Witness (6) Missionary fire

Witness (6) Missionary fire

General Chapter of the Salesians - March 20

Today we are voting, correcting the proposals about the radical lifestyle of the Salesians! It's rather slow, not-so-easy process which requirs a lot of patience.

To be always on the way - cammino/ pilgrim attitude.

To be always searching for God, never granted that I know Jesus Christ 'already enough'

To be always open to my brothers and build community - 'casa' with family spirit (in spite of all)!

To be always close to the youth, especially the most poor, trying to be poor too!

These are the pointers of our journey to the future of Salesian Congregation. And we need badly the living witnesses - indicators to this journey.

I know quite well one African missionary, who last year re-entered his homeland (from other African country). But he always on fire to start a new missionary group in any place, he was sent.

On the picture you will find ordinary Salesian school in Congo, RD where they just started under the 'Salesian Mission Day 2014' poster (on the photo!) with the migrant - refugee point (The others are we!) as the starting point for the children and youth missionary group!

Witness (5) Marathon for Mission

Witness (5) Marathon for Mission

Witness  by Marathon... for Cambodia

Michael the Mission Marathon Man

KOREA: 17 March 2014 
-- In Seoul the forsythia (sunny splashes of bright yellow flowers) are letting us know that spring is budding. As the door is closed on winter, hopes turn to the colours and scents that flowers represent. So too, many youngsters in the springtime of life in Poipet, Cambodia, preparing for a bright future, may have picked up a rather special 'scent', sweaty though it may be: a marathon in Seoul on their behalf.

The protagonist of the story was Fr Michael Chang, head of the Mission Office as well as Provincial Economer. Fr Michael took part in the Seoul International Marathon run by Dong -A Ilbo, a major newspaper in Korea. It's called 1 won for 1m, an appeal to the people to participate in fundraising activities for supporting the missions by depositing 42,195 Won (about 40 USD) per head.

He had already completed the full marathon course four times when he was the principal of Salesian High School in Kwangju. His idea then was to run with his students to help them overcome the difficulties they meet in the marathon of life and help them feel that they were being accompanied by the Salesians. Now he has added a new meaning to it all - to the help the missions. His former high school colleagues who ran with him at that time gladly took up the invitation to join him in this marathon for the missions.

"The Marathon started out as an educational idea, but it seems that the Lord is happy to work through simple means. Don Bosco Youth Center in Poipet, where two Salesian  Korean missionaries are currently working (Fr Gabriel and Fr Mark) until now have been supported by help coming from European countries. Hearing their difficulty in managing things because the economic crisis in Europe has seen a great reduction in aid, I thought of planning this event."

Fr Michael launched a ten day Marathon campaign, from 5 to 15 March, and received a great response, about 500 individuals, who raised 21,000,000 Won (about 20,000 USD). A double success from the project: "I kept running to the end, carrying with me the prayer intentions of benefactors who took part in the campaign. I can tell you there were critical moments when I wanted to give up the race, but I managed to find some big strides, thinking that with this effort I could contribute to the realisation of the dream of many boys in the missions."

Fr Michael ran for six hours non-stop, face drenched in sweat, legs almost conspiring against him. The smile, however, spoke of the unfailing joy of completing a race which plants a seed of hope for young people who do not find it easy to dream.

Witness (4) Fire at the center

Witness (4) Fire at the center

March 14, Friday


We are almost at the middle of the Chapter work. Each day is full.

Full of prayer, meetings, commissions, listening, voting and patience!

Now really tired (after one day or discussion about 'to delete the missions councilor' from the constitutions.

Many questions are roaming around:

- How to facilitate the personal, fraternal and pastoral-missionary conversion wanted the the Chapter?

- How to help the 'poor' rectors to animate 'as Don Bosco' their confreres amidst large educative-pastoral works and multiple tasks?

- How to facilitate the grace of unity in the life of each Salesian?

Yes, the answer is find together - in prayer, listening and open dialogue, with the help of the Holy Spirit...

Many suggestions are coming... like:

Let's put the Word of God at the center of the Salesian life in the next 6 years OR Let's move the general house to another location as powerful sign (in the spirit of Pope Francis...).

In the first complete draft of HOW to become a Salesian-Mystics, there is a clear and strong suggestion to make sure, the Word of God will be at the center of next 6 years period of the Congregation. 

Saint John Bosco, pray for us!



Witness (3) Animators

Witness (3) Animators

GC27 - week 3: Sharing and searching for the 'Radical witness to the Gospel'

It's like to searching for a treasure!

Since yesterday in the 5 commissions all 220 members of the general chapter are looking for some inspiration from the Holy Spirit to discover some 'keys' to the renewal of the Congregation.

This picture taken in the Torino-Valdocco sacristy some weeks ago - with the Rector major and 50+ young animators of Ivrea community and its rector Fr. Eligio.

The large group of teenagers and university students is speaking loudly about the animation style of one Piedmont based community. 12 Salesians of average age (83+!!!) animated by one rector below 60 (the youngest member of the community) - entrusted with Ivrea Instituto Cardinal Cagliero (now a primary school with 300+ kids from 6 to 15 years of age), lively Oratory and vibrants groups of Salesian Cooperators, Past Pupils and ADMA.

Thanks to tireless commitment, ongoing formation of the youth, of the school staff (key members are all Salesian Cooperators) and the local Salesian Family branches, the fruits are visible.

It might be one hint to the RADICAL WITNESS JOURNEY - put all energies to youth and adult ongoing formation - to be disciples and missionaries in their own place.

Witness (2) Speaking by life

Witness (2) Speaking by life

General Chapter 27, Rome

First two weeks are over, remaining only 5 more weeks!

First days in the Assembly of 220+ and in the 5 commissions (each 40+) are days of listening. Thousands of words, of emotions, of sharings are flowing in the large world-wide community of General Chapter 27.

On the picture you could witness one of the breaks - two Salesian from Argentina (Br. Hugo and Fr. Guillermo - regional of Africa) and two Salesians from Africa (Br. Marco from Zimbabwe and Fr. Simon from Kenya) sharing together. Indeed very important sign of the two faces of Salesian vocation, which we can't miss at any cost (in spite of the statistics!)

Thousands of dialogues are flowing on every day in the general house!

But many delegates are asking less words and more 'powerful' sings, gestures... like those of Pope Francis.

Not easy to produce - those signs or gestures are flowing from deep unity with God, not coming out by accident!  I would like to share just 3 hints of today

1. A 'recycled' (second time) provincial suggests to rethink the Pisana, 1111 as headquarters of the Congregation for the witness sake - telling it would be the best chapter document! And why not!

2. French provincial, famous cartoon artist (Papi) did produced already some 25 items, all of them done with deep Salesian sense of identity, humour and passion. His constant effort (already the 3rd general chapter of this kind of service) is also a wonderful - loudly speaking sign!

3. Good number of delegates prayes the Rosary in small groups every day after dinner, walking around the house or (if too cold) in the Pisana corridors.

Yes, we need more of these simple, but powerful signs in order to make visible Don Bosco today for the sake of millions of young people, who are in touch with us!

Saint John Bosco, pray for us!

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