What was your visit to the Bolivian Province like?
I was able to visit each of the 17 Salesian communities of Santa Cruz, Sucre, La Paz and Cochabamba. I was able to converse with each of my 110 Salesian confreres, with the educators, the parish priests, the young … I was very impressed by what the Salesian presence in Bolivia represents for society. There are works of all kinds, from traditional schools, parishes, missions and oratories, to others with a strong Salesian sense, such as: the Don Bosco Project (PDB), the Don Bosco “Popular” Schools (EPDB), the Salesian University of Bolivia (USB), the Salesian Radio and Television Association of Bolivia (ARTESBOL) and the Planning and Development Office (OFPROBOL). These last are works that are not seen in the other Provinces.
What special trait could you distinguish in the Bolivia Province?
One is certainly that it is a very young Province, given that it is only about 65 years old, whereas before it was part of the Peru-Bolivia Province. It is currently in its growth and development phase, one could say that it is in its adolescence.
Another peculiarity is that little by little the number of Bolivian Salesians is increasing, gathering the legacy of Salesian missionaries coming from Italy, Spain and recently from Vietnam and Poland. Little by little we see a more Bolivian face within the Province.
Then there is a reality like ARTESBOL, unique in the whole Congregation. Of the 92 constituencies in the world, only Bolivia has seven radios: it is a treasure at the congregation level.
But the most important thing of all is the dedication of the Salesians and of the whole Salesian Family to young Bolivians.
What will happen from now on, after the report on the visit you have prepared?
I shared my report in the Assembly of the Brothers, where I cited several positive aspects and others to improve ... I suggested to the whole Province community three lines of action. In the first place, that the Salesians more radically follow the path that the Congregation asks for in our consecrated life. The second suggestion was to propose some changes in the provincial government to give greater importance to the Delegates of Social Communication, Youth Ministry, Missionary Animation and Vocational Animation. The third is to continue on the journey of reconfiguring the works, on which significant decisions shall already be made, to be more effective in the presence among young people, in missions, in parishes ...
Do you have a message for the Salesian Family?
I want the Salesian Family to go forward. We are a sleeping giant for the Church and the Bolivian society. If we did more to be united, if we lived more radically the Salesian vocation, we would certainly be better witnesses and we would help many more young people.