Interview with the new missionaries: Fr Nawrat for the Project for Europe

(ANS – Rome) – Among the 45 missionaries attending the course there are some who will be taking part in the Project for Europe. One of them is Fr Lukasz Nawrat, originally from the Polish Province of Krakow, who after receiving the missionary mandate will leave again for Ireland where he already spent two years of practical training.

 What are the greatest difficulties in taking your place in a cultural environment different from the one in which you grew up?

Thinking about my previous experience now seven years ago I remember that when my Provincial asked me if I wanted to go I was very happy to have this new experience ; also a Salesian confrere who had done his practical training there before me spoke very well about it. But I was also a little afraid because I was going to have to change the place, the language various things – the first thing that struck me was driving on the other side of the road! Then obviously there were the difficulties with the language, because although I already knew some English in the first weeks I could not manage to express everything I wanted to say. But with the confreres fitting in was easy, they welcomed me very freely, with affection and were pleased to have someone younger. We became friends and kept up contact when I went to Rome to study. Now I am very happy to be returning to that country which I already know.

 How did you get in touch with the young people?

In Ireland I worked in the “Resource Centre” of the Secondary School in Celbridge, which deals with youngsters from difficult backgrounds. I began to help them with their studies, maths and the other things I could do to help.

I also worked with some young people who wanted to study the Word of God: we had meetings on Thursday evenings in the chapel, with prayer and discussions. Afterwards we went to the community for a cup of tea and a biscuit and spoke about daily life, the problems, the difficulties and also the daily joys.

Thanks to the community who supported me I was able to develop other talents, painting for example: for the main feast days in the school year I made posters for the Mass, pictures and various scenes that were placed at the entrance of the school with pictures of Don Bosco or other suitable symbols. I also used all the media I could in the classes – multimedia presentations, power-points… didn’t Don Bosco use the best printing machines available?

What would you add to or change in you missionary work once you are back in Ireland?

After the missionary commission I am going to Pallaskenry, near Limerick, where we have a Secondary School and an Agricultural Institute. The first thing I want to do is to get to know the people: it is important to immediately make good contacts with the teaching staff and then with the youngsters. Then to form some sort of mixed group with the youngsters, teachers and Salesians to renew the Salesian spirit in the school given that for some years now there has not been a Salesian working full time in the Institute This is the challenge for me and for all the Salesians who are working in Ireland: to transmit our charism to the lay people, since I believe that the message is spread better when it passes from the young to other young people.

Published 19/09/2012