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10/5/2013 - Holland - The Rector Major opens a new Salesian community in Amsterdam
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(ANS - Amsterdam) – The Rector Major is on a visit to the St John Berchmans Province of Northern Belgium and Holland. Yesterday he was present for the opening of a new community in Amsterdam.  This is, as Don Chavez said, an act of faith and courage, to ensure that the young people here may receive the gifts that Don Bosco has to offer: a special love for them, a firm conviction of the value of education, and the Preventive System as an educational method and a form of spirituality.

When he arrived at Brussels airport on the afternoon of Wednesday 8 May, the Rector Major was welcomed by the Provincial, Fr Mark Tips and the Provincial Secretary, Fr Eric Haelvoet. They accompanied him to the provincial house at Sint-Pieters-Woluwe where he spent the afternoon and evening with the Salesians of the community, sharing their time of  prayer and a fraternal get-together.

Early yesterday morning, Ascension Thursday, 9 May, the Rector Major left for Amsterdam. He was welcomed by a group of Dutch Salesians, some young co-workers and the three Salesians who will make up the new international community: Fr Dominiek Deraeve (from Northern Belgium), Fr Pedro Mario Ayala (from Guadalajara, Mexico) and Fr Arokiaraj Mariasusai (from Tiruchy, India).

During a celebration of the Word, the Rector Major thanked God for all that Salesian Holland had done in evangelizing the young people of many nations. This new community indicates a determination to continue, today in Holland, to bring the Gospel to the young. It fits in perfectly with our vision for Project Europe. “It is good that this inauguration coincides with the solemnity of the Ascension, when the Church sees itself orphaned by Jesus who has gone up to heaven. But the Risen Lord has not left us alone,” Fr Chavez emphasized. “He has entrusted to us a mission to bring the Gospel to the whole world, and has promised to send his Spirit to accompany us and guide us.” 

In the early part of the afternoon, the Rector Major presided at Mass in a nearby parish Church, in which representatives of the Salesian Family in Holland participated. Speaking on the meaning of the Feast of the Ascension, in the light of the liturgical texts, he said: “The coming of the Holy Spirit marks the beginning of the time when Christ is made present through the Sacraments and through his disciples and believers of every age, called to bear witness to him before all people, ‘even to the ends of the earth.’ […] This means renewing our commitment to fight with determination against every form of death and to bring life, especially among the young. The Ascension, therefore, is an invitation, not to run away from this world, but to see it as the place of salvation where the light of heaven already shines, albeit dimly, and where we get a glimpse of the new world where justice will reign forever.”

After the Mass, the Rector Major had a meeting with the confreres present and then returned to Brussels. After supper he met two young Salesian missionaries, Simon E. Nongrum (from Guwahati, India) and Toni Berek (from Indonesia), who will make their perpetual profession next Saturday.

Published 10/05/2013

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