04 Oct 2018
149th Salesian Missionary Expedition Sent Forth from Valdocco
(ANS – Turin – October 1) – “In the name of Don Bosco and in memory of the first missionary expedition, go and announce to the world’s young and poor the joy of the risen Christ!” With these words, Fr. Angel Fernandez Artime, Don Bosco’s tenth successor, sent the 25 Salesians and the 11 Daughters of Mary Help of Christians of the 149th Salesian Missionary Expedition into and across the world.
The celebration took place on Sunday, September 30, in the basilica of Mary Help of Christians in Turin, with the participation of Mother Yvonne Reungoat, FMA, and numerous concelebrants: the vicar of the Rector Major, Fr. Francesco Cereda; Fr. Guillermo Basañes, general councilor for the missions, and various Salesian provincials.
According to the Rector Major, imagination, creativity, apostolic courage, patience in waiting, and enthusiastic love will be some of the features necessary for the missionaries so that they be “signs and bearers of salvation” among the young.
In his homily, Fr. Fernandez reminded the missionaries they had received “a part” of the same spirit of Don Bosco and Mother Mazzarello. It is precisely that spirit, he said, that will lead them not so much to “doing, doing, doing,” as to broadening the embrace and tender humanity of the early Salesians and early FMAs to today’s poor young people.
Then he urged them not to feel “masters” of the missions, but rather to serve, aware of being “the peak of an inverted pyramid.” In this sense, therefore, listening will be fundamental, “to feel God and the cry of His people.”
Finally, underlining how significant the testimony of 149 expeditions over 143 years is to the world, Fr. Fernandez renewed the invitation to dedicate oneself first of all to the neediest: “be tenacious and courageous missionaries for the little ones and the last,” he concluded.
Of the 25 Salesian missionaries who received the mandate on September 30, 5 will continue their missionary formation through a course offered by the Salesian Pontifical University, while the others, having completed the bureaucratic formalities, will immediately leave for their respective destinations. The 11 FMAs of the expedition will all attend a program of missionary formation that will end in June.
With some leaving before, others later, in the end everyone will start off on mission to “proclaim the Gospel of life to the peoples” and to be “for the young a fatherly or maternal presence of Jesus, who wants abundant life for everyone.”
The video of the Mass is available on the Facebook page of ANS, curated by “IME Comunicazione.” The photos are available at ANSFlickr.