They are the heroes of our day, men and women who wear their white coats every day with the fearless pride of a uniform. And there are also the chaplains who for a year, all together, have faced Covid-19 with admirable courage and faith. We, therefore, wish to thank all these extraordinary people for what they have been and are doing with the most moving and praiseworthy impulse of charity. Let us start first of all with the health workers, doctors, nurses, and especially all those who are past pupils of the Salesian Schools and continue their profession with the same spirit of St John Bosco, alive and active alongside them in this daily battle.
Among the chaplains, special thanks to Fr Mina Yussef Wakim, a Salesian priest. He carried out his ministry in Turin in the ICP Province, but as soon as he graduated in Psychology on March 18, 2020, he wanted to lend a hand to help people where they were most needed it in dealing with the pandemic. Divine Providence led him to carry out a period of volunteer work at the "City of Health and Science" University Hospital of Turin, as chaplain. From the beginning of September, Fr Mina was officially hired at ASLTO 3 as a professional collaborator and chaplain of the Rivoli Hospital. From the very first moment, everyone noticed the typically Salesian joyful spirit and enthusiasm that guide Fr Mina in his service as chaplain. When he visits the sick, he presents himself first of all as a Salesian and bearer of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist. His mission is at the service of patients, those who care for them, doctors, nurses and all the staff of the hospital. With priceless human warmth, patience, gentleness and the ability to meet with others, he brings the spirit of Don Bosco to the hospital setting in a very effective way; his presence, alongside the health workers, bringing comfort, consolation, hope.
With his availability, 24/7, and his constant visits to patients, especially those who have contracted Covid-19, Fr Mina helps the sick and the staff of the Rivoli Hospital to feel and experience the joy of Sunday, that is Jesus himself who goes to look for his favorite children wherever fate has led them. In other words, he is an example of how the Church reaches out to everyone, especially those in need without ever making them feel alone. Thanks to Fr Mina, we are reminded of the way in which Don Bosco lived the cholera epidemic that broke out in Turin in 1854. With a highly courageous spirit Don Bosco had convinced a large group of about thirty boys from the oratory to serve those afflicted by cholera, without ever being afraid, trusting in the protection of the Virgin Mary.