Below is the text of his message.
My dear friends, Past Pupils of Don Bosco from the South Asia/East Asia-Oceania Region who are now celebrating the 12th International Congress involving the 28 nations of that part of the world, of the Salesian world.
I am very happy to greet you and be with you in this way since any other way would not be possible today, and I really feel very happy, and especially thankful. Thanks to all of you because, believe me, what you are doing is so very important. Thanks means thanking all the leadership, thanking all of you involved in carrying forward your (local) Past Pupil Associations, because it means you have discovered the great value these have for the Salesian Family and for today’s world.
I have to tell you that while I was preparing a letter of reflection over these days on Fr Albera, I was amazed to see how Fr Albera, Don Bosco’s second successor from 1911 up until 1921, stressed the importance the Past Pupils have, because Don Bosco carried all his past pupils in his heart, in his very great heart. And on this matter, Fr Albera said that we too must take much care of our Past Pupils around the world.
Well then. I would like to do this by telling you that you are very important in our Salesian Family. And do you know why? Because you are, and can be even more so, the arm which, in the name of Jesus and in Don Bosco’s style, prolongs (his work) in the world; in this world of countries, cities, work, and of course your own families. And this means bringing the world the values of the Gospel, of God who loves us so much, the values of the spirituality you have succeeded in living. Bringing all this to the world with the sense (you have) of belonging to Don Bosco’s heart and to the Salesian Family will do so much good.
Finally, I would like to encourage you to promote the Association among young Past Pupils. We must all believe in the young and I encourage you to continue to believe in these young people and involve those who can join the ranks of past pupils around the world even more in beautiful initiatives carried out with creativity, especially in Asia and Oceania.
My dear friends, I greet you from here, from Sacro Cuore (Sacred Heart), the house that Don Bosco himself wanted. I promise to accompany you with my prayer at the Eucharist over these days. I hope you have some very wonderful days at this 12th Congress which, for the first time ever you are carrying out online as part of the reality of today’s circumstances. It is more difficult to bring people together but surely we will succeed in reaching so many others who might not have been able to be present. So congratulations for this.
Have lots of courage – and lots of hope! Let me remind you that the motto you have chosen is the one from this year’s Strenna: Moved by Hope. We must be moved by hope in every sense of that phrase.
So greetings once again. A prayer for you and for your families!
Fr Ángel Fernández Artime
In order to take part in the Congress – First session on June 25, 6PM (GMT+8) – here are some links to the YouTube channels in their respective languages: