Guatemala - Raùl Vásquez Diéguez: a past pupil and a multi-awarded Salesian Cooperator

24 January 2018

(ANS - Guatemala City) - Raúl Vásquez Diéguez calls himself "Salesian from birth": "I learned about Don Bosco as a child. I spent a whole life next to him in the Salesian school of my city ... Don Bosco was always close to me." At the local, national and regional levels, Raùl served in the Association of Salesian Cooperators, as well as in the Past Pupils Association, where for years he was Director and Delegate for the Past Pupils of the Technical Office of Guatemala City. He also cooperates with the Foundation "Alberto Marvelli" in favor of the most disadvantaged young people. For his efforts, the Italian Government has awarded him as Cavaliere, or Knight, "Stella della Solidarietà", or Star of Solidarity, and by the Holy See with the "Croce Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice."

By Peter Kovác

Why have you been rewarded?

I too ask myself the same question. Why did they reward me? To reward my years as Salesian Cooperator and Past Pupil. I feel like a true Salesian Cooperator and a true past pupil of Don Bosco! I can not be one without the other. It is like the soul to the body, like day to night. This recognition belongs to all of us past pupils, the cooperators of the Salesians of Don Bosco; a significant approval for the work of the Salesian Family and a nice way to tell everyone: "You are ahead...”.

What are the most important values for you?

Those that I learned at home, in the family. My mother is a very religious woman, but of a practical religiosity, an active religiosity, where we must never forget that God is next to me through people, especially the most disadvantaged. For this reason the essential values are those of Cordiality, of Being able to listen more than to speak, of Fidelity, of Service, of Donation of oneself in service.

Do you think that the figure of Don Bosco can serve as a guide nowadays? And why? Is the presence of Salesians on Facebook or Twitter important?

«I think so. We are in the era of communication, and without a doubt Don Bosco would have used Facebook, Twitter, the Internet, even the mobile phone. Because these are the means of the boys, it is precisely these possibilities to do good, even to fight against evil, against all that is not useful to the human person.

What is, in your opinion, the central challenge we have before us?

As Past Pupils, I think it is more collaborating with Salesians. I mean, take on the task of some works with the Salesians who, with the charism and spirit of Don Bosco, can do so much, but many times because of old age or poor health they can no longer work as they would like. We children must bear the responsibility of our "spiritual parents" to guarantee a true family to so many needy children. I think it's time to work, not the one reserved for memories, to talk only about how good it was when we were students.

What elements of thought and practice should characterize a lay believer?

«I think the layman must be practical, concrete, to the imprint, do not wait, do not do many programs, as is usually done now: "A Commission that starts organizing  another Commission”… It means not being bureaucratic, but concrete. Work and pray as Don Bosco did; you can not waste time, the laity can not wait in a world that wants answers, especially from politics, economy, culture. Everything talks to the boys.

Who would you like to look like? How do you see your future?

To resemble Don Bosco. To that Don Bosco I met through many good past pupils, a friendly, loving Don Bosco, always ready to listen with his heart, understand the times and especially the times of the boys, a Don Bosco able to pray in the midst of the obstacles of the world and of life. Thinking of the future I do not see it as something bad. I think about death and for this I want to prepare myself. You know, I'd like to die in full swing, among the boys, perhaps in a courtyard, in the study, in the chapel; fall on the ground working in the style of Don Bosco. Is not it a romantic form of speaking and a concrete way of leading one's life?.


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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