Message of the Rector Major on the situation in Venezuela
(Kakuma - Kenya, April 27, 2017) - Faced with the delicate situation in Venezuela, the Rector Major of the Salesians, Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, in a statement sent from Kenya, expresses his support for the Salesians in Venezuela and the Venezuelan people. In a fraternal message he says, "You are not alone. We, in the different parts of the Salesian world, are worried about you. We are attentive to what you are experiencing and well aware of everything that happens to you.
"Below is the text of the message:
I am on a visit these days to the Salesian work in Kakuma (Kenya), where my Salesian confreres have been living for years in the United Nations refugee camp, sharing the lives and the fate of these 150,000 people. Our simple vocational school helps young people to learn a job for when they leave the camp. They are mostly young people and families from South Sudan, Rwanda, Congo and other countries. They have come here, to this place in the north of Kenya, and they continue to come, fleeing conflict in their own countries, the lack of security, the instability in their villages and the hunger that these situations create.
In this context, I have seen the video recorded personally by Fr Francisco Méndez, Superior of the Salesian Province of Venezuela, in which he states that he had to make this video because he felt in his conscience that he could not remain silent.
With these words of mine, I want to express fully my total support for Fr Francisco Méndez and all my Salesian confreres in Venezuela, and also my total support for the great Salesian Family in Venezuela.
As Superior General of the Salesians of Don Bosco in the world, I want to tell Fr Francisco and my confreres, that we are with you, we are by your side. We can sense the pain you feel and the tiredness you are experiencing. For a long time, we have been praying for this beautiful country and its good people. We have prayed for the dead of recent weeks, some of them close to the Salesian work.
Today I want to express our affection and our support and help. I want to say to Fr Francisco and to the Salesians and the Salesian Family in Venezuela, that you are not alone, and that from various parts of the Salesian world we care for you, we are attentive to what you are experiencing and well aware of all that happens to you. Today we are close to you more than ever.
I pray for all of you and for your people that you may have Peace, that Peace that is possible always and everywhere in the world only if it comes from the hand of Justice and Respect for the most inviolable human rights of each person.
And I ask the Good God to give you that inner and spiritual strength that comes from Him.
With true affection,
Fr Ángel Fernández A., SDB