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21/9/2011 - RMG - The mission at the heart of Europe
Photo for the article -RMG – THE MISSION AT THE  HEART OF EUROPE

(ANS – Rome) – Yesterday missionaries from the religious orders left  Europe to go to evangelise the New World. Nowadays when Europe seems to have lost its cultural and spiritual identity, things have changed, and from the other continents missionaries are arriving to witness to Christ in the Old Continent. This will be the missionary experience of Fr Pedro Ayala.

Fr Pedro Ayala is a young Mexican Salesian from the Province of Guadalajara, and will be among those leaving on the 142nd Salesian Missionary Expedition. After attending the Salesian oratory in the city of his birth, Tlaquepaque, at 12 years of age he entered the aspirantate and through the various youth activities began to feel the desire to devote his life to the young, as a consecrated priest and son of  Don Bosco.

To his religious vocation another followed, even more radical, that  of being a missionary. “When I was in the novitiate,”  he say, “a missionary from Angola came to visit us; I didn’t say anything to anyone but I began to feel something stirring inside me. Later I began to work with the indigenous people in the regions of the Chiapas and   Huasteca Potosina and this feeling grew. Only after ordination did I speak with the Provincial, Fr Cleofas Murgia, and since then I have begun a three year period of discernment.”

Last 8 December, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception , Fr Ayala made a formal request: “I wrote to the Rector Major, suggesting three possible destinations, but in fact I was ready to go anywhere. For me the important thing was to work with the young.”

As part of the commitment of the Salesian Congregation to the new  evangelisation of Europe – the Project for Europe – the Rector Major arranged to send Fr  Ayala to the Salesian community of the “Don Bosco Haus” in Amsterdam, where he will collaborate in the formation of volunteers serving young people at risk.

The destination has not frightened Fr Ayala. “The mission is linked to human development. There are different kinds of poverty, there is also spiritual poverty, which leads people to fill their lives with things such as drugs, sex, selfishness … Being in a school, in an institute, you can come into contact with many young people. I don’t want to offer just material things but to get to know the people, draw close to them with respect, and to enkindle in each one the light of Christ.”

“My only fear, is that of conformity, of losing the motive for which I am going, taking God. The mission will require a great capacity for dialogue, for discovering values to rely on without forgetting that the aim is always Christ, and that you don’t evangelise through arguments but through witnessing.”

Published 21/09/2011 

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