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26/9/2011 - Italy - Sent to the whole world
Photo for the article -ITALY – SENT TO THE WHOLE WORLD
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(ANS – Turin) – Yesterday 25 September,  once again from the Basilica  of Mary Help of Christians in Turin new missionaries, religious and lay, left to proclaim the Gospel in Don Bosco’s way. The Rector Major of the Salesians urged them to know Don Bosco better, to discover him and his special charism and above all to imitate  Christ, “the model of inculturation” for effective evangelisation.

There were two main events: the concluding day of the Harambée, and the celebration of the 142nd Salesian Missionary Departure Ceremony attended by young people, lay people, religious men and women involved in the missions.

At the first in the Valdocco theatre the successor of Don Bosco, Fr Pascual Chávez, spoke about the first year of preparation for the bicentenary of the birth of Don Bosco (1815-2015) during which there should be a new, genuine, historical understanding of Don Bosco so as to be able to faithfully perpetuate his intuition and his charism, “If we were to refer less to our common Father,  to his spirit, to the way he did things, to the guiding criteria he followed,” Fr Chávez said, “we would no longer have the right to our place in the Church and in Society since we would be without our roots and our true identity.”

Don Bosco’s activity and his spirit are still needed today. “In a world doing its best to prevent young people from listening  to the insistent invitation of  Christ to “come and see”  it is our  privilege to have been drawn to Don Bosco, to bear witness to transcendence, to exercise a spiritual fatherhood, and to encourage youngsters  to follow a path which respects their dignity and responds to their deepest and most genuine desires.”

This was followed by the presentation of the missionaries, men and women according to  the groups of the Salesian Family and to some European NGO  they belonged to and their being greeted by  Fr Chávez and Mother Yvonne Reungoat, Superior General of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians.

Then the second event took place in the Basilica  Mary Help of Christians, where  the departure ceremony for the first missionary expedition on 11 November 1875 and many others afterwards took place.

“We are here to respond to a two-fold command of Jesus,” -  Fr Chávez said introducing the homily – “to celebrate the  mystery of his passion, death and resurrection, from which the Church is born, and to go as his witnesses throughout the word to teach all people.”

Even though, the current situation – from the social, political, economic, cultural and religious points of view – is very different from that of the first missionary expedition, “the expectations and the needs of the world are the same: a worthy human way of life for all the men and women in the world, the meaning of life and the desire for a full and an eternal life. It is a question of the needs which all of us have a responsibility to satisfy, creating a new social order, but one which only God can fully satisfy”.

The Rector Major indicated four vital needs in the world of today – bread, peace, life and liberty -  and recalled also the need for redemption and salvation which Christ can ensure.

Commenting on the Sunday gospel, that of the two brothers and their different replies to their father’s will –Fr Chávez remarked: “It is necessary to have the courage to get your hands dirty and put yourself at risk in the search for new values closer to freedom, justice, solidarity, love, to man’s happiness. It is on the basis of the choices made that really belonging to the people of God is judged!”

To the departing missionaries he said: “to carry out this mission of evangelisation and the change of heart of people and through that of the world, you cannot have a better model than Jesus as he is presented to us  by  Paul in his letter to the Philippians …”; “This is the model of true inculturation, indispensible for evangelisation and touching the heart of the culture of peoples and transforming them.”

The missionaries then received their crucifix as a sign of their mandate as  evangelisers, and in typical Salesian style as educators.

On ANSChannel there are a variety of videos on the Missionary Expedition: one by TG Regional RAI; one by the Piedmontese Catholic broadcaster Telesubalpina; one by Mother Yvonne Reungoat.

Published 26/09/2011

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