Salesians and Missionaries

15 Nov 2018

Salesian News November 15, 2018

Dear Salesian Family,

Fr. Angel Fernández and a missionary during the 149 missionary expeditions. Photo Credit: ANS

When I was at the meeting of SDB provincials of the Interamerica Region last month, I heard one of the provincials mention jóvenes en salida (“young people going out”). I immediately thought of the situation of many young people in Canada and the USA, young people who are leaving the regular practice of the Faith, a reality presented in the study by St. Mary’s Press, “Going, Going, Gone: the Dynamics of Disaffiliation in Young Catholics.” I thought to myself, “So the Latinos are also seeing young people going out from the Church.” But that is not what the phrase jóvenes en salida refers to. It means young people going out to evangelize, especially to share the Good News with their peers. Isn’t this what we want in Canada and the USA, young people going out from the Church, not because the Church is seen as irrelevant to their lives, but because they have Good News to share?!


Last week Fr. Tom Brennan, the province delegate for mission animation, sent to the SDB communities two summaries of material from the booklet, “Missionary Formation of the Salesians of Don Bosco.” One summary deals with missionary promotion, the other with mission groups. Fr. Tom has provided us with some practical suggestions about how each Salesian presence can prepare their young people “to go out from the Church,” not because they are disaffiliated but because they feel the fire of being a missionary.*

Of course, young people will not go out to announce the Good News if they have not first felt the love of God. Before they go out, they will be looking to us to be examples of the passion of Don Bosco’s da mihi animas. They will also need some basic preparation. The resources sent to us by Fr. Tom can help us form missionary disciples among the young, who will be the best evangelizers of the young.

I’d like to draw your attention to the Rector Major’s reflections on the 149th sending of Salesian missionaries ad gentes ad vitam (to foreign nations, for life).  Fr. Angel mentions how young the first FMA missionaries were, between 17 and 25 years of age! Not too young to accept the challenge to leave family and homeland and go forth in faith to be witnesses of the Gospel. God still calls the young, both consecrated and lay people, to participate in the mission of Jesus as missionaries ad gentes ad vitam.  Go to InfoANS Youtube Channel  to view a few brief videos of the personal stories of some of the Salesian missionaries sent forth in this 149th expedition. These videos might serve as part of a Good Morning or Good Night with the young.


November for us Salesians recalls the first missionary expedition of SDBs, sent by Don Bosco himself to Argentina on November 11, 1875. We thank God for the enthusiastic response of thousands of members of the Salesian Family over these 144 years. Inspired by their example, and in light of next year’s extraordinary month of the mission, October 2019, we want to participate with joy and enthusiasm in the Salesian mission where we are now, but not alone. The young people and their families are ready to share in the mission, to be jóvenes en salida, leaving from the Church to announce the Good News.

Mary, Queen of the Missions, pray for us.


Fr. Tim Zak, SDB



*To Acces the material prepared by Fr. Tom Brennan, Click here


The dome over the altar in the basilica of Mary Help of Christians is inscribed with words that Don Bosco saw in one his early dreams: Hic domus mea, inde gloria mea—“This is my house, from which my glory will go forth.” 149 missionary expeditions have gone from the basilica to spread Mary’s glory—and that of Jesus Christ—and jóvenes en salida do the same from their own countries and contexts.
Credit: Fr. Mike Mendl

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