ARE YOU READY?
The Rector Major has just given us the gift of his missionary appeal. Have you read it? It is dated on 8 December and addressed to all Salesians the worldover. The Cagliero 11 of January was all about it. It was the Rector Major’s own initiative. The Councilor for the Missions welcomed it with joy and encouraged it with enthusiasm. We were eating breakfast together, the Rector Major and I, in early December in the Generalate, and he told me: “You know, I want to make a missionary appeal to all the confreres.” Before lunch that day, Don Ángel had already sent me his first draft, full of fire and clarity. In the evening, the letter was ready for translation.
I believe that the gifts of the Spirit in missionary families are born like this, they knock on our doors discreetly. It is our responsibility “not to sadden the Holy Spirit”(Eph 4, 30), not to remain deaf. Are you ready?
Fr. Guillermo Basañes SDB
Councillor for the Missions
Renewing the attention of the urgency to announce the Lord and to care for our poorest brethren: this is the aim of World Mission Day. Since 1988 also the Salesian Congregation proposes every year a specific missionary theme, which aims at promoting missionary animation: it is Salesian Mission Day, which for 2017 deals with the theme of First Announcement in the American continent. As of today, some videos on the Salesian Missionary experiences among the Indigenous peoples of Latin America are available online.
Throughout the entire six-year period 2015-2020 the specific theme of Salesian Mission Day is the First Announcement. However, every year it is examined and proposed under a specific focus: in 2016 it was Oceania, for 2017 it is the American continent.
Through the various materials prepared by the Dicastery for the Salesian Missions, and among these videos as well, it is possible to get acquainted with the commitment of the Sons of Don Bosco among indigenous Yanomami, in two important missions of the Province of Manaus; either among the Mixes of the State of Oaxaca, descendants of the Ancient Incas from Peru, or the Chinantecos, another indigenous group who live in the same State; or again among the Mapuche, an indigenous population that resides in the most southern areas of Argentinian Patagonia.
Thanks to Salesian Mission Day, that is “the expression and engine of the missionary spirit of Salesian pastoral-educative communities all over the world”, as the Dicastery for the Salesian Missions explains, the diverse realities of the Congregation can be known and can concretely help one another, and at the same time they can also walk a common path to arouse new missionary vocations.
Our best wishes and prayers for Fr Alfred Maravilla, of the Missions Sector and editor of “Cagliero 11”, who has been appointed by the Rector Major as Superior of the Vice Province of Papua New Guinea-Solomon Islands (PGS).
I am a Salesian belonging to a Province with a great history of missionary work among the indigenous people, especially among the Bororos. During my formation years I read and I got to know better this story. The great witness of life of missionary confreres was the key which opened my desire to be with the Bororos. During the novitiate, I had the opportunity to visit all indigenous missions of the Province. It was love at first sight when I arrived in Meruri. A friendly and happy people, even in the midst of difficulties. This atmosphere strongly attracted my attention. Through all these events God was confirming in my heart the dream of being a missionary among the Bororos, and with them build up His Kingdom. The indigenous peoples in Brazil suffer a lot of discrimination. The great challenge is to foster a change of mentality in all. To help all the people to see the indigenous person as a brother and sister. Another challenge is to motivate the Bororos to be protagonists of their own history, to fight for their rights.
How destressing it is to realise the negative influence of highways that cut across the indigenous territory, leading to the nearby cities where young people come into contact with alcohol and drugs, destroying their health and the peace of the community.
The defense of the land, the culture, the life of faith are some of the major daily challenges which I try to respond to, with the help of Divine Providence.
But my greatest joy comes from the certainty of being continually loved by Him who called me to be a Salesian missionary ad intra among the Bororos. This certainty of faith motivates me, every day, to do good to my indigenous brothers and sisters. It is a source of joy to be with Bororos and participate in their cultural and religious values, celebrate the Eucharist and share the Word of God with my Indigenous brothers and sisters. Every day I try to live and to put into practice what Don Bosco wrote to Cagliero: “Do what you can: God will do what we cannot do!”
Dear young people, do not be afraid! The Lord awaits us in our brothers and sisters, especially those most in need. God only needs one thing from us: that we have a generous heart. Perhaps you might wonder: “What shall I do among the indigenous people?” I tell you: do not worry about ‘what to do’! Only put yourself at the disposal of God. He who calls, will also give the means to achieve the mission. Our father Don Bosco taught that “the Lord brought us in this world for the other.” Be brave and obedient to the voice of the Good Shepherd who calls you to follow him more closely, as missionaries of the Kingdom!
By Fr. Andelson Dias de Oliveira
Brazilian, missionary among the Bororos
Fr. Pierluigi Cameroni SDB, Postulator General for the Causes of Saints
Venerable Francis Convertini (1898-1976), was a missionary of peace and reconciliation in Bengal (India), especially by working so that peace may reign in families. In a letter to a newly married couple, he wrote: “May the Heart of Jesus, source of all grace grant you good health. May Jesus give the newlyweds a happy life, loving God, loving each other and every neighbour. The glory of the good family is in learning to forget themselves and with a heart full of joy and love for their loved ones”.
For Salesians in the Americas
That they may keep alive in their hearts the love of Jesus for poor youth.
This is the crucial challenge for all Salesians: to have the courage to open our eyes and hearts to learn about the needs of the poor, refugees and marginalised. They are the fruit of our selfishness. This will also lead to open our structures, our homes and communities to recognise the person of Christ in each of them.