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13/5/2013 - Belgium - Education and Evangelization are a Sharing in the Work of God
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(ANS - Brussels) – Yesterday, 12 May, the Rector Major concluded his visit to the St John Berchmans Province of Northern Belgium and Holland. In his visits to the various  houses and in meetings with Salesians, with educators and lay people, Don Chávez re-emphasized the importance of quality education and evangelization as the best service we can offer young people.

Friday 10 May began with Mass at the Provincial House of Sint-Pieters-Woluwe. Commenting on the readings of the day, the Rector Major told the Salesians present: “Today as in the past, anyone who is involved in the missionary task of spreading the Word, is sure to meet difficulties, but is also assured of joy. It is the joy that comes from bringing a “new man” into the world, from seeing damaged persons being rebuilt, from giving sense and life to people who were tired and worn out, from seeing a smile appear on faces that were without hope. It is the joy of seeing life again where only ruins remained. This is the miracle of our mission.  Why can we not overcome our fear of failure and enjoy instead this happiness that is guaranteed to generous apostles?

The morning was spent at Vremde. The Rector Major was welcomed by the Rector, Fr Jozef Stevens. He visited the Salesian House which is a recovery centre for young people in need, and met the people who work there. “Salesian Youth Care” is an organization that consists of 7 NGOs and runs 13 works for young people. The Rector Major congratulated them on their work which is effective and very Salesian. He praised the quality of the buildings and the educative approach adopted, and he emphasized once again the importance of education in changing society and in evangelization.

In the afternoon on his return to Brussels, the Rector Major met the governing body of the Salesian Schools in Flanders, at the Don Bosco Education Centre. They explained to him the situation of the Salesian Schools in Northern Belgium, their educational plan and the challenges they meet. The Rector Major spoke about the situation of education in Europe with the challenges and opportunities it offers. Concluding he said, “My wish is that all educators, despite the difficulties and challenges, may be able to fulfil their vocation with joy, not giving way to the discouragement that threatens their profession, which is the most beautiful of all professions. It is a way of sharing in God’s work, forming a human being in his image. An educator is called to be a creator with God, mirroring his holiness in the world and contributing to his human glory.” 

After supper, at Heverlee (Louvain), he met the staff of “Jeugdienst Don Bosco”.  Here the people in charge and their co-workers dialogued with the Rector Major on questions of faith, on the future of the Church and on Salesian Youth Ministry.

Saturday 11 May was devoted to the Salesian Family. In the Salesian House at Ghent, he met more than 300 representatives of the Salesian Family and friends of Don Bosco. The Rector Major presided at the Eucharist and received the perpetual professions of Antonius Berek (Indonesia) and Simon Edward Nongrum (India), two Salesians sent to the Province of Northern Belgium and Holland as part of Project Europe. The celebration that followed ended with the goodnight given by Don Chávez.

Yesterday morning the Rector Major met the Salesians from other countries – four from India who are studying at the Catholic University of Louvain, and five missionaries from Project Europe  – and listened with great attention to what they had to say. He then celebrated the Sunday Eucharist and this brought to an end his visit to the Province of Northern Belgium and Holland.

Published 13/05/2013 

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