Argentina - "Christian life is a missionary life": at 81, Msgr. Melani, SDB, starts for Peru as missionary

18 September 2019

(ANS –Neuquén) - The bishop emeritus of Neuquén, Msgr. Marcelo Angiolo Melani, SDB, is embarking on a new journey at the age of 81: he will leave for Peru as an ad vitam missionary, as part of the 150th Salesian Missionary Expedition, and will be sent to the Amazon on the eve of the Extraordinary Synod convened by Pope Francis. Speaking of his expectations and the significance of this new phase of his life, he said: "I believe the Lord continues to tell me: 'Don't be afraid ... I'm at your side.'"

Following his episcopal motto, "Not to be served, but to serve", mgr. Melani takes on this new mission "marveled" at thinking that God has a new project for him at this time in his life.

Although his departure was on 12 September, he will actually arrive in Peru in December, since before then he will participate in a "Missiology" course in Rome.

Interviewed about his expectations in this new destination, he said: "The only expectation I have is that I can serve men and God." For this reason, he explained: "I am not worried about what activity I will have. I will certainly be able to confess, listen and advise," he said.

"For 48 years I have been a missionary in Patagonia. Now I feel that this appeal has been renewed in me: 'Leave your land,' because Patagonia is my land," said the prelate, born in Florence in 1938.

Regarding the appeal, he acknowledged: "It amazed me to hear again that call with such force and I was surprised to think that God has a new project for an 81-year-old." "The charism of the Salesians," he continued, "is itself a missionary. Don Bosco looked for missionaries where they were; he didn't wait for them to come. When the Congregation had few members, he sent the best to America."

Msgr. Melani then added that "one cannot be a missionary unless one is totally in love with Christ." Today Christ calls him once again, at 81, with a clear message, to leave everything bhind and to follow Him. "I believe the Lord continues to tell me: 'Don't be afraid ... I'm at your side.' Saint Paul said: 'I run towards the Lord' and He runs with me."

Finally, the bishop emeritus sends a message to the community of the faithful: "The Christian life is a missionary life; we are not afraid to cross it. With Jesus everything is possible."

With a long testimony of life given to Christ behind him, and under the protection of Saint John Bosco, of Blessed Ceferino Namuncurá, of the saint "Cura Brochero" and of many Salesians "who gave their lives to announce the love of the Lord", Msgr. Melani left Patagonia and embarked on a new missionary adventure.

Source: AICA


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