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Letter of the Rector Major on the killing of Fr Antonio César Fernández, SDB

18 February 2019
Don Antonio César Fernández, SDB (1946-2019)

(Rome18th February 2019) - The Rector Major of the Salesians, Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, has written a letter to all his confreres and to the Salesian Family in the world following the tragic death of Fr Antonio César Fernández, Spanish Salesian missionary, of the Francophone Province of West Africa (AFO), shot dead in an ambush struck by jihadist assassins, Friday, February 15, 2019, in Burkina Faso.

 

 

Rome, 16th February 2019

To my Salesian Confreres, to the Salesian Family in the world. My dear brethren, It’s just a few minutes I have arrived in Rome, “Sacro Cuore”, on my return from Ireland, where I was doing the visit to the Province of St. Patrick, whose headquarters are in Dublin, and I right away get in touch with all of you.

The reason for this is the sad and painful news that came a few hours ago, during the night, which informed me that our Salesian confrere Fr. Antonio César Fernández, missionary in Africa since 1982, has been assassinated yesterday, at 15.00 hours local time, with three shots during a jihadist attack perpetrated at about 40 kilometers from the border of Burkina Faso. Fortunately, two other confreres managed to survive the attack. They were coming from Lome, after celebrating the first session of the Provincial Chapter of the AFO Province.

Dear brethren, there are many days during the year in which I receive the news of the demise of Salesian confreres for natural causes. This is the law of life, and it will come for us as well. In such cases, however, we give thanks to the Lord for so many beautiful lives generously donated. 

But our confrere Antonio César war deprived of his life, they killed him without any reason. He was a good man, a man of God who, like the Lord, spent his life “doing good”, especially among his beloved African people. Antonio Cesar was 72 years old, with 55 years of religious profession and 46 of priestly life. We had met a few months ago in Burkina Faso, precisely in his community of Ouagadougou, where he was Rector and Parish Priest.

 Antonio Cesar adds to the number of many other martyrs of the Church today in the world (some of whom are Salesians and members of our Salesian Family).

I invite you to thank the Lord for the beautiful life of our Fr. Antonio César. And also to ask God the Father to help humankind to put an end to this escalation of violence which only causes damage. May the Lord grant that César’s blood, shed in African land, be the seed of Christians, faithful followers of Jesus, and of young vocations at the service of the Kingdom.

Rest in peace, dear César.

Dear brethren, let us proceed more united than ever in the service of the Peole of God, and of the pooerst youth. Evil never has the last word. The Resurrection of the Lord clearly shows this to us, and it follows that, even in suffering, it is becoming a reality that the Lord transforms everything. 

An embrace and a prayer from all of us for the eternal rest of Fr. Antonio César. As well as our affection to his family in Pozoblanco (Spain) and wherever they are, to the beloved Province of AFO to which he belonged and to the Province of Maria Auxiliadora in Spain where he learned to love Don Bosco and to live like him.

With true affection,

Fr. Ángel Fernández A., SDB

Rector Major

INTERVIEWS

  • RMG – General Council and Don Bosco: firsthand voices, testimonies. A word with Fr. Pérez Godoy

    (ANS - Rome) - With the celebration of the 207th birthday of the Father and Teacher of Youth just four days away, we talk to the Councilor for the Mediterranean Region about his personal relationship with Don Bosco.

EDITORIAL

  • Listening With Our Heart

    Little John was watching the television and the sight of the African children being shown in utter poverty made him cry, and after sobbing in desperation he got up and pulled out a few slices of bread and went near the television and started pushing those slices in every small little hole on the back of the television. In his simplicity, he thought he was offering a little bread to those hungry children. The little boy expresses best what it means to listen with the heart.

    The attentive gaze of a mother by the side of her child, and the slightest cry or movement of the child makes her respond immediately with a gentle touch or a caress, and this too is perhaps another example of what it means to listen with the heart. The mother feels what the child needs.

    Listening with the heart is the experience of a noble, loving, compassionate person. Looking around, we see millions of people who suffer in silence every day. Everyone longs to be heard and listened to. But the raging fire and chaos, noise and humdrums have caused so much of deafness within, and we only listen to some sounds. We have lost the quality to empathize, to listen and to feel.

    The call to listen with the ear of one’s heart, is the invitation of Pope Francis in light of the 56th World Communications Day, that is popularly celebrated on the Ascension Sunday every year. Are we really truly listening? Why do we struggle to listen? How can we listen with our heart? These can be some areas of introspection as we ponder on this theme of the World Communications Day – “Listening with the ear of the heart”.

EVENTS

  • Spain – Campobosco 2022, "Dare, trust, live!"

    (ANS - Barcelona) - Under the motto "Dare, trust, live!", a new edition of "Campobosco," a Salesian youth spirituality meeting that this year brings together 774 participants, aged 19 and older, belonging to the Salesian Youth Movement (SYM) of the Salesians and the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians of Spain and Portugal, began last Saturday, July 30.

SPECIAL REPORTS

  • United States – International Youth Day: the Salesian programs that support and educate youth

    (ANS – New Rochelle) – Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco, joins humanitarian organizations and countries around the globe in recognizing International Youth Day. Celebrated each year on Aug. 12, International Youth Day was established by the United Nations to raise awareness of issues affecting young people around the world.

MESSAGES OF THE RECTOR MAJOR

  • THE TSUNAMI OF HOPE

    The land of sorrow and death today hosts a house of affectionate rebirth and well-founded hope thanks to the sons of Don Bosco.

Video EN

InfoANS

ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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