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28/11/2014 - RMG - "Today, my first job is to take care of Latin American migrants in Genoa"

(ANS - Rome)- From today, 28 November  until Sunday 30 November a Meeting of the Provincials of Europe is being held at the Salesian Generalate in Rome. As we did yesterday, today ANS carries the testimony of a Salesian missionary, Fr Daniel Coronel, aged 38 from Peru. He says: one of the main tasks of the first Salesian missionaries was the care of Italian migrants in America. Today, my primary task is to take care of Latin American migrants in Genoa”.

My missionary vocation was born when I was in the Salesian prenovitiate thanks to the screening of a video on Father Luis Bolla and his mission among the Achuar Indians of the Peruvian Amazon. This touched my heart and I could not get out of my mind the desire to go work one day among those most in need. Thus, during the novitiate I expressed the desire to be sent on the missions ad gentes to the then Regional Councillor, Fr Pascual Chávez.

He said I should finish my studies in philosophy before I can expect a response regarding my desire. When I started Practical Training in 2001, I was sent along with 4 other missionaries, to start the first Salesian community in the Peruvian Amazon and work among the Indians of 7 tribes. My dream was becoming a reality. I did the first year of my Practical Training among the Indians and then I was transferred to Lima to work among street children.

After finishing my theological studies I expressed the desire to go to the mission ad gentes, ad extra. I got the answer in 2010 when I was working already as a priest among the Indians of the Amazon. The destination was to be part of Project Europe. Thus, I was sent initially to Ireland and then to Genoa – Sampierdarena to work among Latin American migrants. Of course I encountered difficulties due to culture shock : the language, the fraternal relations , the way of seeing the Salesian charism from a secular and secularising world, the difficulty of integrating faith and life, etc. . , even among us Salesians, the little effort in fostering integration.

The New Course for New Missionaries was very useful, because I was going to a completely different culture to mine and we had been prepared for this during the course. Besides it was very useful to help me take these steps towards integration and analysis of the various European realities. It had forewarned us of all the difficulties we would meet. The knowledge of the sources of the Salesian charism, the week on spirituality, the exchange of experiences of new missionaries were topics that have helped me tremendously.

Some people ask me: “We need missionaries in Peru, why go as a missionary among Latin Americans in Europe”? My answer in this regard is: one of the main tasks of the first Salesian missionaries was the care of Italian migrants in America. Today, my primary task is to take care of Latin American migrants in Genoa who have waited so long for the presence of a Latin American priest. I know that there is so much need in my country and I have experienced it myself, but I also know that here there is a huge need as well for Latin American migrants to be able to rediscover their culture, to be comforted and listened to especially in these times of crisis at all levels: economic, social, political, cultural and religious. That's why I never tire of thanking God for guiding my life and the lives of all the missionaries who are part of Project Europe according to His will.

This and other testimonies are available on Cagliero 11 (Bulletin of the Missions Department) on the

Published 27/11/2014

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