysis is the experience of God. And again in the final analysis the question about the quality of life in religious life is the question about the quality of this experience of God.[22] And it is in this framework and in this context that our Chapter at number 32, points out that as for Don Bosco, so also for us  the primacy of God is the cornerstone of our raison d’etre for our  presence in the Church and in the world. This primacy gives meaning to our consecrated life, helps us to avoid the risk of letting ourselves become too caught up in our activities, forgetting that we are essentially ‘seekers of God’ and witnesses of His living among the young and the poor.

Therefore once again we have to help each other to really believe that this fundamental experience in our lives, that of God within us, or in another theological  expression, living the whole of our existence ‘in God’, dear Confreres, whatever may be the words in which we want to express it, … at the root of our Salesian life as of all consecrated life, is the mystical, since if that which sustains, that which moves us is not a real and nourishing experience of  the Lord, all the rest will not get us very far. Every day, the examples of weariness, of brokenness, of existential emptiness that so often we see in our confreres – even though we may think we are living our whole lives for God – etc., provide a sad but irrefutable proof that this is so.

May the Lord be willing to grant us the gift of being truly more ‘seekers after Him’ giving real meaning  to our Being, first of all, and then to our living and our acting.

4. LET US BRING TO LIFE THE ‘UTOPIA’ OF FRATERNITY ACCORDING TO THE GOSPEL

‘Home’ and ‘family’ – we read in number 48 of our GC27 – are the two terms frequently used by Don Bosco to describe the ‘spirit of Valdocco’ that must be clearly visible in our communities.

The Chapter Assembly undertook an examination that was open to hope but  also realistic (with its lights and shadows) of our comunity life, an aspect of our life that while potentially having the greatest prophetic force is certainly that which has the ‘most fragile health’ across our Congregation.

It says in the Chapter document that since GC25 there has been a growing commitment to living our community life more authentically  (n. 8) even though it appears that behind ‘respect’ and ‘tolerance, may lie indifference and a lack of care for our confrere (n. 9). Creeping materialism and activism make us perceive community time as time ‘stolen’ from the ‘private sphere’ or from the mission (n. 9). If we respond with difficulty to God’s call to live in a radical way this is due in part to a weak convinction… in bringing about communion in community (n. 36).

At the same time and with a positive and hopeful view we recognise that community life is one of the ways of having an experience of God. Living  “mystical fraternity” is an essential element of our apostolic consecration (n. 40).

Living the spirituality of communion… and building community, presupposes shifting from life in common to communion of life (n. 45).                 

These and other observations we can find in the reflections of the Chapter which we are doubtlessly reading and meditating. I shall not dwell any further on this point. There is no need to find any more quotations to demonstrate the mosaic of lights and shades. In the light of our GC27, the question is: to what do we need to devote our attention, what do we ned to change, what do we need to continue to do and what not to do so that in a real way our community life may have all the attraction that Fraternity lived according to the Gospel has, to the point of being ‘irresistible’ ?

Certainly, community life has, as one author has written, “all the charm of what is difficult and what is possibile, of grace and of weakness. Only with the grace of God does one remain in community and deepen this experience… And it is a penance  and an ascesis that purifies and provides an exercise in collaboration, in participation and in communion. But it is also, and above all a charm. People are in community in order to be happy and there are many who succeed in this (…) and if we want to speak about the charm of community life it is necessary to say something about the short cuts to fraternal love. This presupposes presence, shared affection and fraternal correction, taking care of one another, helping each other: in short fraternal love in all its manifestations. The heart needs and demands it. Community life in the future will be fraternal or it will not exist at all[23].  This is one of the ingredients that today’s candidates are mostly looking for, and for the most part it is not always something they encounter.”[24]

Nowadays this aspect of religious life certainly has great witness value. Just as in most of our social contexts there exist, beside the positive aspects, a growing lack of communication, isolation, an ever-increasing  individualism and loneliness which in many cultures is the great malady of our   time together with its twin-sister depression. The witness of religious communities, our own included,  should constitute a real gospel proclamation, good news, a genuine challenge or invitation.

For this reason I can tell you that one of my greatest worries is that of our thinking, seeing, imagining, telling ourselves  that we can carry on in this way going in the right direction in the face of this weak situation in not a few of our presences. Confreres, so often our communion of life is sacrificed for other things! I ask myself, for example, why is it that we who are supposed to be experts in humanism, especially in our role as educators of the young, have at our side in our communities, sometimes in our dining rooms or the rooms next door some confreres who are wounded in their hearts, by loneliness and disillusion, brothers who wanted to be happy as Salesians and are not. It is true that this is not the whole picture of our Congregation, far from it, but it is something real, and a single example of a single wounded confrere should be  enough for all of us to be  genuinely concerned. In our case I think it would be a sin if by words or deeds or by our silence we were like Cain  answering  the Lord’s question: “Where is your brother?” I don’t know – he replies. – Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Gn 4,9). Yes, we are! Not his keepers but his carers.

The great challenge, dear Confreres, for every Provincial, Council, Rector and every confrere in each of the communities in the Salesian world is this: To make our Community a real place of a life of communion. How do you move from a life in common with a fixed timetable, regulations, plans – which certainly can be a help to us – to a life of communion? This certainly presupposes personal and even community conversion, it requires an affective and effective commitment to achieve this; it is a question of a processs that requires us to accept that every stage of our lives is an opportunity for growth, to open ourselves to the new experience of a more authentic meeting with Confreres and with the strength that God gives to make His presence among us more visible.

5. WITH THE YOUNG, FOR THE YOUNG, “OUR MASTERS”

The expression is not mine but Don Bosco’s who often said: “Youth are our masters”[25]; and in their regard he always maintained the attitude of a real servant.

Dear Confreres, all the writings we have in the patrimony of our Congregation from Don Bosco himself to our our days regarding our priority: the young especially the poor are fascinating. This is due to the fact that we really have this in our hearts, in our DNA, as I have said many times. It is also due to the fact that  sometimes we have to remind ourseves about it so that this special love of ours is more evident, remind ourselves and also others so as not to forget it.

As SGC XX reminds us, Don Bosco  gave a very special recommendation among the advice for the first missionaries which retains its full relevance for all of us: “Let the world know that you are poor in clothing , food and abode, and you will be rich in the sight of God and will win the hearts of men.”[26]

If it has been like this throughout the history of our Congregation, in the light of the GC27, dear Confreres, and with a determined decision to be servants of the young, this option for the young and especially for the poorest of them becomes, and needs to become in an imperative   manner the greatest effort and the distinctive feature of the Congregation in this six year period, with a deep sense of God and being a real prophecy of fraternity, in which our option for those most in need becomes so evident that there is no need for words to explain it. “The world will always receive us with pleasure as long as our concern is always for those children who are poor, the needier ones in society. This is our true wealth that no on will take away from us.”[27]

In this way the option for the poor will be the most evangelical expression of out vow of poverty and will certainly help us to overcome the inclination which is so natural to us as individuals and institutions, to associate ourselves with power and the powerful, to have and to possess in excess, an inclination totally contrary to the Gospel and to the ways of Jesus.

Confreres, when our recent General Chapter states that we want to be a Congregation of poor men and for the poor, because like Don Bosco we believe that this ought to be our way of living  the Gospel in a radical manner and the way of being more available to the demands of the young we are not  thinking that this is a suggestion only for the more sensitive or for those rather more generous but are proposing it as a way of making in our lives a genuine exodus[28]. It ought to be something essential for our being Salesians of Don Bosco, and what every Salesian has to have at heart. The exception will be on the part of those confreres who do not feel themselves to be capable – because something in their lives is not going well – and then they can rely on our brotherly assistance and help, but it should never be a question of an option for tepidity or mediocrity in dedication , and opting out of the choice for the poorest and even less should there be a case of a boy, a girl, a teenager a youngster having to leave Don Bosco’s house because  they don’t have the resourses to pay this, that  or the other.

There could perhaps be someone who will be thinking that this is something fine and beautiful but unfeasible, someone who will say we need to maintain schools, cover expenses, and I am saying to them that with generosity, with clear options, looking for assistance, funding for scholarships, with the ability we certainly have of creating a spirit of solidarity when it is a matter  of helping those who have less, we can create a situation where a Salesian house is never inaccessible to those who have less  (whether it  is a question of a school, an oratory, a children’s home,  a youth centre...) I should like to recall what I have already said in my concluding words at the General Chapter: The young especially the poorest are the ones who will save us. They are a gift for us Salesians, they are indeed “our burning bush” before which we remove our sandals[29]. This is the key to our fatherly role as educators, givers of life, even to giving our life, laying it down for the   excluded, since responding to the Lord’s call we have decided to do so. If we have been capable of the greater (our ‘yes’ for the whole of our lives) we cannot settle for the less, for not being an alternative for anyone, a sign of nothing.

I am  convinced – without as yet knowing the whole Congregation – that the dedication and the generosity that exists is very great, yet that which is well-focused on God and on the excluded cannot make us content with ourselves and make up for those real situations in which  we are not responding in ways that Don Bsco would nowadays. It is in this sense that I encourage all the confreres to place themselves in a attitude of conversion to God, to their brothers and to the young  as GC27 asks us to do.

For the young we are real fathers and brothers as Don Bosco was and as in his day John Paul II  reminded when he said to us at the GC23: “Your attention therefore must always be centred on the young, the hope of the Church and the world, towards whom everyone looks with faith and trepidation.  In the richer countries, as in the poorer ones, you must be always at their service, with special attention to those who are weaker and on the fringe of society.  Take to each of them the hope of the Gospel, so as to help them to face life courageously, re­sisting temptations to selfishness and discouragement.  To them you must be fathers and brothers, as Don Bosco has taught you.”[30]

6. A MISSIONARY CONGREGATION: IN WHICH DIVERSITY IS A TREASURE

Under this heading or title I want to say something simple and clear: The missionary dimension is part of our IDENTITY and that cultural diversity, a multicultural and intercultural situation are a treasure towards which in this six year period we are advancing.

According to ‘Evangelii Gaudium’[31] the proclamation of the Gospel is the mission of all the people of God and is meant for everyone, since “there are no more distinctions beteeen Jew and Greek … but all of you are one in Christ Jesus” (Gal 3,28). It means being the leaven of God within the human race, a humanity and a People of God with many faces, with many histories and different cultures where we are all missionary disciples.

The Pope is calling for the Evangelisation of all peoples and we are directing our gaze, always so as to recognise ourselves in our identity, on the missionary character of our Congregation. Don Bosco wanted the Salesian Society to be determinedly missionary. In 1875, from among the small group of the first Salesians,  he chose ten to go to America; before his death he had already sent  10 missionary expeditions and the 153 who were in America at the time of his death were almost 20% of the Salesians at the time according to the Elenco of the Congregation for 1888.

This missionary identity, preserved and cultivated as the years passed led the Special General Chapter to make a special appeal which I want to renew today, on the threshold of the Bicentenary of the birth of Don Bosco and as a living homage to him: “The Special General Chapter appeals to all the provinces and even to those who are poorest in numbers so that by obeying the invitation of the Council and following the courageous example of our Founder they may contribute, even in a temporary manner, to the spread of the kingdom of God.”[32]

I sincerely believe dear Confreres that this call remains fully relevant in the current situation of our Congregation. When I speak about a homage to Don Bosco on the celebration of the Bicentenary of his birth I am not doing so in an empty spirit of  celebration or for the sake of statistics  , but because I truly believe – and it was the feeling of the GC27 – that a great wealth of our  Congregation is its missionary capacity, the possibility of being there where there is the greatest need for us in the work of Evangelisation, even though all our efforts are very valid wherever we may find ourselves. In this context I take this opportunity to invite all the SDB Salesians – and I earnestly extend my invitation to all the Salesian Family –at an appropriate time to read, meditated on and discuss the ‘Evangelii Gaudium’. Certainly it will be good for us to do so; in many places it is still not known.

6.1 BECAUSE THERE ARE FIELDS OF PASTORAL MISSION WHERE AT THE PRESENT MOMENT WE ARE VERY NECESSARY …

In this regard not only for 2015 but for all the six year period, we want real help to be given in certain mission areas where there is a degree of special difficulty at this time, for example among others:

-    Missionary work in Amazonia, especially in Manaus, Campo Grande, and Venezuela…

-    Missionary work in the Chaco Paraguayo.

-    Missionary work in some regions of the Pampas and of Argentine Patagonia.

-    A missionary presence among the immigrant communities in the United States.

-    A missionary presence in the Middle East, in addition to being tremendously afflicted by a variety of armed conflicts with  which we are familiar.

-    A missionary presence among the Muslims of North Africa, the countries of the Arabian Gulf and Pakistan…

-    A new missionary presence required by the Project for Europe which is concerned in large measure with the emarginated  as a result of the various migrations.

-    Strengthening of the new missionary presences for first Evangelisation in Asia and Oceania:  Mongolia, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Laos…

6.2. … AND BECAUSE DIVERSITY IS A TREAURE

On more than one occasion in my Salesian life I have heard it said by those who had more vocations that in their own country or Province they had no need for help since they had a sufficient number of vocations. But precisely for this reason and because difference, diversity, a multicultural and intercultural situation  is a treasure, this help becomes more and more necessary also in order to ensure the identity of the Salesian charism, so that it is not monochrome, in order to encourage the exchange of confreres between Provinces for some years, to offer confreres on a temporary basis to the Provinces most in need, in addition to those who offer themselves as missionaries ‘ad gentes’  in response to this call and to others that may come; and in this way also to prepare confreres in all parts of the world, with a more global and universal outlook. We Salesians of Don Bosco, even though we have a juridical organisation which is expressed in Provinces do not make our religious profession for one place, one country or one destination. We are Salesians of Don Bosco in the Congregation and for the Mission, there where there is need for us and where our service is possible.

I am ware that this message may appear surprising, but dear Confreres we have to be daring in our dreaming and not be afraid of the new no matter how demanding it may be if it is good in itself. A simple but immediate practical example of what I am saying is the need to prepare young Salesians in the learning of languages; the more languages the  better. The time, which was my own experience, has passed in which learning a foreign language was considered superfluous and when going to a nearby country even though the frontier was only fifty kilometres away was considered “going abroad”,  and obtaining the necessary permissions within the Congregation was very difficult. We have to prepare the new generations therefore to learn languages and among these the Italian language so that with the passing of time access to the sources and the original writings of our  Founder and of the Congregation does not become something almost impossible through ignorance of the language.

So too I want to emphasis that we should not be afraid nor put obstacles in the way of our young confreres studying outside their own Province. One does not love one’s homeland, roots and origins any less on account of not studying in the same place. There is no truth in that idea and there is no danger of losing a sense of reality. On the contrary one’s horizons are widened and the capacity to understand diversity and differences increased  - something that is essential in our world of today and of  tomorrow.

7. CELEBRATING THE BICENTENARY OF THE BIRTH OF DON BOSCO.

When you are reading this letter of mine we shall already have inaugurated the year of the Bicentenary of the birth of Don Bosco: on 15 August  in Castelnuovo Don Bosco and on 16 August at Colle Don Bosco. Under the guidance of our Rector Major Emeritus, Fr. Pascual Chávez, we have had an intense period of three years preparation throughout the Congregation, deepening our understanding of the historical situation, the pedagogy and the spirituality of our Founder.

It seems to me appropriate to say that the year of celebration that we have begun has two aspects. One is external, more public and official while the other is interior, more intimate.

The two hundred years since the birth of Don Bosco, raised up by the Holy Spirit through the intervention of Mary (cfr. C. 1), is a sufficient time to see and to understand what we have inherited. In the first place the life of a man of God, a saint with the heart of a father who lived what he had promised: “I have promised God that I would give of myself to my last breath for my poor boys.”[33] We have also inherited the responsibility of living and of making real the authenticity of a charism which came into being not as a merely human venture but by the initiative of God to contribute to the salvation of youth (cfr. C. 1).

Celebrating the Bicentenary of the birth of Don Bosco in society, in our towns and cities, with the people of God, enables us to recognise what it means to us to have Don Bosco as our Father.

▪  It is an opportunity for us to feel gratitude to the Lord that two hundred years after the birth of Don Bosco, we are here as a gift from God to the young. An opportunity to appreciate God present in our history, since we can  recognise that He (the God of Life) has always gone before us.

▪  It is engaging ourselves more with the power of the Gospel which ought to reach in a special way the young and among these the humble ones, those who, for no faullt of their own, have been excluded from life’s feast..

▪  It is a suitable occasion to speak again about the relevance of a charism  which is at the centre of today’s problems, especially those of the world of the young. Because Don Bosco continues nowadays to have something to say and to suggest to the youth of the world since, even though situations and contexts may have changed, nevertheless the hearts of the young, of each young person, continues to beat in the same way with enthusiasm and an openness to  Life.

▪  The Salesian charism has been and is the gift which God makes to the world having chosen Don Bosco for this purpose. Therefore we insist so much, with conviction, on the fact that Don Bosco is a benefit conferred on the Church and on the whole human race.[34] As time passed he was formed, from the first moments of his life in the arms of Mamma Margaret, through his friendship with good life teachers and above all in daily life with the boys who in molding his heart day by day helped him to become more devoted to God, to people and to the young  people them selves.

Celebrating the Bicentenary within our  Congregation and our Salesian Family, means living as  Saint Paul recommended to Timothy asking him to ‘fan into a flame the Gift that God gave.’ So, every time that a Salesian, a member of our Salesian Family, is living his or her own vocation to the full this is in its turn a gift of God to the world.

Celebrating the Bicentenary in the intimacy of our own home (as each and every one of our communities ought to be) means letting ourselves be challenged in our very being and our way of living so that we can say about ourselves with clear and open eyes, that “the holiness of the sons proves the holiness of the Father.”[35]

This celebration also means recalling two hundred years of the history of men and women who gave their lives for this ideal so often in herioic ways, in difficult and at times in extreme conditions. This is an immeasurable  treasure that only God can appreciate in its real value and we entrust it to Him.

We are among those who believe that 1815, with the birth of little John Bosco and his being chosen by the Lord, was just the beginning of a long line of witnesses and that we, like Don Bosco, want to commit ourselves to contributing to the writing in colours of hope the future of life, and the life of believers, of the young, and among these those most in need.

Finally, and briefly so as not to go on too long, I want to underline the singularity in the Salesian charism of that aspect known as the Preventive System which is much more than a method of education. It is a true and richform of spirituality, an extraordinary way of understanding the meaning of life from God’s point of view, in this way being a great gift from our Congregation and Family to the Church. I shall write much more about this in the letter about the Strenna at the end of the year.

8. “LET US MAKE A PLACE FOR OUR LADY IN OUR HOME.” «And from that moment the disciple made a place for her in his home» (Jn 19,27)

I wanted to finish this first circular letter of mine with the same words used by Fr E. Viganò in his first letter about Mary who is renewing the Salesian Family of Don Bosco.[36] Fr Viganò tells us that while on the afternoon of Good Friday that year he was listening to the reading of St John’s account  of the death of the Lord, with Mary and the Disciple at the foot of the cross, he was particularly struck by a conviction that led him to say: Yes! We must take the evangelist’s affirmation as our own programme of renewal: “Make a place for Our Lady in our  home.”

Don Bosco had an acute awareness of the personal presence of Mary in his life, in his vocation and in his apostolic mission. “Mary Most Holy is the foundress and will be the support of our works,”[37] and we Salesians, as part of our Salesian Family, are convinced of the unquestionably special role that Mary played in the life of  Don Bosco and of the Congregation. For Don Bosco Mary was the Mother attentive to his boys and their spiritual teacher. And for himself she was always the Mother to whom he had a tender and manly devotion, simple and true.

At the same time, as a true educator and catechist, Don Bosco succeeded in a most exceptional way in ensuring that in the house, in the house of his boys, Valdocco, the family atmosphere was always enveloped by a maternal presence: Mary.

Today, two hundred years after the birth of Don Bosco, we can say that devotion to Mary, for us especially as Help of Christians, is in fact a constitutive element of the ‘Salesian phenomenon’ in the Church, and forms an essential part of our charism: permeating it and giving it vitality.

May Mary, who is the Lady who listens, Mother of the new community and Handmaid of the poor accompany and bless us. To her we address Pope Francis’ own prayer.[38]

Star of the new evangelisation,

help us to bear radiant witness to communion,

service, ardent and generous faith,

justice and love of the poor,

that the joy of the Gospel

may reach to the ends of the earth.

illuminating even the fringes of our world.

Mother of the living Gospel,

wellspring of happiness for God’s little ones,

pray for us.

Amen. Alleluia.

With my affectionate fraternal greetings,

Angel Fernández Artime, SDB

Rector Major

 

[1]  Lettere Circolari di Don Michele Rua ai Salesiani, Direzione Generale Opere Don Bosco, Turin,1965, p.25

[2]  Ibid  p.26

[3]  Ibid  p.27

[4]  Lettere Circolari di Don Paolo Albera ai Salesiani, Direzione Generale Opere Don Bosco, Turin, 1965, p.6

[5]  Ibid  p.8

[6]  Ibid  p.13

[7]  Ibid  p.13

[8]  Acts of the Superior Chapter of the Pious Salesian Society, Year III,  n.14, 1922, p.4

[9]  Ibid  p.4-5

[10]  Acts of the Superior Chapter of the Pious Salesian Society, Year XIII, n.58, 1932, p.2

[11]  Acts of the Superior Chapter of the Pious Salesian Society, Year XXXII, n.169,1952, p..2

[12]  Ibid p.3

[13]  Acts of the Superior Chapter of the Pious Salesian Society, Year XLVI,n.262, p.2

[14]  Ibid  p.4

[15]  Ibid  p.5

[16]  Ibid  p.5

[17]  Acts of the Superior Council of the Salesian Society, Year LVII, 1978, n.289, p. 3

[18]  Ibid  p.2

[19]  Acts of the General Council of the Salesian Society, Year LXXXIII, n.379, p.3 

[20]  Ibid  p.4

[21]  GC27, Introduction, p.21, in John Paul II, ‘Vita consacrata’,n.93: “The spiritual life must therefore have first place… Apostolic fruitfulness, generosity in love of the poor, and the ability to attract vocations among the younger generation depend on this priority and its growth in personal and communal commitment.”

[22]  The actual quotation is as follows: “The heart of identity and the raison d’etre  of religious life and of every Christian life is the experience of God. One can speak about the experience of God, radical faith, the absolute priority of the Kingdom of God and of His justice, of living life in escatological terms… The words do  not matter much .  What is important is to keep well in mind that it is this central experience that gives its whole meaning to this style of life; it is this that gives quality of life to the members and ensures that it really is a question of a vocation and not simply a profession. Any question about the quality of life in religious life is a question about the quality of this faith experience.” (our translation from: FERNANDO PRADO (ed.), Adonde el Senhor nos lleve, P.Claretiane, Madrid, 2004, 31). 

[23]  Putting this phrase in italics is a personal decision of mine given the importance I attribute to it, The author did not give it any particular emphasis.

[24]  J. M. ARNAIZ, ! Que ardan nuestros corazones. Devolver el encanto a la vida consagrada!,  Publicaciones Claretianas, Madrid, 2007, 95

[25]  Salesian Special General Chapter Rome, 1971, Acts, n.351

[26]  Ibid  n.597, quoting BM XI, 364-365

[27]  Ibid  n.597, quoting BM XVII, 250

[28]  Cf. GC25,n.55. The emphasis is mine.

[29]  GC27, n.52, quoting Ex 3,2 and “Evangelii Gaudium”, n.169

[30]  JOHN PAUL II, Address to the members of the Chapter, in GC23, n.331.

[31]  Cf. Evangelii Gaudium, n.111, 115 and 120

[32]  SGC, n.477

[33]  C. 1, cf. MO, 16

[34]  As Pope Francis says in  ‘Evangelii Gaudium’, n. 130: “The Holy Spirit also enriches the entire evangelizing Church with different charisms. These gifts are meant to renew and build up the Church. They are not an inheritance, safely secured and entrusted to a small group for safekeeping; (…). A sure sign of the authenticity of a charism is its ecclesial character, its ability to be integrated harmoniously into the life of God’s holy and faithful people for the good of all.”

[35]  Advice given by a pious and generous Cooperator and which Don Rua quotes and makes the watchword in a letter dated 8 February 1888, eight days after the death of Don Bosco, a letter addressed to the Rectors of the Salesian Houses indicating the suffrages for Don Bosco. Cf. Lettere circolari di Don Michele Rua ai salesiani, Direz. Generale Opere Don Bosco, Turin, 1965, p.14.

[36]  Acts of the General Council of the Salesian Society, Year LVII, n.289, p.4

[37]  Preventive System. Regulations, n.92

[38]  ‘Evangelii Gaudium’, n.288

 

4.1 Chronicle of the General Council

The 2014 summer plenary session which began on 3 June occupied the Councillors until 11 July 2014. In addition to the plenary sessions - 30 in all, there were also meetings of groups or commissions for the study of various topics. The Councillors also made their contribution to various other meetings, especially to those held at the Generalate.


As always, in addition to the topics or more pressing problems for the animation and the guidance of the Congregation, the necessary time was devoted to the ordinary business matters coming from the Provinces such as the appointment of members of Provincial Councils and the approval of the appointment of Rectors, the opening and the canonical erection of houses, and/or activities, issues regarding confreres or economic-administrative matters. A summary of the more significant matters on the agenda is provided here.

1. Appointment of Provincials

In this session eight Provincial Superiors were appointed. Following a careful process of discernment and taking account of the results of the consultation held in the Province, the General Council made the necessary appointments. This is the list in alphabetical order of the Superiors appointed in the course of this session:

Fr Marco Biaggi, for the Vice Province of Mozambique; Fr Karol Manik, for the Circumscription of Ukraine; Fr Jorge Alejandro Molina Padilla, for the Province of Ecuador; Fr Ted Montemayor, for the Province of West United States; Fr Hugo Orozco Sanchez, for the Province of Guadalajara, Mexico; Fr Javier Ortiz Rodriguez, for the Province of Bolivia; Fr Armand Randimbisoa, for the Vice Province of Madagascar; Fr Eugenio Riva, for the Vice Province of "Mary Seat of Wisdom" (UPS) in Rome.

2. Study topics and practical decisions

In the course of the session, as well as matters concerning the Provinces and Regions, the Council considered some issues connected more generally with the government and animation of the Congregation, paying particular attention to the Project of animation and government for the six-year period and to the study of the "Vademecum" for the life and activity of the Council itself. Some practical decisions were made regarding matters discussed. The main topics considered were as follows.
- The Strenna of the Rector Major for 2015.
In introducing the work of the plenary Session, the Rector Major presented the general theme for what will be the Strenna for 2015 for the Salesian Family: "Like Don Bosco: with the young and for the young." It is meant to be more a message of communion than a pastoral programme. It is intended to be a help in living the Year of the Bicentenary with a Salesian heart, with the young and for the young, being among them and involving them.
- Project of the RM and the Council 2014-2020. After the appointments of the Provincials the Council spent several sessions employing the time needed to draw up the Project of animation and government of the Rector Major and the General Council for the six year period 2014- 2020, which, concentrating in depth and in a consistent manner on the perceived essentials, is intended to translate into practical terms the decisions of the GC27.
- Project for Europe. The General Council proposed a possible process for the drawing up of the Project for Europe in the next winter plenary session. The process includes the assessment made with the European Provincials at the end of the last six year period from which it emerged that the three areas indicated have been well covered; the involvement in a short questionnaire of the Provincials of Europe and their Councils, even better if the Rectors were also included; the presentation of a summary of the replies at the meeting of Provincials 28-30 November 2014 Finally the drawing up of the project of the Rector Major and his Council for the Project for Europe, in particular listening to all the Regional Councillors for the area with regard to the sending of missionaries.
- Vademecum for the life and activity of the General Council.
In various sessions of the Council there was the updating of the Vademecum for the life and activities of the General Council 2014 in its first two parts: "The service of authority in the world community" and "The roles and functions of the individual Councillors." It was observed that over and above any formulation, it would be useful to have greater consistency in the way of presenting the individual roles. In addition, the need was seen to identify whose responsibility it was to form the lay people, a topic that had never been dealt with in a systematic and coherent way. The third part "Practical aspects of the work of the General Council" will be considered in the plenary session next December after having had, during that period, some experience of how we live and work in the Council.
- Coordination within the General Council.
To respond to the deliberation of the GC27 regarding coordination in the General Council several study days were organised by the Vicar of the Rector Major with the Councillors for the sectors and with the Regional Councillors and hence in the plenary sessions. It was seen that in order to arrive at coordination it is necessary to bear in mind the various moments: the first regards the Vademecum for the life and action of the General Council; the second is the drawing up of the project of animation and government of the Rector Major and the Council for the six year period; the third regards the calendar of the General Council which envisages various joint and coordinated meetings.

  • Formation of the new Provincials. Various experiences were shared and various suggestions made regarding what was to be kept in mind in the programme, the methodology and the assessment following the first course for new Provincials to be held next December.
  • Secretariat for the Salesian Family. On two occasions the General Council continued its reflection on the constitution of the Secretariat for the Salesian Family seeking first of all to clarify well the tasks and the profile of the person responsible for the Secretariat and the duration of the appointment. The study will be taken up again in the next winter plenary session.

- Study of the Regions in the Intermediate Council. In the course of the session the General Council raised the question of the assessments of the Region and of the Provinces in the Intermediate Council, since it seemed to be a repetitive work given that such an assessment is asked for on the occasion of the preparation for the General Chapter, in view of the Team Visit, of the Extraordinary Visitation and for the appointment of the Provincial. The issue will be taken up again in the next winter plenary session.

  • Approval of the Consolidated Account for 2013. In the course of the session the General Council - following the presentation by the Economer General examined and approved in accordance with the General Regulations, the Consolidated Account for the Direzione Generale Opere Don Bosco, as at 31 December 2013.
  • Distribution of the "Mission Fund". After having reviewed the criteria for the distribution, the General Council considered and approved the proposals made by the Commission for the n. 154 - June 2014 distribution, of assistance from the Mission Fund. These are funds coming from the Mission Offices for the benefit of the many projects and plans of the Congregation.

- Among the significant events in the course of the session, the following in particular can be mentioned:
Meeting of the General Councils of the Salesians of Don Bosco and of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians held on Thursday 19 June 2014, at the Generalate of the FMA, at which there was some discussion about the working document of the GC23 of the FMA; on the Acts of the GC27 of the SDB and on the tasks and the expectations of the Bicentenary of the birth of Don Bosco.

5.1 Message of the Rector Major for the opening of the Year of celebration for the Bicentenary of the Birth of Don Bosco

Below is the text of the Message of the Rector Major Fr Angel Ferncindez Artime for the beginning of the Bicentenary Year of the birth of Don Bosco issued on 16 August 2014 at Castelnuovo Don Bosco.


199 years ago, on a day like today, a child came into the world, John Melchior Bosco, in these very hills, the son of humble peasant folk.


Today, as we begin the Bicentenary of this historical event, we thank God profoundly for what he did through his intervention in history, in the real history of these hills that make up the Becchi.


In one of the articles of the Salesian Constitutions, it says that "With a feeling of humble gratitude, we believe that the Society of St Francis de Sales came into being not merely as a human venture but by the initiative of God... Through the motherly intervention of Mary the Holy Spirit raised up St John Bosco to contribute to the salvation of youth. The Spirit formed within him the heart of a father and teacher, capable of total self-giving ..., The Church has acknowledged God's hand in this, especially by approving our Constitutions and proclaiming our Founder a saint."


The Salesian charism is the gift which God, through Don Bosco, has given the Church and the world. It was formed over time, from Mama Margaret's knees to friendship with good teachers of life and especially through everyday life in the company of young people.


Today we find ourselves as the Salesian Family of Don Bosco, a Salesian Religious Family, along with many civic and Church authorities, friends of Don Bosco, and young people, amidst these very same hills where he was born, declaring the beginning of celebrations for the Bicentenary of his birth. After three years of preparation and one of celebration, the point of arrival will be next August 16, 2015 when it will be 200 years since he came into the Church and the world for the good of young people.


The Bicentenary of St John Bosco's birth is a jubilee year, a `year of Grace' which we would like to experience within the Salesian Family as deep gratitude to the Lord, humbly but with great
joy, since it is the Lord who has blessed this beautiful spiritual and apostolic movement founded by Don Bosco under the guidance of the Help of Christians.


It is a jubilee year for the more than thirty groups who make up this great family, and for many others who, inspired by Don Bosco, his charism, his mission and spirituality, are hoping to gain recognition as members of this family.


It is a jubilee year for the entire Salesian Movement which in one way or another makes reference to Don Bosco in their initiatives, activities, proposals, and who share his spirituality and efforts for the good of the young, especially those who are most in need.


For all of us throughout the Salesian world this Bicentenary aims at being not just a time of simple celebration but a valuable opportunity offered us to look back with gratitude, to look at the present with confidence, and to dream of the future of the Salesian Family's evangelising and educational mission with the energy and novelty of the Gospel. It is an opportunity for courage and a prophetic outlook, allowing ourselves to be led by the Spirit who will always lead us to the newness of God.


We believe this Bicentenary will be an opportunity for a true pastoral and spiritual renewal in our Family, an occasion for bringing the charism to life and making Don Bosco relevant, as he has always been for the young. We believe that it will be an opportunity for living the Mission entrusted to us with renewed vigour and conviction on behalf of children, teenagers, older youth around the world, especially those most in need, the poorest and most fragile.


The Bicentenary will be a time when, as a Salesian Family, we will continue following Don Bosco's example as we go out to the physical, human peripheries of society and the young.


As then with Don Bosco, the Bicentenary year and the road we embark on need to be a time for contributing what in all humility lies at the core of our charism: our determination to interpret the social situations, especially those in volving the young, which affect us today; our commitment through clear choices on behalf of young people who are marginalised or at risk of being such; our faith and complete confidence in them, in each young person, in his or her possibilities and capabilities; our certain belief that they are good of heart, whatever their story, and have the opportunity to become masters of and play a key role in their own destiny; our remaining by their side if they will accept us, to help them develop their talents to the full, fully develop their vocation as Christians and human beings.


And finally, this Bicentenary should also evoke the memory of so many men and women who have heroically given their lives for this ideal, in some of the most difficult and extreme conditions in the world. This is a triumph, an inestimable treasure which only God can give proper value to.


With this belief, we feel more encouraged not only to admire Don Bosco, not only to perceive the relevance of his gigantic stature, but to feel strongly and absolutely committed to imitating the man who left these hills to go to outlying Valdocco, and the rural periphery of Mornese to involve others with him, anyone and anything that would be in favour of the young and their happiness in this world and in eternity.
From this hill at the Becchi we now declare the year of Celebration of the Bicentenary of Don Bosco's birth open.


May he bless us from Heaven and may he help us obtain the grace to make our commitment and our dream a reality.


Happy Bicentenary to all.


Fr Angel FERNANDEZ ARTIME, sdb
Rector Major

 
5.2 Pontifical Brief for the concession of a plenary indulgence during the Bicentenary Year of the Birth of Don Bosco

 

Below is the text, in English of the Pontifical Brief issued by the Apostolic Penitentiary with which the Holy Father grants a plenary indulgence during the Bicentenary Year of the Birth of Don Bosco, in specific circumstances.
APOSTOLIC
PENITENTIARY

Prot. N. 785/14/I
MOST HOLY FATHER,
Francis Maraccani, Procurator General of the Society of Saint Francis de Sales, at the behest of Angel Fernandez Artime, Rector Major, manifests cordially to Your Holiness sentiments of obedience and filial reverence, and trustfully informs you that August 16, 2015 marks two centuries since at Murialdo, in the farmstead called "dei Becchi", near the village of Castelnuovo d'Asti, was born St. John Bosco to parents Francis Bosco and Margaret Occhiena, of peasant stock but of excellent conduct and distinguished piety. Shortly thereafter, he received holy baptism, the doorway to and the foundation of the Sacraments. He had a difficult childhood. Ordained a priest, he dedicated all his energies to the education of adolescents, founding the Salesian Society and, with the cooperation of St. Maria Domenica Mazzarello, also the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, to instruct youth in the field of work and in the Christian life.


To celebrate this happy event in a worthy manner, dedicating it with a Jubilee year to Saint John Bosco, father and teacher of the young, special sacred functions and various spiritual initiatives will be held from the 16th of August this year until the 16th of August, 2015 in order to promote a lively devotion to St. John Bosco among the faithful of the whole Catholic world so that, with his help, their conduct of life may become increasingly conformed to the divine Gospel. In order that the faithful Christians who take part in these celebrations may receive more abundantly the treasure of divine grace, the aforementioned petitioner implores the gift of a Jubilee indulgence.


Therefore,
On the 8t" of August 2014
THE APOSTOLIC PENITENTIARY, by special mandate of His Holiness Pope Francis, gladly grants the Jubilee Year with a plenary indulgence attached which, under the usual conditions (sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion, and prayer for the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff) can be gained by members of the Salesian Family and all the faithful Christians who are sorry for their sins and motivated by charity. They can also apply it in suffrage to the souls of the faithful departed in Purgatory, by taking part in a sacred function celebrated in honour of Saint John Bosco or at least spending some time in prayer before a relic or holy picture of the Saint, concluding with the Lord's Prayer, the Creed, and prayers to the Our Lady and Saint John Bosco:

  • On January 31, 2015, the Solemnity of St John Bosco, and August 16, 2015, the day of the Bicentenary;
  • Every time they take part in a pilgrimage:
  • to the church consecrated to God and dedicated to St John Bosco at Castelnuovo Don Bosco, on "Colle Don Bosco" (which is the birthplace of the Saint);
  • to the church dedicated to Mary Help of Christians in Turin and elevated o the rank of Minor Basilica in 1911. St. John Bosco oversaw its construction; today it preserves his sacred remains and is, as it were, the spiritual centre of the entire Salesian Family.

The Christian faithful who are prevented by age or illness may also gain the Plenary Indulgence so long as they are sorry for their sins and have the intention of fulfilling the usual three conditions as soon as possible. They should spend time prayerfully before a picture of St John Bosco, and join spiritually in celebrations or jubilee visits or, should they be held back by any impediment, recite the prayers mentioned above, offering their suffering or difficulties in life.


Hence, to provide easy access to pastoral ministry in order to obtain divine mercy through the power of the Church, this Penitentiary urges Salesian priests, who have the necessary faculties for confessions, to offer themselves with a willing and generous spirit to celebrate the sacrament of Penance and often administer Holy Communion to the sick.
The present disposition will be valid for the whole Jubilee year of St. John Bosco, notwithstanding anything to the contrary.


S.E.R. Mauro Card. PIACENZA Major Penitentiary
Cristoforo NIKIEL Regent

5.3 Decree of the canonical erection of the "Saint James the Great" - Spain

 

Prot. 101/2014
DECREE
OF THE CANONICAL ERECTION OF THE SALESIAN PROVINCE "SAINT JAMES THE GREAT" OF MADRID SPAIN

The undersigned, Fr Angel FERNANDEZ ARTIME, Rector
Major of the Salesian Society of Saint John Bosco, with headquarters in Rome (Italy), Via della Pisana, 1111,

  • having considered the situation of the Salesian presences and works in central and northeast Spain divided among the three Provinces "Saint Francis Xavier" with headquarters in Bilbao, "Saint James the Great" with headquarters in Leon and "Saint John Bosco" with headquarters in Madrid,
  • after having listened to the three Provincials and their respective Councils and taking into account the results of a consultation process held with the confreres of the three Provinces,
  • on the basis of article 156 of the Constitutions,
  • having obtained the consent of the General Council on 26 January 2011, according to the norms of articles 132§1,1 and 156 of the same Constitutions;

with the present DECREE establishes:
I. the CANONICAL ERECTION of the SALESIAN Province "SAINT JAMES THE GREAT," with headquarters in
Madrid, in the "Mary Help of Christians" house, located in via Marques de la Valdavia, 2 (28012 Madrid), integrating in this Province the previous Provinces named: "the SAINT FRANCIS XAVIER or BILBAO PROVINCE", "the SAINT JAMES THE GREAT or LEON PROVINCE", "the SAINT JOHN BOSCO or MADRID PROVINCE".

  • As a direct consequence of what is established above, the previous Provinces, which are now unified, ARE SUPPRESSED AND NO LONGER EXIST as Administrative Bodies in every respect, that is to say: "the SAINT FRANCIS XAVIER or BILBAO PROVINCE", the "SAINT JAMES THE GREAT or LEON PROVINCE" and the "SAINT JOHN BOSCO or MADRID PROVINCE".
  • The restructuring above described implies a simple organic and functional alteration in what the Houses and Communities used to maintain in the integrated and suppressed Provinces in virtue of the present Decree, so that starting from the date when it comes into force the following houses and communities will depend on and form part of the new Salesian

Province of "SAINT JAMES the GREAT":
Alcala de Henares, "Saint James" - Allariz ,"Sacred Heart of Jesus" - Aranjuez, "Saint Ignatius of Loyola" - Arevalo, "Saint John Bosco" - Astudillo-Residencia, "Saint Mary" - Aviles, "Saint Dominic Savio" - Azkoitia, "Saint Joseph" - Barakaldo, "Saint Paulinus of Nola" - Barakaldo-Cruces, "Saint John Bosco" - Bilbao-eusto, "Mary Help of Christians" - BilbaoDeusto, "Saint John Bosco" - Bilbao-Provincial house,"Blessed Michael Rua" - Burgos,"Saint Francis of Sales" - Burgos-Institute of Philosophy, "Saint John Bosco" - Burgos-Politecnico, "Saint Ignatius of Loyola" - Burgos-Residenza, "Saint John Bosco " - Cambados, "Our Lady of Mercy" - Ciudad Real, "Saint Thomas of Villanova" - Donasti-San Sebastian, "Mary Help of Christians" - Fuenlabrada, "Saint Joseph" - Guadalajara, "Saint Joseph" - La Corufia- Calvo Stelo, "Saint Dominic Savio" - La Coruna.- S.J. Bosco, "Saint John Bosco" - Leon-Provincial house, "Saint James the Great" - Leon‑ Centro Don Bosco, "Saint Joseph the Worker" - Le6n- La Fontana, "Sacred Heart of Jesus" - LogrofmColegio, "Saint Dominic Savio" - Logrofio-Los Boscos, "Saint John Bosco" - Lugo, "Mary Help of Christians" - Madrid- Atocha, "Saint Francis of Sales" - MadridAtocha, "Saint John Bosco" - Madrid-Car ab anchel, "Ble s s ed Michael Rua" - Madrid- Carabanchel, "Sacred Heart of Jesus" Madrid-Casa Don Bosco,"Saint John Bosco" - Madrid-Provincial house, "Mary Help of Christians" Madrid, "Saint Dominic Savio" - Madrid-Estrecho, "Saint John the Baptist" - Madrid-Extremadura, "Saint Michael the Archangel" Madrid-Puente de Vallecas, "Our Lady of the Assumption" - MadridProcura, "Saint Francis Xavier" -Madrid-Residencia, "Blessed Michael Rua" - Mohernando-El Encinar, "Our Lady of Sorrows and Saint Michael" - Ourense, "Mary Help of Christians" - Oviedo, "Saint John Bosco" - PamplonaColegio, "Saint John Bosco" - Parla, "Christ the Liberator" - Puertollano, "Saint John Bosco" - Renteria, "Saint John Bosco" Salamanca, "Mary Help of Christians" - Salamanca, "Saint Joseph" - Santander, "Mary Help of Christians" - Santander- Nueva Montana, "Saint John Bosco" - Santiago de Compostela, "Saint John Bosco" - Soto del Real, "Our Lady of the Pillar" - Urnieta-Colegio, "Saint Joseph the Worker" - Urnieta-Pake Leku, "Saint Thomas Aquinas" - Valladolid, "Mary Help of Christians" - Vigo-Colegio, "Mary Help of Christians" (Saint Matthias) - Vigo-Parroquia, "Mary Help of Christians" - Vigo, "Saint Roque" - Villamuriel, "Saint John Bosco" - Vitoria, "Saitn Francis Xavier" - Zamora," Mary Help of Christians".

  • With effect from 7 June 2014, Fr Juan Carlos Perez Godoy, Provincial of the "SAINT JAMES THE GREAT" SALESIAN PROVINCE in Madrid, is expressly authorised to represent the Rector Major in any necessary negotiations to execute the demands of the present Decree in relation to whatever Administrative and/or Judicial Body of the Spanish State, the Autonomous Communities or Local Bodies of the same.
  • The following is also established:

1. Belonging to the "Saint James the Great" Province , erected by this Decree, are Salesians who on the date of its canonical constitution, are living and working in the Salesian Houses and/or Communities previously enumerated. In any case, this state of belonging is temporary for those who by an agreement between Provincials are tem‑
porarily providing some form of collaboration in these Houses and/or Communities.

  • Belonging to the "Saint James the Great" Province of Madrid, erected by this Decree, in addition are those Salesians in formation from the three integrated Provinces and any other Salesians belonging to these Provinces who at the time of its canonical constitution are outside the Province for reasons of study, health, work or for some other motive.ii
  • The patrimony, the obligations and the rights corresponding to the suppressed Provinces ("Saint Francis Xavier" of Bilbao, "Saint James the Great" of Le6n, "Saint John Bosco" of Madrid) are transferred to the erected "Saint James the Great" Province of Madrid, starting from 7 June 2014. In consequence of what is established above, the "Saint James the Great" Salesian Province, with headquarters in Madrid, erected by the present Decree, replaces in their entirety the rights, activities, expectations, obligations, responsibilities and duties, of the above mentioned suppressed or extinct Provinces, without any reservation or limitation remaining in force in consequence of this replacement, without modification nor added burden the rights of third parties.

In particular, the "Salesian "Saint James the Great" Province", with headquarters in Madrid, assumes throughout its borders, without any reservation, the commitments and agreements, those in the process of being determined and those in operation already undertaken by the previously mentioned Provinces now suppressed and no longer existing, in accordance with the aims of the Congregation.
4. On the basis of articles 156 of the Constitutions and 114 of the General Regulations, taking part in the General Chapter will be the Superior and three Delegates elected from among the Salesians gathered in the Provincial Chapter.

  • As regards the aims, representative bodies, ways of operating and faculties, what is established by the Constitutions and by the General Regulations for the Congregation, the Provinces and the Houses/ Communities integrated in the reorganisation remain unchanged.
  • For any other matters the norms established by the Constitutions and by the General Regulations will be applied.
  • The present Decree will come into force on 7 June 2014.

Rome, 24 May 2014.
Fr Angel FERNANDEZ ARTIME
Rector Major
Fr Marian STF,MPET, Secretary General


5.4 Decree of the canonical erection of the "MAry Help of Christians" - Spain

Prot. 102/2014
DECREE
OF THE CANONICAL ERECTION OF THE SALESIAN PROVINCE "MARY HELP CHRITSTIANS" OF SEVILLE - SPAIN
The undersigned, Fr Angel FERNANDEZ ARTIME, Rector Major of the Salesian Society of Saint John Bosco,

  • considering the situation of the Salesian presences and works in the South East of Spain, in the Canary Islands, in the Balearic

Islands and in the Principality of Andorra, divided at present in the three Provinces "Most Holy Mary of Ransom" with headquarters in Barcelona, "Mary Help of Christians" with headquarters in Seville, "Saint Joseph" with headquarters in Valencia;

  • after having listened to the three Provincials and their respective Councils and taking into account the results of a consultation process held with the confreres of the three Provinces,
  • on the basis of article 156 of the Constitutions,
  • having obtained the consent of the General Council on 26 January 2011, according to the norms of articles 132§1,1 and 156 of the same Constitutions;

CANONICAL ERECTION
with the present DECREE, which modifies the Decrees of canonical erection of 20 January 1902, of 28 May 1926 (n. 2308/26) and of 6 May 2006 (n. 26/2006) erects the SALESIAN PROVINCE of SPAIN, entitled "MARY HELP OF CHRISTIANS", with headquarters in SEVILLE, the house of "The Most Holy Trinity", resulting from the unification of the three Provinces of Barcelona, Seville and Valencia, comprising therefore all the Houses currently forming part of the above mentioned Provinces, with the confreres assigned to them.


The Houses of the new Province of "Mary Help of Christians" on the territory of Spain which comprises the Regions or Autonomous bodies: Andalusia, Aragon, Balearic Islands, Canary Islands,Catalogna, Extramadura, Region of Murcia and the Valencian Community, the Principality of Andorra, are the following:


Alcala de Guadaira, "Our Lady of Aguila" - Alcoy-Juan XXII, "Saint Joseph" - Alcoy- Saint Vincent Ferrer, "Saint Vincent Ferrer" - Algeciras, "Mary Help of Christians" Alicante-Don Bosco, "Saint Joseph" - Alicante-Maria Auxiliadora, "Mary Help of Christians" Andorra la Vella, "Saint Ermengol" - Antequera, "Sacred Heart of Jesus" - Badajoz-RamOn Izquierdo,"Saint John Bosco" - Badalona, "Saint Dominic Savio" - BarcelonaMeridiana, "Our Lady of Montserrat" - Barcelona-Ciudad Meridiana, "Saint Bernard of Clairveux" - Barcelona-Horta, "Saint George" - Barcelona-Marti Codolar, "Sacred Heart" - Barcelona- Horta, "Saint John Bosco" - Barcelona-Rocafort, "Saint Joseph" - Barcelona-Sarria, "Guardian Angel" - Barcelona-Sarria, "Infant Jesus" - BarcelonaTibidabo, "Sacred Heart of Jesus" - Burriana, "Saint Dominic Savio" - Burriana, "Saint John the Baptist" - Cabezo de Torres, "Sacred Heart" - Cadiz, "Saint Ignatius" - Campano, "Saint John Bosco" - Carmona, "Blessed Sacrament" Cartagena, "Saint John Bosco" - Ciutadella, "Saint Francis of Sales" - Cordoba-Colegio, "Saint Francis of Sales" - El Campello, "Our Lady of Sorrows" - Elche-San Jos6, "Saint Joseph the Worker" Elche-San Rafael, "Saint Raphael the Archangel" - Girona, "Sacred Heart" - Godelleta, "Sacred Heart of Jesus" - Granada- Cartuja, "Our Lady of the Snow" - Granada-Colegio, "Saint John Bosco" - Huelva, "Christ the Priest" - Huesca, "Saint Bernard" - Ibi, "Our Lady of the Marginalised" - Jaen, "Saint John Bosco" - Jerez de la FronteraP Torres Silva, "Saint Dominic Savio" - Jerez de la Frontera-Lora Tamayo, "Immaculate Conception" - La Almunia de Doha Godina, "Sacred Heart of Jesus" - La Almunia de Dona Godina-Residencia, "Saint John Bosco" - La Cuesta, "Saint John Bosco" - La Linea de la Concepcion, "Saint John Bosco" - La Orotava, "Saint Isidor the Farmer" - La Palma del Condado, "Saint Dominic Savio" - Las Palmas, "Sacred Heart of Jesus" Linares, "Saint Augustine" - Lleida, "Saint Michael the Archangel" - Malaga, "Saint Bartholomew" - Mataro, "Saint Anthony of Padua" - M6rida, "Mary Help of Christians" - Montilla, "Saint Francis of Solano" - Monzon, "Saint John Bosco" - Moron de la Frontera, "Saint John Bosco" - Palma del Rio, "Saint King Louis" - Pozoblanco, "Saint Joseph" - Puebla de la Calzada, "Mary Immaculate" - Ripoll, "Saint Mary of Ripoll" Ronda, "Sacred Heart of Jesus" Rota, "Our Lady of the Rosary" - Sabadell, "Saint John Bosco" - San Jose del Valle, "Saint Raphael" San Viceng dels Horts, "Sacred Heart" - Sanlucar la Mayor, "Sacred Heart of Jesus" - Sant Adria de Besos, "Saint Francis of Assisi" - Sant Boi de Llobregat, "Saint Dominic Savio" - Sevilla-Provinciaal house, "Most Blessed Trinity" - Sevilla-Colegio Mayor, "Saint John Bosco" - Sevilla-Jesus Obrero, "Mary Help of Christians" - Sevilla-Triana, "Saint Peter" - Sevilla-Trinidad Scuole, "Most Blessed Trinity" - Sevilla-Trinidad D. P Ricaldone, "Most Blessed Trinity" - Terrassa, "Saint Dominic Savio" - Ubeda, "Saint Dominic Savio" -Utrera, "Our Lady of Carmel" - Valencia, "Saint Anthony Abbot" Valencia- Sagunto, "Saint Dominic Savio" - Valencia-Saint J. Bosco, "Saint John Bosco" - Valencia- San Jose, "Saint Joseph" - Villena, "Mary Help of Christians" Zaragoza, "Our Lady of Pillar".

The following is established:

  • Belonging to the Province are Salesians who on the date of the canonical erection, are living and working in the Salesian Houses listed above. Nevertheless, this state of belonging is temporary for those who by an agreement between Provincials are temporarily providing a form of collaboration in the Houses of these three Provinces.
  • In addition, belonging to the Province are the confreres in formation from the pre-existing three Provinces: "Most Holy Mary of Ransom" of Barcelona, "Mary Help of Christians" of Seville, "Saint Joseph" of Valencia and other confreres incardinated in these Provinces, who at the time of the canonical erection are outside the Province for reasons of study, health, work or other motive.
  • On the basis of articles 156 of the Constitutions and 114 of the

General Regulations, taking part in the General Chapter will be the Superior and three Delegates elected by the Salesians gathered in the Provincial Chapter.

For anything else the norms established by the Constitutions and the General Regulations apply.

The present Decree will come into force on 7 June 2014.

Rome, 24 May 2014.
Fr Angel FERNANDEZ ARTIME
Rector Major
Fr Marian STEMPEL Secretary General

 
5.5 New Provincials

 

Below (in alphabetical order) we provide some biographical details of the Provincials appointed by the Rector Major and his Council in the course of the 2014 summer plenary session.

1. BIAGGI Marco, Superior of the Vice Province of MOZAMBIQUE

Fr Marco BIAGGI is the new Superior of the Mary Help of Christians Vice Province of MOZAMBIQUE. He takes the place of Fr Americo Chaquisse, elected by the GC27 as Councillor for the Africa and Madagascar Region.


Born on 8 April 1956 in Santa Barbara do Oeste (Sao Paulo, Brazil), Marco Biaggi made his first Salesian profession on 31 January 1975. Perpetually professed on 31-01-1981, he was ordained priest on 10 December 1983 in his native city. After ordination he exercised his educative and pastoral ministry for four years (1984-1988) in Piracicaba - Don Bosco. He was then appointed Rector of the house of Cruzeiro, where he remained for two years (1989-1990), before going again as Rector to Pindamonhangaba (1990-1995). After three years, also as Rector in Lorena - S Gioacchino, in 1998 he was appointed Provincial Economer and in 2005 Superior of the Province of Sao Paulo, Brazil. Afterwards for two years (2012-2013) he was economer and director of the Oratory in the house of Americana, before becoming Rector of Piracicaba - Don Bosco. Now he has been entrusted with the guidance and animation of the Vice Province of Mozambique.

2. MANIK Karol, Superior of the Special Circumscription of GREEK-CATHOLIC UKRAINE

To succeed Fr Onorino Pistellato and as Superior to lead the "Mary Help of Christians" Circumscription of Greek-Catholic Ukraine, Fr Karol Manfk has been appointed.

Fr Karol Manfk was born 3 October 1967 at Prdov and has been a Salesian since 31 January 1990, the date of his first profession. Perpetually professed on 17 February 1995, he was ordained priest on 12 August 1995.

After ordination, for a year he worked in the house of Bratislava - Mileticova (1995-1996),before going to the house of Bratislava - Mamateyova, first as Vice Rector and then as Rector (1998-2004). In 2002 he became a member of the Provincial Council. In 2005 he was appointed Vice Provincial and in 2008 Superior of the Province of Slovakia. Now he takes over the guidance of the Circumscription of Greek-Catholic Ukraine.

3. MOLINA PADILLA Jorge Alejandro, Provincial of ECUADOR

Fr Jorge Alejandro MOLINA PADILLA is the new Provincial of the "Sacred Heart of Jesus" Province of Ecuador.

He was born 2 November 1961 in Gualaceo (Azuay, Ecuador) and has been a Salesian since 4 October 1980, the date of his first profession. Perpetually professed on 16 July 1986, he was ordained priest on 18 August 1991 in Cuenca.

After ordination, he worked for three years (1991-1994) as Vice Rector of the house of Quito - Teenico, and for two (1994-1996) as economer of the Postnovitiate in Quito.

In the years 1996-1998 he was councillor in the house of Limon. Between 1999 and 2008 he was Rector and director of novices in the house of Cumbaya - Lumbisi, while also being for two years the economer of this house. Since 2008 he has been in the Provincial House with the role of Vice Provincial. Now he takes up the guidance of the Province of Ecuador.

4. MONTEMAYOR Ted, Provincial of the WEST UNITED STATES Province

To lead the "Saint Andrew" Province of the West United States, the Rector Major with his Council has appointed Fr Ted MONTEMAYOR. He takes over from Fr Timothy Ploch, elected by GC27 the Councillor for the Interamerica Region.

He was born 13 December 1952 in Laredo (TX) (United States) and has been a Salesian since 1 September 1972, the date of his first profession. Perpetually professed on 27 August 1978, he was ordained priest on 11 June 1983 in Columbus.

After ordination, for two years (1983-1985) he was in the house of Edmonton (Canada) and then between 1985 and 1991 in Bellflower - St. John Bosco. Between 1991 and 1998 he was in the house of Rosemead, where he was for one year councillor and for six Vice Rector. Then for a year he was in Rome at the UPS for a course of ongoing formation. He returned to the house of Rosemead to continue as Vice Rector until 2000, when he was transferred to Los Angeles. In 2002 he returned to the house of Rosemead when he was appointed Rector and director of novices. From 2007 until his appointment as Provincial he was in Bellflower St. Dominic Savio, where he was Vice Rector and parish priest.

For ten years he was a member of the Provincial Council; three years as Vice Provincial and seven as a Provincial Councillor.

Now the guidance and animation of the Province of West United States has been entrusted to him.

5. OROZCO SANCHEZ Hugo, Provincial of the Province of GUADALAJARA, MEXICO

Fr Hugo OROZCO SANCHEZ is the new Provincial of the "Christ the King and Mary Help of Christians" Province of Guadalajara, Mexico.

He was born 30 June 1968 in San Luis Potosi (Mexico) and has been a Salesian since 18 August 1989 when he made his first profession after his novitiate at Chula - Vista. Perpetually professed on 10 September 1995, he was ordained priest on 15 March 1997 in San Pedro Tlaquepaque.

After ordination. until 2007 he was in the house of L6on - Ciudad del Nirio where for a year he was the Vice Rector, for five the economer and four the Rector. For three further years (2007-2010) he was Rector and economer of the house of Ciudad Juarez. In 2010 he was moved to the Provincial house in Guadalajara. From 2010 until his appointment as Provincial he was Provincial Councillor, Delegate for Formation and for two years Delegate for Youth Ministry. Now he takes up the guidance of the Province of Guadalajara, Mexico.

6. ORTIZ RODRIGUEZ Javier - Provincial of the Province of BOLIVIA

To lead the "Our Lady of Copacabana" Province of Bolivia, the Rector Major with his Council has appointed Fr Javier ORTIZ RODRIGUEZ.

He was born on 29 April 1968 in Montero (Bolivia) and has been a Salesian since 31 January 1989, the date of his first profession. Perpetually professed on 31 January 1995, he was ordained priest on 30 August 1997 in Montero - La Floresta.

After ordination he was in Cochabamba - Fatima - Postnovitiate (1997-2005), where he was Vice Rector for a year and Rector for six years. In 2005 he was appointed Rector of the house of Cochabamba - Quintanila and in 2011 Rector of the Provincial house in Cochabamba, the role he held until his appointment as Provincial. Between 1999 and 2005 he was Provincial Secretary. For six years (2005-2011) he was a Provincial Councillor and in the last three years Provincial Economer.

For various years he was also responsible for the Salesian Family, for Vocation Ministry, for Education in the Province and for Past Pupils. Now he has been entrusted with the guidance and animation of the Province of Bolivia.

7. RANDIMBISOA Charles Armand, Superior of the Vice Province of MADAGASCAR

Fr Charles Armand RANDIMBISOA is the new Superior of the "Mary Immaculate" Vice Province of MADAGASCAR.

Randimbisoa Armand was born on 17 April 1971 in Soatanana (Madagascar). He made his first profession on 8 September 1995, after completing his Novitiate at Ivato (Madagascar). He made his perpetual profession on 29 September 2002 in Fianarantosa, where he was also ordained priest on 16 May 2004.

After ordination for two years (2004-2006) he was in Ambohidratrimo. In 2006 he was transferred to the house of Betafo, where he was a Councillor and director of the Oratory. From 2010 until his appointment as Superior of the Vice Province he was in Ambohidratrimo, as Rector of the house and Director of Novices. For two years (2007-2009) he had also been responsible for vocations at Province level. Now he takes up the guidance of the Vice Province of Madagascar.

8. RIVA Eugenio, Superior of the "Mary Seat of Wisdom" Vice Province in Rome

To lead the "Mary Seat of Wisdom" Vice Province in ROME (UPS), the Rector Major with his Council has appointed Fr Eugenio RIVA.

He was born on 29 December 1950 in Treviglio (BG), Italy, where the Salesians have a flourishing school and oratory. Attracted by the Salesian vocation, he entered the Novitiate in Missaglia (CO), and made his first profession on 16 August 1968. Having studied philosophy at Nave (BS) and completed his practical training he began theology and obtained a Licence in Theology. Perpetually professed on 14 September 1974, he was ordained priest in Treviglio on 27 May 1978. Having completed these studies he then obtained a degree and teaching qualification in Philosophy. The Superiors then sent him as teacher and member of the formation team to the philosophical-pedagogical Institute (post-novitiate) in Nave (BS), of which he was Principal for several years. In 1994 he was appointed Rector of the house in Treviglio, and in 1997 appointed a Provincial Councillor. In 1999 the Rector Major with his Council appointed him Provincial of the Lombardy-Emilian Province with headquarters in Milan. At the end of the six year period in 2005 he was again sent to Nave as Rector. In 2006 the Rector Major entrusted to him the animation and guidance of the North East Italy Province. At the end of the six year period in 2012 he was once again appointed Rector of the Postnovitiate in Nave. Now he has been entrusted with the guidance and animation of the "Mary Seat of Wisdom" Vice Province in Rome (UPS).

 
5.6 New Salesian Bishop

 

1. OSTER Stefan, Bishop of the Diocese of Passau (Germany)

On 4 April 2014 the Press Office of the Holy See reported that Pope Francis had appointed the Salesian priest Stefan OSTER Bishop of the Diocese of di Passau (Germany).

Fr Stefan Oster was born 3 June 1965 in Amberg, in the diocese of Regensburg (Germany). Between 1984 and 1986 he trained as a journalist and radio editor, an occupation he pursued with various newspapers and radio stations. In 1988 he began studies in Philosophy, History and Religion at Re gensburg, Kiel, Keele in Great Britain and Oxford, where in 1993 he obtained the "Master of Arts."

In 1994 he obtained the "Magister Artium" at Regensburg. In 1995 he entered the Novitiate at Jiinkerath (Germany) and concluded with his first religious profession on 15 August 1996. He immediately began the study of Theology at Benediktbeuern.

He made his perpetual profession on 24 July 1999 and was ordained priest on 24 June 2001 in Benediktbeuern. In 2003 he obtained a Doctorate in Philosophy at the Faculty of Theology in the University of Augsburg. Then between 2003 and 2009, he was Professor of Philosophy at the School of Higher Studies of the Salesians in Benediktbeuern. In 2009 he obtained the teaching qualification in Dogmatic Theology at the Theological Faculty of Trier and was appointed to the Chair of Dogma and the History of Dogma at Benediktbeuern, the position he still occupied when he was appointed Bishop. He is a member of the Commission for Vocations of the German Bishops'

5.7 Our dead confreres (3rd list 2013 plus 1" list 2014)

 

"Faith in the risen Christ sustains our hope and keeps alive our communion with our brothers who rest in Christ's peace. They have spent their lives in the Congregation, and not a few have suffered even to the point of martyrdom for the love of the Lord... Their remembrance is an incentive to continue faithfully in our mission" (Const. 94). Deceased 2013 - 3rd list


NOTE: Below is a ad list of the deceased in 2013, arrived after the publication of AGC n. 417.

SURNAME AND NAME

PLACE of death

DATE

AGE

PROV

P DIAZ VELASQUEZ Rodrigo Alvaro

Bogota (Colombia)

10/10/2013

90

COB

P FIRRONE Diego

Torino (Italia)

26/12/2013

95

ICP

P FLESSATI Renzo

Castelfranco Veneto (Italia)

21/12/2013

89

INE

L GOMEZ VALENCIA Julio

Sevilla (Spagna)

27/12/2013

88

SSE

P MARCHIORI Giorgio

Venezia-Mestre (Italia)

11/12/2013

74

INE

P O'MEARA Michael

Bolton (Gran Bretagna)

26/12/2013

81

GBR

L PINION Bernardino

Roma (Italia)

30/12/2013

93

ICC

L PINZON GUERRERO Enrique

Malaga (Spagna)

27/12/2013

77

SSE

P ROSSI Adelmo

Arese (Italia)

18/12/2013

88

ILE

P SCHREURS Joseph

Caen (Francia)

17/12/2013

82

FRB

P SCHWIERZI Johannes

Delmenhorst (Germania)

24/12/2013

71

GER

L VIANELLO Antonino

Castello di Godego (Italia)

27/12/2013

92

INE

P VIVES Jean-Noel

Mulhouse (Francia)

22/12/2013

74

FRB

L ZUMBADO Benedicto

San Jose (Costa Rica)

09/11/2013

87

CAM

P ALBA MONTESINOS Jose

Sevilla (Spagna)

28/05/2014

92

SSE

L ALDASORO ALDASORO Jose Matias

Barcelona (Spagna)

13/06/2014

79

SMX

P ALFARO Rafael

Granada (Spagna)

23/03/2014

84

SSE

P ALLEGRI Luigi

Torino (Italia)

21/01/2014

82

ICP

P AMARTINO Victor Celestino

Alta Gracia (Argentina)

14/01/2014

88

ARS

P APARICIO PERSONA Valentin

Granada (Colombia)

20/02/2014

87

COB

P ARONICA Ferdinando

Messina (Italia)

09/04/2014

93

ISI

P BABIC Andrija

Cugovec (Croazia)

04/07/2014

66

CR0

P BADZGON Milan

Nitra (Slovacchia)

21/05/2014

82

SLK

P BAGNARIOL Felice

Castelfranco Veneto (Italia)

12/09/2014

79

INE

L BARAMBIO PEREZ Evelio

Elche (Alicante, Spagna)

12/08/2014

71

SMX

P BELLIDO ZILVETI David Gregorio

La Paz (Bolivia)

21/03/2014

55

BOL

P BERATZ Higino Luis

Bahia Blanca (Argentina)

06/09/2014

89

ARS

L BIKHO Paul

Calcutta (India)

23/02/2014

76

INC

P BLOGSLAWSKI Nelson

Viamao (Brasile)

20/04/2014

74

BPA

P BOBEL Waclaw

Olsztyn (Polonia)

26/07/2014

81

PLE

P BONJEAN Gerard

Duarte (U.S.A.)

14/03/2014

77

SUO

P BONNET Rene

Toulon (Francia)

21/06/2014

81

FRB

P BORTOLINI Alfredo Fu Ispettore per 8 anni

Campinas (Brasile)

22/05/2014

100

BSP

P BRANCHETTI Ermanno

Alassio (Italia)

19/06/2014

76

ICC

L BROJANIGO Egidio

Roma (Italia)

04/07/2014

102

RMG

E BUCCOLINI Alejandro Antonio Fu Vescovo di Rio Gallegos per 13 anni

Buenos Aires (Argentina)

06/06/2014

84

P BUTTARELLI Silvio

L'Aquila (Italia)

30/07/2014

52

ICC

P BWATO Jean

Lubumbashi (FL D. del Congo)

24/03/2014

45

AFC

P CALVACHI Raimundo

Quito (Ecuador)

27/04/2014

71

ECU

P CAROLLO Mario

Portici (Italia)

07/01/2014

88

IME

P CARRARO Bruno

Castello di Godego (Italia)

13/05/2014

90

INE

P CARREL Jude,

Toulon (Francia)

11/04/2014

88

FRB

P CASTELLARO Angel

Cordoba (Argentina)

17/07/2014

90

ARN

L CHIAROTTI Mario

Torino (Italia)

11/01/2014

91

ICP

L CHRISTI Santiago

Bahia Blanca (Argentina)

30/01/2014

85

ARS

P CODI Marino

Roma (Italia)

09/06/2014

92

ICC

P CUEVAS Pablo

Medellin (Colombia)

11/08/2014

92

COM

P CURIO Dominic

Makati City (Filippine)

01/08/2014

92

FIN

P DE SEZE Elie

Toulon (Francia)

08/09/2014

87

FRB

L DELA CRUZ Ramon

Calauan (Filippine)

01/03/2014

74

FIN

P DEREERE August

Sint-Denijs-Westrem (Belgio)

13/07/2014

81

BEN

P DESRAMAUT Francois

Toulon (Francia)

01/09/2014

91

FRB

P DIAZ LEON Fernando

Sevilla (Spagna)

28/08/2014

78

SMX

L DIJKSTRA Antoon (Antonius)

Wijchen (Olanda)

29/04/2014

79

BEN

P DONATO CODEVILA Roberto

Montevideo (Uruguay)

10/03/2014

85

URU

L FABBRONI Attilio

Secondigliano (Italia)

05/04/2014

88

IME

P FRANCHI Remo

Roma (Italia)

22/01/2014

80

ICC

P FRANC! Gaetano

Torino (Italia)

03/01/2014

87

ICP

P FREML Josef

Ostrava (Repubblica Ceca)

23/07/2014

86

CEP

L GALATI Angelo

Messina (Italia)

07/03/2014

75

ISI

P GALLO Attilio

Hong Kong (Cina)

11/02/2014

93

CIN

P GARCIA MUNOZ Francisco Javier

El Campello (Spagna)

23/02/2014

73

SVA

P GARCIA RAMPEREZ Ramon

Habana (Cuba)

30/01/2014

67

ANT

P GARIGLIO Luigi

Torino (Italia)

09/09/2014

78

ICP

P GATTI Guido

Venezia-Mestre (Italia)

05/01/2014

82

INE

L GHENO Raimondo

Brescia (Italia)

02/01/2014

97

ILE

P GIANI Arturo

Torino (Italia)

24/05/2014

87

ICP

P GOEMAERE Jaak

Kortrijk (Belgio)

01/01/2014

90

BEN

P GONZALEZ GARCIA Miguel

Caracas (Venezuela)

15/03/2014

86

VEN

L GRAF Jose

Comodoro Rivadavia (Argentina)

08/05/2014

93

ARS

P GRASSL Friedrich

Klagenfurt (Austria)

13/01/2014

74

AUS

P GROPPO Giuseppe

Roma (Italia)

03/02/2014

90

UPS

P HO Kuang-Ling Peter Fu Ispettore per 6 anni

Hong Kong (Cina)

31/03/2014

85

CIN

 

 

 

 

 

P HOFSTETTER Karl

Vocklabruck (Austria)

02/09/2014

78

AUS

P HOLZMANN Valentin

Santa Rosa (Argentina)

21/08/2014

89

ARS

P HUBLER Bernard

Mulhouse (Francia)

22/04/2014

73

FRB

P HUIJSDENS Ludovico

Bahia Blanca (Argentina)

21/03/2014

91

ARS

P IDOATE GORRIZ Jesus

Barcelona (Spagna)

05/09/2014

86

SMX

P JANIA Tadeusz

Krakow (Polonia)

27/04/2014

85

PLS

P JEZIERSKI Stanislaw

Lqd (Polonia)

17/06/2014

96

PLN

P JIMENEZ DIAZ Ildefonso

Avila (Spagna)

11/02/2014

53

SMA

P JIMENEZ ROJAS Mario Alberto Fu Ispettore per 6 anni

Bogota (Colombia)

03/05/2014

84

COB

P JUNG Jean-Pierre

Parigi (Francia)

29/04/2014

86

FRB

P KACZMARZYK MieczystawFu Ispettore per 6 anni

Krakow (Polonia)

13/01/2014

78

PLS

P KAIDATHARA Francis

Tiruchy (India)

10/09/2014

67

INT

P KAROTEMPREL Sebastian

Shillong (India)

20/07/2014

82

INS

P KAWAI Tsuneo Paolo

Tokyo (Giappone)

23/06/2014

68

GIA

P KENNEDY Christopher

Makati City (Filippine)

13/03/2014

67

FIN

P KENNY Thomas

Blanchardstown (Irlanda)

12/04/2014

83

IRL

P KOPECKY Jaroslav

Litomyal (Repubblica Ceca)

21/08/2014

90

CEP

L LAMBRECHT Juan

Bahia Blanca (Argentina)

19/08/2014

88

ARS

P LANDONI Luigi

Asti (Italia)

16/04/2014

76

ICP

E LEADEN Guillermo Fu Vescovo per 38 anni di cui per 17 anni Ausiliare di Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires (Argentina)

14/07/2014

100

L LEE Aloysius

Hong Kong (Cina)

16/03/2014

80

CIN

P LIANG Vincent

Hong Kong (Cina)

15/07/2014

88

CIN

P LOMBARDI Domenico

Acquavona (Italia)

05/08/2014

64

IME

P LUCZAK Henryk

Wroclaw (Polonia)

18/06/2014

70

PLO

P MAFFEZZONI Francesco

Arese (Italia)

08/09/2014

78

ILE

P MANCINI Livio

Roma (Italia)

02/02/2014

87

ICC

P MANFREDONIA Taddeo

Salerno (Italia)

17/02/2014

87

IME

P MANISCALO Paul

San Francisco (U.S.A.)

12/08/2014

98

SUO

P MANZANO GOMEZ Julio

Arevalo (Spagna)

30/08/2014

76

SSM

S MARDI Manuel

Guwahati (India)

24/03/2014

26

ING

P MATACONIS Richard

Roma (Italia)

21/01/2014

83

SUE

P McGUIRE James

Farnham (Gran Bretagna)

02/03/2014

98

GBR

P MEHERS John

Siteki (Swaziland)

08/08/2014

80

AFM

P MELTS Carlo Fu Ispettore per 6 anni

Genzano di Roma (Italia)

10/03/2014

84

ICC

P MERINO URIEN Nicolas

Madrid (Spagna)

07/07/2014

86

SSM

P MERRIMAN Joseph

Farnham (Gran Bretagna)

17/06/2014

84

GBR

P MIRANDA ESCAMILLA Jorge

San Salvador (El Salvador)

25/08/2014

86

CAM

P MO Ze Tsong Mathias

Yenora (Australia)

05/03/2014

83

AUL

L MURA Giuseppe

Roma (Italia)

19/05/2014

83

ICC

P NDRZEJUK Benedykt

Stupsk (Polonia)

12/07/2014

77

PLN

P NOBOA Virgilio

Riobamba (Ecuador)

25/07/2014

80

ECU

P OLLIVRY Guy

Libreville (Gabon)

30/07/2014

88

ATE

P PAJTAK Ivan

Zagabria (Croazia)

23/01/2014

60

CR0

P PALLIPARAMPIL Matthew

Calcutta (India)

24/06/2014

72

INC

P PANZIERA Mario

Campo Grande (Brasile)

18/08/2014

87

BCG

P PARENT Claude

Templeure (Belgio)

16/08/2014

85

FRB

P PARKES Bernard

Ince Blundell (Gran Bretagna)

08/04/2014

67

GBR

P PENDERS Lambert

Sint - Denijs - Westrem (Belgio)

19/06/2014

89

BEN

P PLAZA Jesus

Valencia (Venezuela)

15/02/2014

79

VEN

L PRACHIN PIEMSIRI Simn

Bangkok (Tailandia)

06/02/2014

90

THA

P QUILICI Mario Fu Ispettore per 6 anni

Sao Paulo (Brasile)

21/07/2014

91

BSP

L RACCO Livio

Torino (Italia)

03/01/2014

90

ICP

P REIJKERS Adriaan

Assel (Olanda)

21/04/2014

102

BEN

P REIS Gutenberg (dos)

Sao Paulo (Brasile)

06/01/2014

83

BSP

P REPOVZ Jose Mario

Buenos Aires (Argentina)

20/04/2014

59

ARS

Fu Ispettore per 6 anni

 

 

 

 

L RIBEIRO Jose

Dili (Timor Est)

06/04/2014

89

ITM

P RIESCO SANTOS Ismael

Salamanca (Madrid)

22/02/2014

82

SMA

P RODRIGUEZ Alejandrino

Cordoba (Argentina)

17/03/2014

87

ARN

L RODRIGUEZ OVELAR Cecilio

Yapacarai (Paraguay)

01/01/2014

83

PAR

P RODRIGUEZ R. Juan Pablo

Bogota (Colombia)

06/09/2014

77

COB

P ROGGIO Rafael

Cordoba (Argentina)

07/09/2014

91

ARN

P RUSSO (RIZZUTO) Giovanni

Palermo (Italia)

01/02/2014

78

ISI

P SAMUELE Orfeo

Altipiani di Arcinazzo (Italia)

01/08/2014

80

ICC

L SANCHEZ MORANTES Luis

Valencia (Venezuela)

15/02/2014

83

VEN

L SANCHEZ PEREZ Victoriano

San Francisco de Macoris (Repubblica Dominicana)

09/08/2014

76

ANT

P SAVAGE Robert

New York (U.S.A.)

23/05/2014

97

SUE

P SAVINO Giuseppe

Taranto (Italia)

10/02/2014

82

IME

L SCHOUTEN Kees

Huis ter Heide (Olanda)

30/06/2014

84

BEN

P SERRUYS Victor

Etterbeek (Belgio)

14/04/2014

91

BEN

P SHUTKA (SUTKA) Jan

Cuenca (Ecuador)

11/08/2014

83

ECU

P SILEIKA Stanfslovas

Kaunas (Lituania)

17/06/2014

95

ICP

P SOBRERO Giuseppe

Coacalco (Messico)

10/01/2014

83

MEM

L SPAGGIARI Giovanni

Frascati (Italia)

29/01/2014

92

ICC

P STEFANI Giovanni

Roma (Italia)

21/01/2014

91

ICC

P STEFFAN Alphonse

Landser (Francia)

01/01/2014

92

FRB

P TARDIVO Giuseppe

Santiago (Cite)

01/07/2014

97

CIL

P TOPNO Joseph

Tezpur (India)

27/08/2014

95

ING

P TRAN Duc Dau Antonio

Ba Thon (Vietnam)

11/04/2014

64

VIE

- P VACCARELLO Francesco

Lima (Peru)

14/01/2014

83

PER

P VAN HAM Joseph

Embourg (Belgio)

21/01/2014

84

FRB

P VAZQUEZ JULIO Alonso

Sevilla (Spagna)

24/05/2014

83

SSE

P VENUTI Vittorio

Venezia-Mestre (Italia)

11/07/2014

94

INE

P VICENTE PINDADO Jose

Bilbao (Spagna)

23/07/2014

74

SSM

L VILLUVIRUTHIL Varkey

Calcutta (India)

12/06/2014

85

INC

VISALLI Antonino

Messina (Italia)

05/01/2014

90

ISI

VITACCHIO Giancarlo

Santorso (Italia)

09/03/2014

93

INE

VRECKO Augustin

Potionville (Haiti)

10/03/2014

79

FRB

WALEK Michat

Sokolow Podlaski (Polonia)

12/02/2014

87

PLE

WEHINGER Klaus

Daun (Germania)

29/06/2014

88

GER

WHITTLE Joseph

Naas (Irian*

11/03/2014

94

IRL

WIGGER Werner

JOnkerath (Germania)

02/06/2014

79

GER

WITTBRODT Jozef

Kraszewo (Polonia)

08/03/2014

79

PLE

WOJCIK Daniel

Jedrzychow (Polonia)

11/09/2014

79

PLO

WOSS Franz Fu Ispettore per 6 anni

Unterwaltersdorf (Austria)

23/03/2014

73

AUS

YUAN Sylvester

Hong Kong (Cina)

13/01/2014

81

CIN

ACG 419

List hlavního představeného

Více patřit Bohu, spolubratřím a mladým

Don Ángel FERNÁNDEZ ARTIME, SDB

hlavní představený

Obsah

Více patřit Bohu, spolubratřím a mladým... 3

1. Ve stopách předchůdců.. 3

2. Přítomnost je třeba žít s vírou, nadějí a realismem – společně na cestě  9

3. Patříme stále více Bohu.. 11

4. Uskutečněme „utopii“ bratrství podle evangelia.. 13

5. S mladými k mladým, našim „pánům“. 16

6. Misijní kongregace – Různost znamená bohatství 18

6.1 Proč je řada misijních míst, kde je nás opravdu třeba. 19

6.2 …a proč je různost bohatstvím.. 20

7. Dvousté jubileum narození Dona Boska.. 21

8. „Vezměme k sobě domů Pannu Marii“. „A od té chvíle si ji ten učedník vzal k sobě.“ (Jan 19,27)  23

List hlavního představeného

Více patřit Bohu, spolubratřím a mladým

Řím, 16. srpna 2014

Drazí spolubratři,

uplynuly už více než tři měsíce od konce 27. generální kapituly, a třebaže jsem se vám už ozval prostřednictvím krátkého videopozdravu, list hlavního představeného, zveřejňovaný v Aktech generálního domu, je pro mě zvláštní příležitostí, jak vás oslovit.

Vybral jsem stejný název, jaký měl můj projev na závěr generální kapituly, protože mám za to, že v dokumentu kapituly je už obsažen veškerý program pro přemýšlení a činnost na další šestiletí, který bychom měli rozvíjet každý podle svých darů a schopností. Odvolávám se na několik bodů, jimiž se zabývala generální kapitula, ale na prvním místě bych chtěl všem a každému z vás, drazí spolubratři salesiáni, vyjádřit svou lásku a přání, abychom byli stále ve spojení, ať už jsme na jakémkoli místě našeho „salesiánského světa“. Naše setkání pro mě bude opravdovým darem a radostí.

Chtěl bych vám také říci, co pro mě nyní znamená služba, kterou jsem přijal. V této souvislosti jsem přečetl první poselství všech svých předchůdců. A musím říci, že jsem to udělal s velkým potěšením a vnímal jsem to jako dar pro svou duši, protože jsem se setkal s velkými svědky. Nemohu si nechat pro sebe, co jsem načerpal, protože tyto texty mluví samy za sebe.

1. Ve stopách předchůdců

Musím přiznat, že už pouhý fakt, že píši tento text, vnímám s pohnutím, protože myslím na hlavní představené, které jsme měli v minulosti. V každém z jejich prvních poselství je něco zcela mimořádného.

Bl. don Michal RUA, který svůj první list napsal jako hlavní představený 19. března 1888, poté co převzal své ustanovení do úřadu dekretem Svatého stolce, který ho potvrdil v roli hlavního představeného, napsal, že jako nový hlavní představený, „přes svou nehodnost byl ustanoven božskou Prozřetelností, která byla manifestována každému z vás“.[1] Don Rua dále píše, že po osobní audienci u papeže Lva XIII. mu kardinál vikář na závěr rozhovoru řekl: „Kladu vám na srdce věc Dona Boska; kladu vám na srdce věc Dona Boska.“[2] V dalším textu vyjadřuje své hluboké přesvědčení, že salesiáni musí zůstat věrnými syny tak velkého otce, jakým byl Don Bosco, a jejich hlavním úkolem bude zachovat a rozvinout jeho dílo a věrně následovat metodu a nauku Dona Boska. Potom děkuje za všechny dopisy, které přijal, a za všechny projevy úcty a lásky a vyznává, že to vše je mu útěchou v jeho bolesti (má na mysli ztrátu Dona Boska), a doufá, že na svého předchůdce dobře naváže: „Přesto všechno nemohu skrývat sobě ani vám velkou potřebu vašich modliteb. Odevzdávám se vaší lásce a podpoře vašich modliteb. Ujišťuji vás, že vás všechny nosím ve svém srdci, že vás budu každého dne doporučovat při mši sv. Pánu, aby vám pomáhal svou svatou milostí, aby vás chránil od každého nebezpečí a především aby nás všechny jednou shromáždil všechny spolu, nikdo aby nechyběl, abychom mu společně zazpívali chvály v ráji, tam, kde nás očekává, jak to napsal nás nejmilovanější otec Don Bosco.“[3]

Don Paolo ALBERA napsal svůj první list v Turíně 25. ledna 2011. XI. generální kapitula skončila 31. srpna 1910. List začíná velmi prostě slovy o tom, že hlavní představený si je vědom netrpělivosti, s níž je očekáván list nového hlavního představeného a omlouvá se za zpoždění, které bylo dáno administrativou po jeho volbě.[4]

Don Albera oznamuje, že píše těsně před výročím úmrtí ctihodného Dona Boska, v období, kdy don Rua psával své oblíbené okružníky, a doufá, že „právě toto datum dodá autoritu a účinek mému nehodnému slovu. Navíc se vám představuji jazykem, který je dalek jazyku představeného a učitele, ale spíš má blízko prostému jazyku bratra a přítele. Nejraději bych vám předal své myšlenky ze srdce do ruky, s důvěrou, že můj hlas nalezne věrný odraz ve všech salesiánech a všem poslouží jako podnět k životu synů ve stopách našeho ctihodného zakladatele a otce“.[5] Po těchto slovech pod titulkem Pod tíhou odpovědnosti píše don Albera překrásnou stránku, kde vyjadřuje, že vnímá velkou tíhu, kterou by nejraději proměnil v „závazek, který vnímám jako větší, než mohou unést mé fyzické, intelektuální a morální síly“.[6]

Podle svých slov viděl kolem sebe mnohé jiné, kteří byli lépe připraveni k tomu, aby přijali vládu nad Zbožnou společností sv. Františka Saleského, více vybaveni ctnostmi a moudrostí… Don Albera po volbě spěchal do Valsalice, aby si u ostatků Dona Boska postěžoval, proč Don Bosco nechal kormidlo salesiánské loďky padnout do jeho rukou… Spíš pláčem než slovy vyjádřil tehdy své obavy, úzkosti a slabost.[7]

První list bl. dona Filipa RINALDIHO byl publikován v Aktech hlavní rady, tedy ve stejných Aktech, v nichž ho publikoval už don Albera před třemi lety (Albera pak napsal ještě třináct listů). V první části listu píše: „Je to poprvé, kdy píši jako hlavní představený a rád bych vám zprostředkoval všechny emoce, které v mém srdci v těchto památných dnech zanechala tato nová odpovědnost. Je snadné pochopit, že to není možné: v našich životech se děje tolik pohnutých událostí, že slova nedokážou vyjádřit a popsat to, co se v nás děje. Jejich interpretaci tedy ponechávám na vás a na vaší dobré vůli.[8]

Don Rinaldi pak píše, že nemůže poděkovat každému salesiánovi zvlášť, a tak dík svěřuje několika málo řádkům, které věnuje všem, a to 24. měsíce dubna ve společenství inspektorů a delegátů generální kapituly a spolubratří a mladých z oratoře. V dojetí se v prostraci položil před usměvavým obrazem naší Pomocnice v její krásné svatyni a všechny doporučil jako milované děti jejímu Srdci.[9]

Don Pietro RICALDONE uvedl první list svým pozdravem 24. dubna 1932: „Mým prvním pozdravem je modlitba. Naše Společnost už není v kompetentních a svatých rukou bl. Dona Boska, dona Ruy, dona Albery nebo dona Rinaldiho: pomozte mi získat od Pána milost, aby v rukou vašeho nového hlavního představeného neochabla v zápalu a v rytmu svého rozvoje.[10]

Don Ricaldone prosí o prominutí, že svůj laskavý a otcovský pozdrav nemohl napsat hned, i když jeho myšlenky byly hned u všech salesiánů, ale generální kapitula a povinnosti, které zahrnovaly setkání s inspektory a cestu do Říma, mu to nedovolily. Děkuje za všechny srdečné projevy přízně, jichž se mu dostalo, a za všechny modlitby. Slibuje, že se bude za všechny modlit a že bude usilovat, aby Společnost zůstala věrná Stanovám a ve spojení s duchem bl. Dona Boska.

Dvacátého čtvrtého srpna 1952 napsal první list don Renato Ziggiotti s tím, že čekal na konec XVII. generální kapituly a na sliby nových profesů 15. a 16. srpna, kdy jsme si připomněli výročí narození našeho milovaného otce a zakladatele. „První list svěřuji do zvláštní péče naší Matky Nejsvětější Panny Marie v den její měsíční připomínky“.[11]

Hlavní představený v dalším textu děkuje za blahopřání, která mu byla zaslána u příležitosti jeho jmenování, a ujišťuje svou vzpomínkou a modlitbou za všechny a za každého.

Dále spolubratřím připomíná, jak byl 1. srpna zvolen: „Bylo kolem jedné po poledni, kdy jsme dokončili dlouhé přípravy, sečetli volitele, zakončili slavnostní skrutinium, kdy se podepsaného salesiána dotkla mimořádná důstojnost spolu s nesmírnou odpovědností, protože se stal nástupcem svatého Jana Boska. Ani se, bratři, neptejte, jak jsem byl zmaten a zároveň jakou jsem měl radost, když jsem viděl, jak salesiáni aplaudují, radují se, objímají mě. Všichni členové generální kapituly byli dojati, včetně mých milovaných spolubratří představených a druhů, od starých po mladé, když skončila chvíle smutku a nadešel čas nového představeného.“[12]

Don Luigi RICCERRI napsal první slova jako hlavní představený a datoval je výrazem „slavné výročí“, 16. srpna 1965: „Poprvé se vám představuji v den tak drahý našemu synovskému srdci. Dnes je 150. výročí narození našeho nejlaskavějšího Otce.[13]

Potom vypráví o svém dojetí při celebrování mše sv. v dolním chrámu na Colle, kde byl obklopen spolubratry-představenými, donem Ziggiottim, Antalem, matkami z hlavní rady FMA, spolubratřími, novici, spolusestrami, bývalými žáky, věřícími a přáteli Dona Boska. Mše byla přenášena Eurovizí milionům osob z jedenácti národností. V myšlenkách se zaobíral kontrastem s prostou a nenápadnou oslavou narozenin našeho Otce před sto padesáti lety. Obracel se k Prozřetelnosti a v srdci se modlil Magnificat.

Dále pod titulkem Motivy naděje píše: „Ano, při pohledu na Dona Boska a na jeho nástupce vidím celou svou nedostatečnost a jak jsem nehoden vydat se po jejich cestě.“[14] Don Riccerri píše, že jistou útěchou při myšlence na svou nedostatečnost mu je pomyšlení na to, že byl povolán na toto místo volbou při generální kapitule. A že Pán, který píše své řádky napříč lidskými úmysly, ho povolal, aby stanul v čele kongregace. „Společně konejme jeho vůli. Nezbude mi, než abych byl stále učenlivý, abych prosil o skromnost a abych se stal nástrojem v rukou dobrého Boha.“[15]

Dalším motivem, o němž se zmiňuje, je velká a upřímná láska a důvěra v ty, kdo stojí ku pomoci novému hlavnímu představenému, aby mu pomáhali, povzbuzovali ho a byli opravdovými syny a přáteli, jeho laskavými spolupracovníky.

Nakonec projevuje své otcovské srdce, když praví: „Z mé strany, když jsem vám otevřel srdce, bych vám rád řekl, že se cítím být ve službě každého z vás, se srdcem otce. Autorita, o níž jsem naprosto přesvědčen, a zvláště je tomu dnes, není výkon moci, ale výkon té lásky, která se stává službou, jako je to u otce a matky ve vztahu k jejich dětem. (…) Rád bych každému z vás vyjádřil svou živou touhu, vůli, abych se vám stal otcem; prosím intenzivně Boha a dona Rinaldiho, aby mi dali kousek svého srdce.“[16]

O slavnosti Zvěstování, 25. března 1978, napsal don Egidio VIGANÒ svůj první list spolubratřím: „Zdravím vás s radostí a s nadějí a rád bych vám sdělil několik myšlenek, které mám na srdci… Prozřetelnost před několika měsíci rozhodla o novém hlavním představeném. Nyní si uvědomuji, jak velkou odpovědnost přebírám ve službě rodině, jež musí být provázena duchovním otcem v hlubokém sjednocení s Donem Boskem“.[17]

Pak don Viganò podtrhl jistotu, že mu Pán bude pomáhat, aby měl účast na kráse a plnosti této služby, a že ho svou mateřskou přímluvou při setkáních se všemi spolubratry a s komunitami bude doprovázet Panna Maria.

Co se týká jeho samého, napsal: „Rád bych si osvojil citlivost stylu Dona Boska, bezprostřednost, jíž se vyznačovali ostatní jeho nástupci, ale také laskavost a prostotu, nebo alespoň upřímnost a solidnost.“[18]

Don Juan Edmundo VECCHI ještě jako vikář tlumočil poselství naděje na památku dona E. Viganò po jeho smrti 23. června 1995. Po klidném odchodu sedmého nástupce Dona Boska vedl Vecchi kongregaci vstříc 24. generální kapitule, kterou zahájil 18. února 1996 slavnostním otevřením a ukončením 20. dubna, už jako hlavní představený.

Proto je pochopitelné, že po převzetí vedení kongregace na kapitule, se jeho první list z 8. září 1996 týkal apoštolské exhortace Vita consacrata a není v něm žádný odkaz na začátek jeho služby v roli hlavního představeného. V tomto smyslu se liší od všech předchozích představených.

Konečně don Pascual CHÁVEZ, který byl zvolen hlavním představeným na 25. generální kapitule, otevřel svůj první list pozdravem všem spolubratřím po ukončení generální kapituly, kterou označil za silnou zkušenost salesiánské spirituality. Kapitulní dokumenty v té době už dorazily do jednotlivých provincií a hlavní představený toužil po tom, aby „se setkal se spolubratřími prostřednictvím tohoto prvního okružního listu. Psát listy byl apoštolský způsob vypracovaný sv. Pavlem, aby překonal zeměpisnou vzdálenost a nemožnost být uprostřed komunit a podílet se na jejich životě. Přes nutné překážky mohou být také listy hlavního představeného prostředkem, jak se přiblížit k bratřím a jejich provinciím a jak se podělit o události v kongregaci, jak vnášet světlo do života a výchovně-pastorační praxe komunit“.[19]

List byl datován v předvečer Nanabevzetí Panny Marie a dva dny před připomínkou narození Dona Boska. Don Pascual v něm vyjádřil svou touhu po blízkosti všem: „Neskrývám vám, že bych vám byl rád nablízku a sdílel s vámi vaše aktuální práce a největší sny; zvláště cítím v hloubi srdce přání modlit se za každého z vás. Pán ať vás naplní svými dary, Duchem svatým, aby vás obnovil a posvětil ve světle obrazu našeho zakladatele.“[20]

Don Pascual pak vyjádřil své přání promluvit v tomto listu k celé kongregaci o svatosti, nikoli v tom smyslu, že by mělo jít o traktát, ale s úmyslem představit ji s velkou apoštolskou naléhavostí jako Boží dar.

2. Přítomnost je třeba žít s vírou, nadějí a realismem – společně na cestě

S naprostou upřímností vám, milí spolubratři, mohu říci, že jsem byl několikrát dojat, když jsem procházel historií kongregace. Datum 31. leden 1888, kdy nás opustil Don Bosco, je podnětem pro mě i pro vás k hluboké vděčnosti za vše, co se událo v naší historii. V historii, kterou bychom neměli reflektovat s triumfalismem, nýbrž bychom ji měli číst ze zorného úhlu víry, která nám napovídá, že Pán chtěl napsat krásné stránky o mladých skrze tolik spolubratří, kteří nás předešli.

Když myslím na svou ubohou osobu, mohu vám říci, že bych si pro sebe přál – abych mohl lépe sloužit kongregaci a Salesiánské rodině, jejíž jsme součástí –, abych získal všechny vlastnosti i každou zvlášť z těch, jimiž vynikali všichni mí předchůdci, a to jak v teologickém, tak sociálním kontextu, tak ve vztahu k rozvoji kongregace. Buď jak buď, také znalci historie naší kongregace uznají, že naši minulost lze rozlišit zhruba do těchto etap: zakládání, konsolidacestrukturalizace (ruku v ruce s velkým rozmachem a rozvojem), pokoncilní revize a teologické vymezení, pastorační misijní projekty a etapa posilování salesiánské identity a evangelní radikality našeho života jako mužů zasvěcených Bohu. To vše, samozřejmě ruku v ruce s mnoha dalšími důrazy, které učinili spolubratři na generálních kapitulách a později rozvinuli různí hlavní představení.

Dědictví, kterého se nám dostalo, je krásné a bohaté a o to víc nás zavazuje před Pánem, před Donem Boskem a také před těmi, kdo ze sebe v minulosti vydali to nejlepší.

Zeptáte se mě, jak se cítím tváří v tvář této skutečnosti a jaký animační program a projekt řízení mám po ruce. Osobně se s vámi mohu podělit o to, co jsem řekl 25. března 2014. Prožívám toto:

– Z hlediska víry spoléhám na Pána.

– Jelikož vím, že nejsem sám, vnímám vnitřní posilu, která pochází od Ducha („Stačí ti moje milost“), jíž je přítomnost Matky („Hle, synu, tvoje matka…“) A nejsem sám, protože zažívám bratrské spojení a pomoc ze strany spolubratří salesiánů (vás, kdo jste mi velmi blízko, ale také vás, kdo jste v mnoha částech světa jako představitelé Dona Boska dnes pro mladé, kteří na vás čekají). A nejsem sám, protože vnímám také lásku a přízeň ze strany celé Salesiánské rodiny.

– A prožívám také lásku k mladým, které nosím v srdci. Pociťuji to velmi živě, zvlášť vůči nejchudším, nejpotřebnějším a posledním.

Co se týče Animačního plánu a projektu řízení šestiletí, nalezneme vynikající definici v dokumentu 27. generální kapituly. Nemám pochyb o tom, že vše, oč bychom měli usilovat, je v něm tak nebo onak obsaženo.

Program šestiletí bude vypadat takto:

·         Nadále pečovat o naši charismatickou identitu při věrném zachovávání odkazu Dona Boska, zároveň ale budovat novou identitu co do formy a výrazu po dvoustém jubileu, která však bude totožná v čistotě a v základu jeho charismatu, který jsme dostali darem jako dědictví.

·         Na všech místech, kde je naše kongregace, garantovat náš způsob zasvěcení a identity mužů, kteří jdou v Božích stopách a jsou mystiky i v každodennosti.

·         Pečovat o lidský, citový a vokacionální rozměr každého spolubratra a našich komunit. Skutečně chceme snít sen o utopii bratrství, které je napojeno na evangelium.

·         Co nejúčinněji svědčit o naší prostotě a jednoduchosti života, o naší chudobě, která spočívá v práci a trpělivosti.

·         Až do krajnosti prožívat zasvěcení mladým lidem, zvláště nejchudším. S pokorou a bez jakéhokoli triumfalismu, ale jako v dobách Dona Boska bychom měli být rozpoznatelní právě pro své zasvěcení, rozhodnutí a činnost.

·         To vše nedokážeme udělat samotní. Jsme součástí velké Salesiánské rodiny, která sama musí růst ve své identitě. Disponujeme velkým zástupem laiků, kteří jsou dobře formováni a zapojeni do našeho poslání. Jinými slovy to vyhlásila naše 24. generální kapitula: Když jsme dospěli až sem, poslání, které sdílíme s laiky, už není fakultativním, ale závazným charismatickým požadavkem.

3. Patříme stále více Bohu

Musím se vám bratři přiznat s tím, že výrazy jako Boží primát, mystikové Ducha, Boží záměr, Boží blízkost, jednota s Bohem a hledači Boží jsou slova, která se mě hluboce dotýkají, protože mi potvrzují, že jde o něco významného, že jde o klíč, že vše ostatní může být energie vydaná nadarmo, nebo naopak „semeno, které padne na úrodnou půdu“.

Zároveň chci upřímně vyjádřit obavu, která mě provázela v prvních letech mé služby provinciála. Když o tom mluvím, dovedu si představit, že mohou být spolubratři, kteří řeknou, že tohle je už „překonaná teologie“, že to „už neobstojí“, že už to je „nepoužitelné“…  A přece se se stejnými výrazy setkáme na nejrůznějších místech, v současných teologických spisech a časopisech, které jsou velmi aktuální.

Během naší 27. generální kapitoly jsme došli po shrnutí zkušeností celé kongregace k podobným závěrům.

Skutečně, bratři, věřím, že duchovní život musí být na prvním místě[21], duchovní život, jenž je především hledáním Boha v každodenním životě, skrze něhož pak konáme všechno ostatní. Říkám to proto, že pro nás, jako to bylo také pro Dona Boska při jeho hledání toho nejlepšího pro mladé, totiž jejich spásy, byla, je a bude v kontextu dnešního řeholního života osoba Ježíše Krista a jeho poselství základním stavebním kamenem. Jde o ústřední postavení Ježíše Krista v našem životě. Možná jsme o tom nikdy nezapochybovali, ale je třeba učinit ho základním kritériem vlastního života.

Náš řeholní život – nesmíme zapomínat, že náš život není pouze salesiánský život, ale řeholní život jako zasvěcených salesiánů – nemá raison d’être v tom, co děláme, ani ve strukturách, v nichž jsme organizováni, ani v efektivitě našich programů a plánů. Buď se náš řeholní život stane znamením (komunita věřících mužů zasvěcených Království), nebo riskujeme, že se budeme spíš věnovat svému úspěchu (pokud nějaký bude) než Božímu poselství.

Nebezpečí, které se skrývá v každém řeholním životě, je ztráta charismatické dynamiky. Je možné, že nás práce, aktivity a úkoly (pastorační nebo jiné) natolik zaměstnají, že ztratíme symbolickou hodnotu svého života. Například se mi nedávno stalo, že z jisté země, kde je hodně salesiánských děl a kde si nás lidé váží kvůli našim sociálním dílům, přišla zvěst, že tam lidé vůbec neuznávají přítomnost salesiánů jako osob, které věří v zasvěcený život. Divím se pak a ptám se: Co jsme vlastně pokazili? O čem vlastně neumíme svědčit?

Proto když se tážeme, co je na našem životě podstatné, dospíváme k tomu, že se musíme vrátit k setkání s Ním, jenž dává smysl každému okamžiku. K témuž závěru docházíme, když se ptáme, proč, kvůli čemu a pro koho to všechno konáme, jaké kritérium je zásadní pro naše rozhodování a proč žijeme, jak žijeme.

Lze tedy říci, že jádrem naší identity a raison d’être našeho řeholního života je prožitek Boha, život s Bohem. A otázka po kvalitě života v rámci řeholního života se nakonec stává otázkou po kvalitě této zkušenosti s Bohem.[22] Právě v tomto rámci a kontextu se konala naše kapitula, která v odst. 32 podtrhla, že stejně jako pro Dona Boska, tak také pro nás je Boží primát kardinálním bodem, který dává smysl naší existenci v církvi a ve světě. Tento primát dává smysl našemu zasvěcenému životu a neslučuje se s představou života, který se rozpouští v aktivitě a v zapomnění na to, co je esenciální, totiž že máme být Božími hledači a svědky jeho lásky mezi mladými, zvláště nejchudšími.

Proto bychom si měli vzájemně pomáhat, abychom skutečně uvěřili v tuto základní zkušenost našeho života, Božího života v nás, nebo vyjádřeno teologicky, v prožitek naší existence „v Bohu“. Drazí spolubratři, ať jsou slova, jimiž to chceme vyjádřit, jakákoli, kořenem našeho salesiánského života, jakož i veškerého zasvěceného života, je mystika, protože pokud ten, který nám dává sílu a život, není reálnou a životodárnou skutečností, všechno ostatní nás odvádí daleko od něj. A každodenní únava, osobní obtíže, existenciální prázdnota – i když jsme si mysleli, že to vše prožíváme pro Boha –, které tak často vídáme u spolubratří i u sebe samých, představují bolestnou, avšak nezbytnou zkoušku, že je tomu skutečně tak.

Pane, obdaruj nás schopností být skutečně více „Božími hledači“, abychom dosáhli především plnosti „svého bytí“, v životě a pak i v činnosti.

4. Uskutečněme „utopii“ bratrství podle evangelia

„Domov“ a „rodina“ – čteme v dokumentu poslední kapituly. Jde o dvě slova, která často užíval Don Bosco, aby popsal ducha Valdoka, který by měl zazářit v našich komunitách.

Kapitulní společenství se pokusilo otevřeným a také realistickým způsobem (s klady i zápory) interpretovat důvody naší naděje, kterou vkládáme do komunitního života, do dimenze našeho života, která třebaže v sobě skrývá velkou prorockou sílu, je zároveň také v rámci naší kongregace „chatrného zdraví“.

V kapitulním dokumentu se praví, že od 25.GK rostl smysl pro život ve stále autentičtější podobě komunitního života, i když pod slovy „respekt“ a „tolerance“ lze vidět mnohé podoby laxnosti a nedostatky vzhledem k vzájemné bratrské lásce. Pohodlnost a také aktivismus vedou k tomu, že velmi redukujeme čas, který bychom měli věnovat komunitě, a že ho považujeme za „ukradený“ jak pro svou „osobní sféru“, tak pro poslání. Jestliže je nám obtížné odpovědět na Boží volání radikálním způsobem, je to dáno také slabým přesvědčením o tom, že to má smysl činit ve společenství a v komunitě.

Zároveň ale v pozitivním duchu uznáváme, že komunitní život je jeden ze způsobů, jak zakoušet Boha. Prožívat „mystiku bratrství“ je základním předpokladem našeho apoštolátního zasvěcení.

Prožívat spiritualitu společenství znamená budovat komunitu, a tedy přejít od společného života ke společenství života (dalla vita in comunione alla comunione di vita).

Tyto a další úvahy nacházíme v kapitulním dokumentu, který jistě čteme a promýšlíme. Už se tím nebudu více zabývat. Není třeba probírat další citace, abychom poukázali na celou mozaiku s jejími světly i stíny. Na pozadí 27. generální kapituly vyvstává především tato otázka: Čím se máme zabývat především, co máme změnit, v čem máme pokračovat a co raději opustit, aby náš komunitní život získal sílu a přitažlivost a aby naše bratrství zazářilo ve světle evangelia a stalo se tak „neodolatelně“ přitažlivým?

Komunitní život v sobě zahrnuje, jak se vyjádřil jeden autor, „všechno, co je obtížné i co je možné, tedy milost i slabost. Pouze s Boží milostí lze setrvat v komunitě a prohlubovat tuto zkušenost… Jde o pokání a askezi, které nás očišťují společně, ve spolupráci, ve společenství. Je to ale zároveň, a to především, něco krásného. V komunitě jsme, abychom byli šťastní, a je mnoho takových, kteří toho dosáhnou (…), a pokud chceme mluvit o kráse komunitního života, pak musíme promluvit také o drobných limitech bratrské lásky. Lze je překonávat přítomností, vzájemnou empatií i napomínáním (correzione fraterna), zájmem o druhého, pomocí a solidaritou; a konečně, bratrskou láskou v celém rozsahu tohoto slova. Srdce žádá a vyžaduje. Komunitní život budoucnosti bude bratrský, nebo vůbec nebude.[23] Je to jedna z přísad, kterou hledají dnešní kandidáti – a většinou ji nenaleznou.“[24]

Když dnes přemýšlíme o řeholním životě, přecházíme na to, že rozhodující sílu má svědectví. Stejně jako v mnoha oblastech našeho sociálního prostředí existují na jedné straně mnohé pozitivní fenomény, na straně druhé neschopnost komunikace, izolovanost, individualismus, který se stále prohlubuje, a samota, která je v mnoha oblastech světa nemocí dneška stejně jako jeho dvojče, deprese. Svědectví řeholních komunit (také té naší) by mělo být věrohodným evangelním poselstvím, autentickou provokací či výzvou.

Proto vám vyznávám, že mou největší obavou je obava o to, jak s vámi mluvit, jak vám ukázat, komunikovat potřebu společné cesty správným směrem, tváří v tvář této tíživé realitě našich děl. Milí spolubratři, v tolika případech se na naše společenství zapomíná kvůli jiným věcem! Ptám se například, proč my, kteří bychom měli být experty humanity, už proto, že jsme vychovateli mládeže, máme po svém boku ve svých komunitách, v jídelně nebo v sousedním pokoji, spolubratry, kteří jsou zranění na srdci, drceni samotou a deziluzí, bratry, kteří chtěli být šťastnými salesiány a dnes takoví opravdu nejsou. Je pravda, že tak to nevypadá v celé naší kongregaci, ale často tomu tak je a měl by nám stačit jen jeden takový příklad, jediný zraněný spolubratr, aby tak trochu krvácelo srdce nás všech. Byl by hřích, kdybychom na slova, skutky nebo na hrobové ticho odpovídali jako Kain na Hospodinovu otázku: „Kde je tvůj bratr?“ – „Nevím,“ řekl Kain, „copak jsem strážcem svého bratra?“ (Gn 4,9) Jistěže jsme! Nikoli strážci, ale bratry, kteří ho mají na starost.

Velká výzva pro nás, drazí bratři, pro každého provinciála, členy provinciální rady, ředitele a každého spolubratra v jakékoli komunitě salesiánského světa je toto: Učinit z naší komunity skutečný prostor života ve společenství. Jak přejít od společného života s chvílemi, které věnujeme pravidelným setkáním, plánování, projektům – které mají jistě svůj význam – k životu ve společenství? Abychom dosáhli tak náročného cíle, bude zapotřebí osobního obrácení, ba obrácení celé komunity, osobního emočního nasazení; jde o proces, který od nás vyžaduje přijetí faktu, že každá z etap našeho života je příležitostí k růstu, k otevření se novosti velmi intenzivního setkání se spolubratry silou, která pochází od Boha, abychom dokázali zviditelnit jeho přítomnost mezi námi.

5. S mladými k mladým, našim „pánům“

Nejsou to moje slova, ale slova Dona Boska, který často říkal: „Mladí jsou našimi pány“[25]; vůči mladým měl Don Bosco vždycky postoj autentického služebníka.

Milí spolubratři, fascinuje mě všechno, co se nám dochovalo jako poklad naší kongregace ve spisech Dona Boska, zvláště vzhledem k našim prioritám: vzhledem k mládeži, zvláště té nejchudší. Nosíme to zapsáno ve svém srdci, v naší DNA, jak jsem řekl už jindy. Je však také třeba si to připomínat, aby toto naše zvláštní zaměření bylo evidentní a abychom na ně nezapomínali.

Don Bosco, jak nám připomněla Mimořádná XX. generální kapitula, dal jako zvláštní upomínku na cestu prvním misionářům slova, která jsou dnes zvláště aktuální: „Snažte se, aby svět poznal, že jste chudí co do oblečení, zaopatření, zvyklostí – a budete bohatí před Bohem a opanujete lidská srdce.“[26]

Jestliže máme za sebou relativně dlouhou historii kongregace, ve světle 27.GK bychom, drazí spolubratři, měli dospět k jasnému rozhodnutí být služebníky mladých. Toto rozhodnutí pro mladé, zvláště nejchudší, se tak stane, musí se stát imperativem, maximální snahou a rozlišovacím znamením kongregace v tomto šestiletí, s hlubokým smyslem pro Boha ruku v ruce s jasným svědectvím o bratrství, v němž se naše rozhodnutí pro nejpotřebnější stane natolik evidentní, že nebude třeba, abychom to vysvětlovali slovy. „Svět nás bude vždy přijímat s radostí, pokud bude naše úsilí zaměřeno na nejchudší mládež, na ty, kteří jsou na okraji společnosti. To je pro nás skutečná výzva, kterou nám nikdo nevezme.“[27]

Rozhodnutí pro chudé bude v tomto smyslu zcela evangelní interpretací našeho slibu chudoby a jistě nám pomůže překonat přirozený sklon, který nás jako lidi, osoby a instituce, provází, totiž stát se přisluhovači moci a mocných, s touhou po hromadění majetku, tedy sklon, který je zcela protichůdný k evangeliu a k Ježíšovu způsobu života.

Bratři, pokud naše poslední kapitula konstatovala, že chceme být kongregací chudých pro chudé, protože jako Don Bosco věříme, že právě to je náš způsob, jak žít radikalitu evangelia a jak být více způsobilí tváří v tvář potřebám mladých lidí, nešlo pouze o doporučení pro ty citlivější nebo velkorysejší salesiány, ale šlo o život každého z nás jako autentické vyjití.[28] Musí to být něco zásadního pro naše zasvěcení jako salesiánů Dona Boska a musí to ležet na srdci každého salesiána. Výjimkou mohou být snad spolubratři, kteří se na to necítí – protože se stalo něco neblahého v jejich životě –, mohou tedy participovat na našem bratrství a naší pomoci, ale nemělo by jít o volbu z vlažnosti, neochoty se odevzdat, odmítnutí volby pro nejchudší mládež. A už vůbec by nemělo docházet k případům, kdy jsou z našeho domu nebo školy propouštěni mladí lidé jen proto, že nemohou zaplatit nějaké poplatky.

Budou možná takoví, kterým se to zdá hezké, ale nerealizovatelné, kteří řeknou, že musíme udržet školy, výdaje, a já jim řeknu, že velkorysostí, jasným zaměřením, nabídkou stipendií, můžeme vytvořit atmosféru solidarity, půjde-li o pomoc těm, kdo mají méně, a můžeme vytvořit realitu, kdy salesiánský dům nebude nikdy nedostupný pro ty, kdo mají méně peněz (ať už jde o školu, oratoř, dům, středisko mládeže…). Jak jsme také řekli na generální kapitule: Právě mladí lidé, zvláště nejchudší, jsou těmi, kdo nás zachrání. Jsou darem pro nás, salesiány, jsou skutečně naším „hořícím keřem“, před nímž je třeba si sundat opánky.[29] To je klíč k našemu otcovství vychovatelů, dárců života, jim bychom měli obětovat své žití, těm nejposlednějším, abychom tak odpověděli na volání Pána, jemuž jsme se ho rozhodli darovat. Pokud jsme se k tomu už jednou rozhodli (a to na celý život), není cesty zpátky, a to pro žádného z nás.

Jsem přesvědčen – aniž bych ještě znal celou kongregaci –, že je zde velká ochota a velkorysost, avšak to, co věnujeme Bohu a chudým, nás nemůže nechat v klidu a lhostejnými vůči dnešním výzvám, kterým by dnes Don Bosco zajisté čelil. V tomto smyslu bych chtěl povzbudit všechny spolubratry, aby se opravdu otevřeli výzvě po obrácení před Bohem, a to spolubratři i mladí, jak nás k tomu vyzývá 27. generální kapitula.

Jsme pro mladé skutečnými otci a bratry, jako byl Don Bosco a jak nám to připomněl svého času Jan Pavel II., když nám během 23.GK řekl: „V centru vaší pozornosti by měli být vždy mladí, naděje církve a světa, vůči nimž všichni hledí s důvěrou a zároveň neklidem. V nejbohatších zemích stejně jako v těch nejchudších jste vždy v jejich službách; zvláště buďte pozorní k těm, kteří jsou slabí a vyloučení. Každého z nich povzbuzujte evangelní nadějí, aby se s odvahou vyrovnávali se svým životem, aby odolávali pokušení egoismu a beznaděje. Buďte jim otci a bratry, jak vás tomu učil Don Bosco.“[30]

6. Misijní kongregace – Různost znamená bohatství

Tímto titulkem chci říci něco velmi prostého: Misijní rozměr je součástí naší IDENTITY a kulturní různost, multikulturalita a interkulturalita jsou bohatstvím, s nímž se vydáváme do nového šestiletí.

Podle exhortace papeže Františka Evangelii gaudium[31] je evangelní zvěst poselstvím celého Božího lidu a pro všechny, „není už rozdíl mezi židem a pohanem, otrokem a svobodným… Vy všichni jste jedno v Kristu Ježíši.“ (Gal 3,28) To znamená, že bychom měli být Božím kvasem uprostřed lidí, mezi lidmi a s Božím lidem s jeho mnoha tvářemi, různými historickými kontexty a kulturami – všude jako učedníci a misionáři.

Papež volá po evangelizaci všech národů a my obracíme svůj pohled s vědomím své identity na misijní charakter naší kongregace. Don Bosco chtěl, aby Salesiánská společnost byla jasně misijní. V roce 1875 zvolil mezi prvními misionáři některé, kteří měli jít do Ameriky. Ještě do své smrti vyslal na deset misijních výprav a na americkém území se podle katalogu z roku 1888 v době jeho smrti nacházelo 153 misionářů, tedy skoro dvacet procent tehdejších salesiánů.

Tato misijní identita, udržovaná po léta, dospěla k mimořádné kapitule, která vydala zvláštní výzvu. Chtěl bych ji dnes znovu připomenout, a to na prahu dvoustého jubilea narození Dona Boska a jako upomínku na něj: „Generální kapitula vysílá všem provinciím, i těm nejchudším na počet spolubratří, výzvu, aby vyslechly pozvání koncilu a odvážný příklad našeho zakladatele a daly k dispozici vlastní spolubratry, a to buď definitivně nebo dočasně, k hlásání Božího království.“[32]

Drazí spolubratři, opravdu věřím, že toto pozvání je dnes pro naši kongregaci velice aktuální. Mluvím-li o upomínce na Dona Boska při slavení jubilea jeho narození, neříkám to naprázdno v nějakém kontextu oslav nebo abych vyráběl statistiky, ale protože skutečně věřím – a tak to vyjádřila i generální kapitula –, že velké bohatství naší kongregace je právě v její misijní kapacitě, ve schopnosti být tam, kde je zvláště zapotřebí evangelizace, i když všechny naše síly jsou hodně potřebné na jakémkoli místě, kde se nacházíme. V tomto smyslu využívám této příležitosti, abych všechny salesiány (SDB) – a ze srdce bych rád přizval i celou Salesiánskou rodinu –, vyzval k tomu, aby si znovu přečetli, meditovali a sdíleli exhortaci Evangelii gaudium. Určitě nám to prospěje – mnozí ji pořád ještě neznají.

6.1 Proč je řada misijních míst, kde je nás opravdu třeba

V tomto smyslu, a nikoli jen na rok 2015, ale na celé šestiletí, chceme, aby se proměnila v realitu pomoc na některých misijních místech, která jsou dnes zvláště ohrožena:

·         Misijní přítomnost v Amazonii, zvláště v oblasti Manaus, Campo Grande a ve Venezuele…

·         Misijní přítomnost v Chaco Paraguayo.

·         Misijní přítomnost v některých regionech Pampy a Argentinské Patagonie.

·         Misijní přítomnost mezi emigranty v USA.

·         Misijní přítomnost na Středním východě, který je, jak dobře víme, zvláště devastován válečnými konflikty.

·         Misijní přítomnost mezi muslimy, od Severní Afriky po země Golfského zálivu po Pákistán.

·         Novou misijní přítomnost si žádá Projekt Evropa v souvislosti s posledním migračním vývojem.

·         Posílení misijní přítomnosti a první evangelizace v Asii a Oceánii: v Mongolsku, Kambodži, Bangladéši a v Laosu.

6.2 …a proč je různost bohatstvím

Vícekrát během svého salesiánského života jsem slyšel od někoho říkat, že v jeho zemi nebo provincii není třeba pomáhat, protože měli dostatek povolání. Ale právě jelikož v různosti, multikulturnosti a interkulturnosti je bohatství, je stále více zapotřebí takové pomoci, už proto, abychom zaručili identitu salesiánského charismatu, aby nebylo jednobarevné, abychom mezi provinciemi podpořili výměnu spolubratří na několik let dopředu, abychom zároveň na čas poslali spolubratry potřebným provinciím, kromě těch bratří, kteří se nabízejí jako misionáři ad gentes. Tímto způsobem také podpoříme přípravu spolubratří ve všech částech světa, a to s pohledem více otevřeným globálnímu a univerzálnímu rozměru našeho charismatu. My salesiáni Dona Boska, třebaže máme z právního hlediska organizaci, která je zakořeněna v provinciích (inspektoriích), neskládáme řeholní profesi pro jedno místo, jednu zemi nebo jedno dílo. Jsme salesiáni Dona Boska v kongregaci, která je otevřená misiím, tedy tam, kde je nás nejvíce zapotřebí a kde je možné působit naší službou.

Jsem si vědom toho, že to, co píši, může být pro někoho překvapení, ale, milí spolubratři, měli bychom být odvážní ve snění a neměli bychom se bát čehosi nového, i kdyby to bylo namáhavé, ale samo o sobě dobré. Jedna konkrétní věc, která z toho plyne, je příprava mladých spolubratří na výuku jazyků – čím jich bude víc, tím lépe. Doba, kdy jsme si mysleli, že učení jazyků je něco navíc, luxus, a jezdit do sousedních zemí, i když byla státní hranice vzdálena třeba padesát kilometrů, znamenalo vydat se do zahraničí, je dávno pryč. Tehdy bylo také složité získat povolení v samém rámci kongregace. Nové generace salesiánů musíme připravit na to, že je třeba se naučit dobře italštinu, aby si mohli číst přímo v pramenech a ve spisech našeho zakladatele a kongregace, aby právě kvůli naší neznalosti už nebyly něčím nedostupným.

Také bych rád vyjádřil touhu, abychom už neměli strach a nesnažili se znemožnit našim mladým spolubratřím studium za hranicemi vlastní provincie. To, že někdo studuje mimo svou vlast, vlastní kořeny a zemi, neznamená, že nemá rád svou domovinu. Není to pravda a za hranicemi nehrozí žádné nebezpečí v tom smyslu, že by mladí ztratili smysl pro realitu. Naopak, rozšíří si obzor a schopnost poznání různosti, což je pro dnešního člověka zcela nezbytné.

7. Dvousté jubileum narození Dona Boska

Až budete číst tento můj list, bude už po startu jubilea, a to 15. srpna v Castelnuovu Don Bosco a 16. srpna na Colle Don Bosco. Pod vedením mého předchůdce emeritního hlavního představeného dona Pascuala Cháveze jsme prožili intenzivní tříletí přípravy celé kongregace. Prohloubili jsme historická studia, pedagogiku a spiritualitu našeho zakladatele.

Myslím, že je na místě, když jubilejnímu roku dáme dvojí tvář. Jednu vnější, obrácenou k veřejnosti, a druhou vnitřní, intimnější.

Dvě stě let od narození Dona Boska, který z podnětu Ducha svatého na přímluvu Panny Marie (sr. St 1) založil kongregaci, jsou dostatečnou dobou k tomu, abychom pochopili, co jsme zdědili. Na prvním místě to byl život Božího muže, světce, který s otcovským srdcem žil, co slíbil: „Slíbil jsem Bohu, že až do posledního dechu budu patřit svým chudým chlapcům“[33]. Zdědili jsme odpovědnost za život a za uskutečnění autentického charismatu, které se zrodilo nikoli z lidské vůle, ale z Boží iniciativy, abychom se účastnili na spáse mládeže (sr. St 1).

Oslavovat na veřejnosti, ve městech, spolu s Božím lidem dvousté výročí narození Dona Boska nám dovoluje rozpoznat, co pro nás znamená mít za Otce Dona Boska:

·         Je to příležitost, abychom projevili vděčnost Pánu, že se dvě stě let po narození Dona Boska nacházíme zde jako Boží dar pro mládež. Máme příležitost poznat Boží přítomnost v našich dějinách a vidíme, že on (Bůh živých) nás vždycky předchází.

·         Znamená to také, že se v síle evangelia budeme snažit dospět zvláště k mladým, a to k těm, kteří na tom nejsou nejlépe, a přestože za to nemohou, byli vyloučeni z radostí života.

·         Nastal čas, abychom znovu vyzvedli aktualitu našeho charismatu, které je tak blízko problémům tohoto světa a zvláště světa mladých. Proto Don Bosco má stále aktuální slovo pro mladé dneška, třebaže se proměnila situace a kontext, každopádně srdce mladých, každého mladého člověka, má stále tytéž touhy, entuziasmus a dynamiku.

·         Salesiánské charisma a Don Bosco jsou darem našeho Boha světu. Proto tolik trváme na tom, že Don Bosco je dobrem pro církev a celé lidstvo.[34] Formoval se v čase, od prvních okamžiků svého života v náručí matky Markéty, díky svým přátelům-učitelům života a, zvláště při každodenním životě s mladými, kteří vytvarovali jeho srdce a pomohli mu k tomu, aby byl blíže Bohu, lidem i mladým jako takovým.

Slavit jubileum uvnitř naší kongregace a Salesiánské rodiny znamená prožívat to, co svatý Pavel doporučuje Timoteovi, když ho žádá, aby „oživil dar, kterého se mu dostalo“. Proto vždy když salesián, člen Salesiánské rodiny, žije v plnosti vlastní povolání, je darem Boha světu.

Slavit jubileum v intimním prostředí rodinného krbu (focolare, jímž by měly být všechny naše komunity) znamená nechat se oslovit v našem bytí i v našem životě, abychom si mohli říci s jasným pohledem, že „svatost synů se prověřuje svatostí Otce“.[35]

Oslava také znamená znovuoživení dvousetleté historie mužů a žen, kteří darovali svůj život pro tento ideál, v mnoha případech hrdinným způsobem, v obtížných podmínkách, často extrémních. Je to nesmírný poklad, který může po svém zhodnotit jedině Bůh, jemuž ho svěřujeme.

Jsme těmi, kdo věří, že rok 1815 začátkem povolání do života Bohem povolaného Dona Boska, který stál na začátku dlouhého řetězce svědků, a že také my, stejně jako Don Bosco, chceme usilovat o napsání budoucích stránek knihy života věřících, mladých, zvláště nejchudších, a to v barvách naděje.

Nakonec, abych nebyl příliš dlouhý, bych chtěl podtrhnout, že salesiánské charisma má svou zvláštnost známou jako preventivní systém, který je mnohem víc než výchovnou metodou. Je pravou a bohatou podobou spirituality, mimořádným způsobem, jak utvářet smysl života z Boží perspektivy, je čímsi jako velkým darem naší kongregace a rodiny církvi. O tom se ale více rozepíši v komentáři k heslu na rok 2015 na konci roku.

8. „Vezměme k sobě domů Pannu Marii“. „A od té chvíle si ji ten učedník vzal k sobě.“ (Jan 19,27)

Tento svůj první okružní list jsem chtěl zakončit stejnými slovy, jako don E. Viganò zakončil svůj první list o Marii, jež obnovuje Salesiánskou rodinu Dona Boska.[36] Don Viganò říká, že když večer toho roku o Velkém pátku poslouchal evangelní příběh o smrti našeho Pána podle Jana, o Marii a nejmilejším žáku u paty kříže, byl mimořádně zasažen a nakonec si řekl: ano, měli bychom společně s evangelistou zopakovat ta slova jako program: „Vezměme k sobě Pannu Marii.“

Don Bosco měl zvláště živé vnímání Mariiny osobní přítomnosti ve svém životě, ve svém povolání a apoštolském poslání. „Nejsvětější Matka je zakladatelka a bude pomocnicí našich děl,“[37] a my salesiáni jako součást Salesiánské rodiny jsme přesvědčeni, že Maria určitě zaujímá mimořádné místo, které měla v životě Dona Boska a kongregace. Maria byla pro Dona Boska pozornou Matkou, která brala pod svou ochranu jeho chlapce, byla jejich niternou vychovatelkou. Pro něho byla vždycky Matkou, vůči níž pěstoval něžnou a mužskou úctu, prostou a opravdovou.

Don Bosco zároveň jako skutečný vychovatel a katecheta dokázal mimořádným způsobem prosadit, že na Valdoku, v jeho domě, byla rodinná atmosféra vždycky zahrnuta mateřskou přítomností nebeské Matky.

Dnes, dvě stě let po narození Dona Boska, můžeme říci, že mariánská úcta, pro nás především v podobě Marie Pomocnice, je základním kamenem „salesiánského fenoménu“ v církvi, který nelze vyřadit z našeho charismatu: je součástí jeho fyziognomie a vitality.

Maria, jež je Ženou naslouchající, Matkou nové komunity a Služebnicí chudých, ať nás provází a žehná nám. K ní se utíkáme s touž modlitbou jako papež František:[38]

Hvězdo nové evangelizace,

pomoz nám zaskvět se svědectvím společenství,

služby, vroucí a velkodušné víry,

spravedlnosti a lásky k chudým,

aby radost evangelia,

dosáhla končin země

a žádná periferie nebyla beze světla.

Matko živoucího evangelia,

prameni radosti pro maličké,

oroduj za nás.

Amen. Aleluja.

Bratrsky vás zdravím, srdečně

Ángel FERNÁNDEZ ARTIME, SDB

hlavní představený

Přeložil Zdeněk Jančařík

 

[1] Okružní listy M. Ruy salesiánům, Direz. Generale Opere Don Bosco, Torino, 1965, s. 25.

[2] Tamtéž.

[3] Tamtéž s. 27.

[4] Okružní listy dona Paola Albery salesiánům, Direz. Gen. Opere Don Bosco, Turín, 1965, s. 6.

[5] Tamtéž, s. 8.

[6]  Tamtéž, s. 13.

[7] Tamtéž, s. 13.

[8] Akta hlavní rady, ročník III, č. 14, 1922, s. 4.

[9] Tamtéž, s. 4–5.

[10] Akta, ročník XIII, č. 58, 1932, s. 2.

[11] Akta, ročník XXXII, č. 169, 1952, s. 2.

[12] Tamtéž, s. 3.

[13] Akta, ročník XLVI, č. 262, s. 2.

[14] Tamtéž, s. 4.

[15] Tamtéž, s. 5.

[16] Tamtéž, s. 5.

[17] Akta, ročník LVII, 1978, č. 289, s. 3.

[18] Tamtéž, s. 2.

[19] Akta, ročník LXXXIII, č. 378, s. 3.

[20] Tamtéž, s. 4.

[21] 27. GK, úvod, citace z Jana Pavla II. (Vita Consacrata, č. 93): „Duchovní život je prioritou. Od tohoto přednostního rozhodnutí, které musí najít jasné vyjádření v konkrétním úsilí jednotlivců i komunit, závisí plodnost apoštolátu, velkorysost lásky k chudým i přitažlivost duchovních povolání pro nové generace.“

[22] Přesná citace italského překladu ze španělštiny je tato: „Il nucleo dell’identità e la ragione d’essere della vita religiosa e di ogni vita cristiana è l’esperienza di Dio. Si può parlare di esperienza di Dio, di fede radicale, di priorità assoluta del Regno di Dio e della sua giustizia, di vivere la vita in chiave escatologica… Poco importano i nomi. L’importante è tenere ben presente che tale esperienza nucleare è ciò che dà un significato a tutto in questo genere di vita, è quel che dà qualità di vita ai suoi membri e fa sì che si tratti veramente di vocazione e non di una semplice professione. La domanda circa la qualità di vita nella vita religiosa è la domanda circa la qualità di questa esperienza di fede“ (ze španělštiny přeložil FERNANDO PRADO, ed., Andonde el Senhor nos lleve, P. Claretiane, Madrid, 2004, 31).

[23] Poslední věta je zvýrazněna mnou, chtěl jsem ji zvláště podtrhnout. Autor ji měl bez zvýraznění.

[24] José Marìa ARNAIZ, !Que ardan nuestros corazones. Devolver el encanto e la vida consagrada!, Publicaciones Claretianas, Madrid, 2007, 95.

[25] Mimořádná generální kapitula, Řím 1971, Akta, č. 351.

[26] Tamtéž, č. 597, cit. in MB XI, 389–390.

[27] Tamtéž, č. 597, cit. in MB XVII, 272.

[28] Podtrženo mnou, srov. 25.GK, č. 55.

[29] 27.GK, č. 52, cit. Ex 3,2 e Evangelii gaudium, č. 169.

[30] 23.GK, č. 331. Promluva sv. Jana Pavla II. k delegátům kapituly.

[31] CGS, č. 477.

[32] CGS, č. 477.

[33] St 1, srov. MO, 16.

[34] Jak říká papež František v exhortaci Evangelii gaudium, čl. 30: „Duch svatý obohacuje celou církev, která evangelizuje, také různými charismaty. Jsou to dary pro obnovu a rozvoj církve. Nejsou nějakým uzavřeným dědictvím, které bylo předáno nějaké skupině, aby je střežila. Jde spíše o dary Ducha integrované v těle církve a vtahující do středu, kterým je Kristus, odkud přicházejí jako podnět k evangelizaci. Jasným znamením autenticity charismatu je jeho církevnost, jeho schopnost harmonicky se včlenit do života svatého Božího lidu pro dobro všech.“

[35] Poznámka, kterou vyslovil jeden spolupracovník a kterou don Rua vydal jako heslo 8. února 1888, osm dní po smrti Dona Boska, v listě, který adresoval všem salesiánským ředitelům, kterým oznamoval, kdy se budou konat pohřební obřady Dona Boska. Turín, 1965, str. 14.

[36] Akta hlavní rady, r. LVII, č. 289, s. 4.

[37] Preventivní systém. Pravidla, č. 92.

[38] Evangelii gaudium, č. 288.