RMG – General Councilor for Missions presents 151st Salesian Missionary Expedition

31 July 2020

(ANS - Rome) - "Due to the uncertain health situation related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the sending ceremony of the 151st Salesian Missionary Expedition will not be held this September 2020," announces Fr Alfred Maravilla, General Councilor for the Salesian Missions. The ceremony, he continues, "will be postponed to another date, to the early part of 2021, perhaps around Easter, depending on how the pandemic develops. For now, everything is so uncertain due to the current world situation." Yet all this does not mean a less missionary commitment from the Congregation, quite the opposite! Here is how Fr Maravilla illustrates the prospects for the next pastoral year.

How many missionaries will there be this year and how will the whole process of sending the missionaries be reorganized?

This year we will have 25 missionaries for the 151st Salesian Missionary Expedition. As has been happening for years, this expedition reflects the universality of the Congregation and the vitality of some regions. By now there are no 'senders' and 'recipient' provinces. All continents send and all receive. For now, Oceania only receives. But I am convinced that Oceania will soon be able to send local Salesians as missionaries to other regions of the Congregation. In any case, for the 151st Salesian Missionary Expedition: Africa sends 12 missionaries and receives 3; Asia sends 9 and receives 6; America sends 2 and welcomes 8; Europe sends 2 and receives 2; and Oceania receives 6.

Meanwhile, the Provincials of the departing missionaries have been asked to temporarily send the missionaries to a house in their Provinces, provided that they are always available to leave. We are facing an unprecedented situation.

The Orientation Course for new missionaries, on the other hand, is very important because it is the immediate preparation before leaving for the respective missions. So it will be done, but it will be modified according to the new situation we are facing.

How will the other projects of the second half of 2020 be accompanied?

The Delegates for Missionary Animation have already been informed that the meetings of the Provincial Delegates for Missionary Animation (DIAM), which have been scheduled for 2020, will only be done online. In May, we already had an online meeting with the DIAMs of the South Asia and East Asia-Oceania regions. But here too we are facing an unprecedented situation. And I am not referring so much to the use of any online platform to overcome the impossibility of meeting due to the pandemic. No, it is about ensuring that in every online meeting there is a real dialogue and an exchange of ideas in order to make decisions together for which all participants must be actively involved.


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