What brought to become a Salesian?
I grew up in a village on the sea and when I was ten years old a tourist asked for a boat ride with my father, a fisherman. From that day, the lady became a friend of my parents. After a year, she asked them what I would do when I grew up and said she knew a congregation that worked with young people. So, after speaking and thinking about it with my parents, I began to study at the Salesian institute. The Salesians were tough, perhaps they had forgotten the Preventive System a little, and I had had enough of them. But when I was ready to start the university, I said to myself: but might Salesian life be right for me? Because even though I was tired of the Salesians, I was really happy. And my parents said to me, "If it is your life, go."
How could Don Bosco inspire the youth of Europe today?
Don Bosco believed that boys and girls can become the protagonists of their own lives. And that is what can be communicated to us today, too.
Throughout Europe we have to face the issue of migrants. What is the Rector Major's point of view?
I have visited over 60 countries and I see that every nation is original and wonderful. I want to be sincere: I am sorry we are building walls. This worries me because I believe that other people can enrich us. I do not mean that there must be widespread chaos, I do not say this! I just want to say that a person different from us is not necessarily dangerous and being prudent does not mean seeing an enemy in every stranger.
What is the most Salesian country today?
I cannot say which country, but I can tell you the criteria: each time the Salesian Family is in the midst of young people and looks for the most needy, then it is on the path of Don Bosco's. Be it Italy, Spain or Nigeria, the important thing is to have the same spirit as Don Bosco. If we succeed in doing this, we are faithful to the Salesian mission.