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13/9/2011 - RMG - The Rector Major meets the missionaries
Photograph available in Image Bank

(ANS – Rome) – Yesterday morning, 12 September, Fr Pascual Chávez greeted those taking part in the course for the missionaries who will be receiving the official mandate on 25 September in Turin, in the context of the 142nd Salesian missionary departure ceremony. The Rector Major spoke about the importance of cultivating a personal spirituality and of keeping God at the centre of one’s missionary activity.

Being held at the Generalate in the Via della Pisana, the course is being organised by the Missions Department. His meeting with those taking part - 30 Salesians and 7 Sisters of Charity of Jesus was fatherly and cordial and they in turn profited from his presence to clear up some of their concerns.

The meeting began in festive fashion with three Vietnamese missionaries greeting the Rector Major with the traditional “lion dance”; then the Salesian student Suresh Ekka, in the name of everyone thanked Fr Chávez for having accepted their request to go on the missions; then the whole group sang a song about their readiness  to follow the will of God.

The Rector Major too, first of all expressed his thanks, to the Provinces which although in need of confreres have left their members free to follow their missionary vocation: “I am sure that God will reward their generosity with more confreres, Salesians and missionaries.” In his talk the Rector Major referred to his Letter “Disciples and apostles of the Risen Lord,” in the Acts of the General Council 410 (AGC 410) – a document which together with his latest Letter “The inculturation of the Salesian Charism” (AGC 411) deals directly with the subject of the missions from a Salesian point of view.

First of all Fr Chávez recalled Don Bosco. Although a tireless leader, Don Bosco drew his energy from his spirituality and daily meeting with the Lord: “There is nothing more important for a missionary than to remember the connection between spirituality and mission”; “If God is not at the centre of your spiritual life you will not be able to count on the energy which comes from Him” the Rector Major said.

Another issue he dealt with was the question of evil: sometimes we can be shocked by human suffering and it can discourage even religious with a very strong faith. But, the Rector Major observed, the missionary is not just a philanthropist o social worker, but someone who offers the “Salvation of Jesus”; and therefore, “you cannot be missionaries without carrying the cross of Christ.”

To overcome difficulties  Fr Chávez gave the advice that they should know themselves in depth, “to go to the extremes not of the world but of oneself”; and to dedicate oneself totally and without half measures  “you cannot walk along two different roads.” The Rector Major also mentioned the fact of the loneliness of the missionary recalling the promise of Jesus to the apostles: “I shall be with you always .”

In response to some questions after his talk, Fr Chávez recalled the importance also of creating a welcoming atmosphere in the community, a really prophetic element in today’s world; and he spoke about the need to fit evangelisation and the proclamation to the circumstances in which one works.

The gathering ended with the Rector Major giving a medal to the young missionaries - a prelude to the presentation of the missionary crucifix on 25 September in the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians in Turin.

Published 13/09/2011 

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