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7/3/2016 - Philippines - Rector Major tours the Northern Province

(ANS – Manila) – The Rector Major, Fr Ángel Fernandez Artime, SDB, arrived at Ninoy Aquino International Airport in the evening of Friday 4 March, 2016. He had come to visit the two Provinces of the Philippines and to be present at the Meeting of the Provincials of the East-Asia Oceania Region which is to take place in Don Bosco-Batulao from 7 to 11 March. He arrived with Fr Horacio López, SDB, the Secretary of the Rector Major, and Fr Vaclav Klement, SDB, Councillor for the East-Asia Oceania Region.

“We were born for young people who are most in need”. This line was among many inspiring ones from the conference delivered by the Rector Major, Fr Á.F. Artime, in his meeting with the Salesians of Don Bosco in the Northern Province, at 10.00 a.m. on 5 March.

During the meaningful, two-hour conference, he spoke about Salesians being men of God – a quality that the last General Chapter emphasized – and also spoke about the life of Salesians in community which distinguishes them from men with a lot of work. More than once he addressed himself to the young confreres, telling them of the importance of being directly involved in the apostolate. After a short open forum, the Rector Major received the application letters of two Salesians who have expressed the desire to work in the missions ad gentes, and greeted them.

In the afternoon the Rector Major celebrated Holy Mass for the members of the Salesian Family at the Magone Dome of Don Bosco Technical Institute, Makati. In his homily, he stressed that the Salesian Family must be the living presence of Don Bosco today. He gave two simple but powerful messages to them. First: "Do not complain." As the largest religious family in the world, there should be no room for complaining. Instead, serve and bring hope. Second: "Open your doors to grow in number and identity." The members of the Salesian Family must go out and offer themselves to the needy. And, as a word of encouragement, he told everyone that Pope Francis loves the Salesian Family.

On the third day of the Rector Major’s stay in the Philippines, he visited two places where the Salesians work directly with and for the poorest youth namely, Don Bosco Tondo and Don Bosco Calauan.

Don Bosco Tondo parish has about a hundred thousand parishioners. The parish catechists also minister to two elementary schools and one high school with a total of about five thousand students; and the community run the TVET Centre, hostel, and Youth centre.

The Rector Major greeted the children and youth who were having their Sunday catechism classes and congratulated the catechists for their dedication to their ministry. Then he concelebrated Mass and attended a show by the young people which included a much appreciated Rondalla play.

Don Bosco Calauan is one of the new frontiers of the Northern Philippine Province in response to the challenge of the new evangelization. The Salesian Community helps more than 7,000 very poor families relocated from hazard zones in the National Capital Region where the people struggle from scarcity of work opportunities, availability of basic needs and various forms of violence.

The mayor of Calauan thanked the Salesian Congregation for sending confreres to help the town to organize these migrants, and manifested the local government's support for all the projects of the Salesians.

After lunch, the Rector Major toured the various projects of the ministry. Another highlight was the ribbon cutting and blessing of the new training centre complex

Published 07/03/2016

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