(ANS - Rabat) - "Pope Francis has taught us that being few [in number] is not a problem. Having no flavour is a problem." Salesian Cardinal Cristobal Lopez, archbishop of Rabat, looks back on Pope Francis' trip to Morocco, which took place just one year ago (30-31 March 2019). Since then, the small Moroccan Church has continued upon its path, also strengthened by Pope Francis' decision to make the archbishop of Rabat Cardinal. It is he who takes stock of the situation, one year after the Pope's visit.
Vatican City, Vatican - March 2020 - The General Audience of 18 March was celebrated by Pope Francis at 9.30 in the Library of the Vatican Apostolic Palace. It was streamed and broadcast live on television due to the health emergency. Continuing the cycle of catechesis on the Beatitudes, the Pope focused his meditation on the fifth beatitude: "Blessed are the merciful, because they will find mercy" (Mt 5,7). After special greetings to the faithful, Pope Francis launched an appeal for the celebration of the next initiative entitled: "24 hours for the Lord" (20-21 March 2020). Addressing the Italian-speaking faithful, the Holy Father said, "I make my own the appeal of the Italian Bishops who in this health emergency have promoted a moment of prayer for the whole country. Every family, every faithful, every religious community: all united spiritually tomorrow (today, Editor's note) at 9 pm in the recitation of the Rosary, with the Mysteries of light. I will accompany you from here." The General Audience ended with the recitation of the Pater Noster and the Apostolic Blessing.
(ANS - Rome) - Pope Francis' closeness to the Salesian Family is well-known: the numerous ties with several Salesians meaningful to his life, the school year at the Institute of Ramos Mejía, his devotion to Mary Help of Christians ... But in the message he sent on the occasion of the 28th General Chapter of the Salesian Congregation, Pope Francis amazes for the intimate and profound knowledge of Don Bosco's charism. Thus, speaking with familiarity, as if it were a simple "goodnight" in the oratory, he helps to identify the answer to the Chapter's question: "What Salesians for today's young people?" For the Argentine pontiff, the answer is: "the Salesian of the XXI century is a man full of hope because he knows that his centre is in the Lord, able to make all things new."
(ANS - Rome) - “What can I compare the kingdom of God to? It is similar to a bit of yeast: if a woman takes it and kneads it with three large measures of flour, then the yeast ferments all the dough." This beautiful parable of Jesus can be a good comparison for General Chapter XXVIII. It was shorter than expected, but like a pinch of yeast, its work has only just begun: it will spread its strength and beneficial ferments in and throughout the Congregation.
(ANS - Rome) - It is said that a woman once started asking people: "What is the most important thing in life for you?" The answers she obtained were predictable: health, love, money ... But when she asked the question to an elderly man, the answer was so simple and spontaneous that it did not require any comment: "To forgive." For this Lent, Pope Francis invites us not only to "forgive", but to allow ourselves to be reconciled with God. Even more, he invites us to "draw close to confessing our sins, to firmly believe in His mercy that frees us from our guilt."
Bari, Italy - February 2020 - On February 23, Pope Francis reached Bari to conclude the meeting "Mediterranean frontier of peace", promoted by the CEI, at the Basilica of San Nicola, in which 58 bishops of the 20 Mediterranean churches participated. In his speech, Pope Francis outlined the path to follow to build peace relations in the Mediterranean, urging Christians to be "tireless peacemakers." He then spoke of the "madness of war" which is the failure of every human and divine project, of the migratory phenomenon, of the protection of religious freedom and of migrants, and urged to transform the Mediterranean from a cemetery to a place of Resurrection. The Pontiff stressed that extremisms and fundamentalisms deny the dignity of man and his religious freedom, urging a more lively encounter between the different religious faiths. Finally, he stressed that the prerequisite for building peace is justice. He concluded his intervention by indicating Saint Paul as an example to follow in order to transmit the faith.
Italy – Listening to the voices of missionaries: Edwin Seminario Rivera, departing with the 153rd Salesian Missionary Expedition
(ANS - Castelnuovo Don Bosco) - With only one day left before the sending-off ceremony of the 153rd Salesian Missionary Expedition, we let Salesian cleric Edwin Seminario Rivera, a 24-year-old Peruvian destined for the Salesian missions in the Democratic Republic of Congo, tell us about his missionary journey and future prospects in mission lands.
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”.
Italy - Expo AgriCultura Lombriasco - "Hortus: Agriculture for Life": International Fair among Salesian Agricultural Schools in the world returns
(ANS - Lombriasco) - After the positive response of the first edition of Expo "AgriCultura" Lombriasco, the second edition entitled "Hortus: Agriculture for Life", with important new features, takes place from September 29 to October 2, 2022, at the Salesian Agricultural School of Lombriasco (Via San Giovanni Bosco, 7 - Lombriasco - Turin), in the land of St. John Bosco.
RMG - "Educating and Evangelizing Today in the Digital Habitat. Together with young people, toward the future": Part Two
(ANS – Rome) - Last month saw the presentation of the new series of articles by Fr. Gildasio Mendes, General Councilor for Social Communication, aimed at exploring the theme, "Educating and Evangelizing Today in the Digital Habitat. Together with young people, toward the future." Today, giving continuity to this series of reflections, the second contribution is published, through which Fr. Mendes invites us to deepen the principal question of this new series: how to educate and evangelize today in the digital environment?
MESSAGES OF THE RECTOR MAJOR
“I BELIEVED, I PROMISED, I RECOVERED!”. Artemides Zatti: Gospel of vocation and a Church that cares
Letter from the Rector Major, Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, a few days before the canonisation of Artemide Zatti (9 October 2022).