Small is beatiful - Uruguay weekend!

October 1, 2011
Feast day of St. Therese of Child Jesus, in Montevideo, Uruguay, probably the oldest Salesian province in the world. A short animation visit marked by a strong missionary spirit. Starting from the founder, Mons. Luis Lasagna, who arrived at 26 years of age until the lay missionary volunteers who shared dinner today - ongoing missionary fire!

Follow up:

Uruguay is the smallest country in South America, squeezed between big fellows - Brasil, Argentina and Paraguay. Just three millions of population. Probably the most secularized civil society in Latin America. The Salesians however are the largest Uruguay man religious Congregation. Moreover there are 10 Salesians from Uruguay province in the missions, making it probably the highest percentage among the provinces of America!

Yesterday night, just after arrival to Montevideo, I was asked to preside a Eucharist for some 160 young members of Salesian missionary groups and missionary volunteer movement, preparing for next commitment during summer holiday in January. About 15 different groups in our setting were present. Sharing my own missionary vocation, distributing their hand made rosary and chatting with some of them was a good start.

Thanks to the Vicar of the Provincial, fr. Amilcar, today the whole day was an ongoing pilrimage to the missionary roots of this Province.

First house of FMA Sisters in America was the first stop over. Villa Colon, landed 5 first missionaries in 1877. The house with 8 senior Sister is open to retreats and missionary exhibit, offering a deep insight into the life of the first missionaries sent from Mornese.

Villa Colon, Colegio Pio with its' museums (Salesian History Exhibit, Meteorological exhibit and Natural science museum). Thanks to the help from the Rector Major and Missionary Procures, thanks to the constant effort and zeal of Mamma Margarita (lady in charge of the museums), it was a deep dip into the Uruguay Salesian missionary history. A meal shared with the 9 confrers strong community members was a real family event, full of fun and future dream sharing.

In the afternoon followed a short pilgrimage around three youth animated Oratories around Villa Colon, in very poor settings. Especially the time spent walking around the NUEVAS VALDOCCO is very difficult to forget. Young animator sharing with one FMA high school students about their work. I was able to share missionary rosary with some of them, challenging them with the commitment to the missions outside of their country.

At the end of the day, a meeting with Joaquin, finishing his BA degree in physical education and preparing for his 2012 one year long volunteer life in Angola. His older sister and their Oratory animators and kids were a good picture of his good preparation. After last meeting with the provincial missionary animation delegate, also in charge of the volunteer movement, since last 1994, there was a dinner
shared with 4 volunteers (4 of 10) who shared one or two years of their life in ANGOLA Salesian missionary settings.

Leaving Uruguay, with a 'Cuaderno de Oracion' proyecto de espiritualitad juvenil misionera (Agosto 2011, P. Daniel Sturla)
and a small sand-watch (3 minutes), I'm aware about a strong expectations of the 90 Salesians. For next year 2012, they expect to get two young missionaries (from Vietnam!?). Many of the Salesians had hinted the promise of their Provincial. My answer was just to ask prayers for the next batch of 143rd expedition missionaries, who are not yet around.

Saint John Bosco, pray for us!
Saint Therese of Child Jesus, patroness of the Missions, pray for us!
All Saint salesian missionaries, pray for us!

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