Last week, we were blessed with the visit of the Rector Major and the General Councilor for the Interamerica Region. Fr. Ángel and Fr. Hugo arrived from San Francisco on Monday, November 21. They were present at Don Bosco Cristo Rey on Monday evening and Tuesday morning. On Tuesday night, they attended the gala celebrating the 75th anniversary of Salesian Missions. On Wednesday, Fr. Hugo had to fly to Quito. Fr. Ángel visited Salesian High School and the Salesian Missions' office. He met with students from Salesian High, Mary Help Academy, and Don Bosco Prep who had attended a Salesian Leadership Retreat. He also met with young alumni. Later that day, he met with the provincial council, then he when to St. John Bosco Parish, Port Chester. On Thanksgiving Day, Fr. Ángel spend the morning with the FMAs in Haledon and the afternoon with the SDBs in Ramsey. At night, some of the post-novices gave him a quick tour of mid-town Manhattan. On Friday, the last day of his visit, Fr. Ángel met with men in initial formation and then with formators. You can see from this quick overview of the itinerary that the days were busy, with an emphasis on encounters with the confreres, the young people and members of the Salesian Family. He described the days in the SUE Province as full and enriching.
Thanks to everyone who participated in the various events with Fr. Ángel and Fr. Hugo. Thank you to everyone who helped with the publicity and reporting, the many details that were required for the events, and the preparation of our young people to know about the Rector Major. Please communicate the gratitude of the entire provincial council to the generous volunteers and benefactors. Please also send photos with captions and brief stories about the visit to Julia in the communications office. This experience offers us plenty to reflect on. We can continue to grow from this historic occasion.
Part of the motivation for the Rector Major’s visit was the 125th anniversary of the arrival of SDBs to the USA, first to San Francisco in 1897 and then to New York in 1898. Throughout his visit, Fr. Ángel highlighted to the relevance of the Salesian mission today and the life and hope in SUE and SUO. Flowing from the grace of the visit of Rector Major, I present to each SDB community a challenge to cultivate among our young adults a missionary perspective so that by the end of 2023, each community can present a candidate for the SLMs or one of the groups of the Salesian Family. One hundred years ago, four SDBs came to this land as Salesian missionaries. Let’s enkindle the flame of missionary zeal in our young adults, so many more young people and their families will hear the Good News. At least one candidate from each Salesian presence by the end of 2023.
The consultation for SDB leaders was sent out to every Salesian on Sunday, November 27. Please complete the online questionnaire by Thursday, December 8.
In some ways, Don Bosco felt his work among the young received greater clarity and commitment on December 8, 1841, through the motherly intervention of the Immaculate Virgin Mary. We are now in the Immaculate Conception Novena. These days of prayer, along with other feasts in Advent and the Christmas Novena, give us the opportunity for profound spiritual renewal. We can take advantage of them to pray with young people, especially young adults. When Fr. Ángel visited the new FMA chapel in North Haledon, Sr. Joanne described it as the heart of the province, the place where the young come to meet Jesus in the Sacraments. Fr. Ángel encouraged the Sisters to make sure it was also a place where the FMA prayed with the young. His words speak to us as we prepare for the celebration of the Nativity of our Lord, the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, and the Epiphany of the Lord. With typical Salesian creativity and initiative, how will you pray with the young of your presence?
Fr. Tim Zak