“Dear Confreres” – 3rd Message of Fr Ángel Fernández Artime – Rector Major of the Salesians

My Dear Confreres,

I greet you on a special day. Today is 24 May. I am in Don Bosco’s rooms, The whole environment speaks to me and to all of us about Don Bosco and about Mary Help of Christians, It speaks to us of the great gift of this charism that the Lord has given us in Don Bosco; and it is also a very special day since it is the Feast of Pentecost.

I address you, as I have done on other occasions, with great emotion, It is my desire to reach each of my brother Salesians in the world, and by extension, all our brothers and sisters of the Salesian Family. This is an opportunity to communicate and to share, so that we may really feel that we are united.

I must tell you that the last month and a half was a time of special intensity, because of the journeys of animation that I made to several Provinces.

I recently visited Bolivia, Peru, and Ecuador; and after four days in Rome, I have had an opportunity to make a long trip to Asia and some parts of Oceania, Australia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Fiji … We were also in New Zealand, Samoa, Australia … … I am telling you this only to point out something very special: This special element is the fraternity that I have found in all the places I was able to visit over the past year and more.

It is a beautiful reality of communion that we have in our congregation: …. richness, diversity, variety … but a sense of community that makes it really special.

A fraternity that, I must say, extends to our entire Salesian Family. Whenever I was in the presence of our sisters, the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, who are in almost as many places as we are, there was a fraternity and closeness that was really touching; so also with many other groups of our Salesian Family, and in some provinces we met 12, 13, 14 groups.

For all this I really thank God.

In some areas of the Congregation what we might call the academic year is coming to an end;

It is definitely a time when people are exhausted, from many activities and a lot of work, but it is also a very exciting time, because we can continue to say: the Lord continues to do wonderful things for young people … sometimes through our humble mediation.

And finally, just as something I would like you to take to heart, I would like to share with you this thought:

My dear confreres, I am convinced,

and my meeting with all of you throughout the world and what I have come to know of our communities tells me, that neither a good organization nor good management of our works, nor even having everything planned is the guarantee of good pastoral work.

As without doubt you know, as well as I do or better than I do, the key is in what we are and how we live.

I make an appeal to you from here, on this special day, that each of us, in the presence of Don Bosco and Mary Help of Christians, in fidelity to the Lord, may continue to say a Yes that does not come from management or even from an act of generosity;

but from a Passion for our Vocation that allows us to transmit, I would say through all the pores of our skin, what we are; and that it will be seen that what we do, and often do well, is being done for something, and especially for Someone.

I promise you my prayer to Mary Help of Christians and through the intercession of Don Bosco, that he may present everything to the Lord and that it may be a blessing for our Congregation and our Salesian Family. A warm embrace with much love to all!