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23/2/2016 - Germany - The Missionaries of Project Europe: a source of renewal

(ANS - Munich) - At the Third Meeting of the Missionaries in Europe recently held in Munich in Bavaria, there were five missionary priests ordained this year (4 for the Province of France-Southern Belgium and one for Northern Belgium). They had been sent as missionaries to Europe after their post-novitiate and had done their training and theological studies in their new Provinces.

In a survey before the meeting, the missionaries in Europe said that the primary source of their joy is the knowledge that they have responded to God's call to share the gospel with the people of Europe. The openness of the Salesian communities that received them and welcomed them into their new Province and the spirit of mutual openness helps to sustain this joy.

They believe, however, that learning the language and inculturation are the most important challenges for them. When they fail to meet those challenges in their new situation the missionaries experience a sense of frustration.

In the same survey the Councils of the Provinces that welcomed the missionaries emphasize the positive influence of the missionaries on the renewal of the Province. Their presence has made it an international community and has strengthened the sense among European Salesians of belonging to a worldwide congregation, in which diversity is valued as wealth.

Their presence has also made European Salesians more aware of their advanced age and the lack of young Salesians. The youthful enthusiasm of the missionaries and their Salesian joy and generosity have brought liveliness, vitality, novelty, freshness and youth to the local and provincial communities. Thanks to them, young people can again get in touch with young Salesians, with the possibility of future vocations.

Fr Daniel Federspiel, Provincial of France-Southern Belgium, stressed that the missionaries have given back to his province the courage to rethink the existing works and to launch new initiatives. These new priests are a concrete sign that the European project is already beginning to develop.

Published 23/02/2016

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