THE MESSAGE OF THE RECTOR MAJOR
Don Ángel Fernandez Artime
THE MULTICOLORED FACE OF DON BOSCO TODAY
So many amazing stories that console and encourage us
Dear friends of Don Bosco’s Salesian Bulletin, I greet you most cordially. You must know that for Don Bosco the Salesian Bulletin was one of the most precious means that he had to make known all the good that he and his Salesian Family were (and are) doing.
As I write to you, I am thinking of January, the month in which we will participate in World Youth Day in Panama together with young people and Pope Francis, and the month of Don Bosco’s feast day, January 31, which, God willing, I will celebrate there as well. The people of Panama have such a great veneration for Don Bosco that more than 700,000 participate in the procession on his feast day. Yes! That number is correct – more than 700,000 people.
Though I am looking toward January, the very Salesian month with so many feast days of our saints, a month dedicated to the Salesian Family and Don Bosco, presently, as I write these lines, I am engaged with the general council meeting that has just begun. This is when the Salesian general councilors return to Rome to gather with the Rector Major to “report” on their visits around the Salesian world on every continent, in one or other of our 1,936 presences. Many of them have just spent four months accompanying the confreres in one of our provinces.
Several hours at the beginning of our meeting were dedicated to sharing with each other how we are and the experiences we have had in these past months. As I listened, my thoughts flew in all directions when hearing the many different, beautiful, and at times challenging testimonies. This is why I chose the title I did for this article, for today Don Bosco truly has a “multicolored face”:
While listening to all these stories, it struck me that Don Bosco must be happy on account of his sons and daughters in the Salesian Family who are still today intent upon being faithful to the charism that God raised up in him. And I felt great joy while listening to all these reports – which are only the tip of the iceberg – about the great good that is being done for so many people. This made me think that today Don Bosco’s face has many colors that he himself probably never imagined.
I am sharing these things with you, dear readers of the Salesian Bulletin, because I believe that we ought to spread the good news of the very many beautiful things that are happening and that are going to happen. A long time ago I learned the Chinese proverb, “A falling tree makes more noise than a growing forest.” This is precisely how it seems to be. Well, then, these reflections are what I wish to share with you – although they are just a tiny part of the silent growth in our forest.
Happy feast of Don Bosco! We will remember you in Panama in the midst of a wonderful multitude of young people.