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Panama – “Meeting the Rector Major up close, and growing in Christ through Don Bosco”. A testimony from a SYM leader

14 February 2019

(ANS - Panama City) – “Let me tell you—life is complicated, crazy, and really surprising. During our tourist day in Panama, we bumped into the Rector Major, Fr. Ángel Fernández Artime. Earlier in the week we heard him answer questions from young people around the world along with Mother Yvonne. We ran into him later at the Salesian festival and took a group picture after greeting him. These moments were brief and enough!”

by Vicky Weekley, SYM Leader from United States

Ah, but God is funny. Sometimes when you least expect something, you might find it. Fr. Angel greeted each of our kids, asked them their names, embraced them, joked with them, and gave them the attention I think Don Bosco also would have. He was patient, present, and really impressed with Leslie’s blue hair! I cried the whole time, tearing up watching these moments. He called me a llorona (weeper), and asked me why. I told him I was just really happy.

Earlier that day we’d visited the relic of Don Bosco. A little over a year ago, I was in this same place. I had been so overwhelmed with what was coming next. This time though, I was calm and content. Before, a volunteer, but now, working every day for it. I had no idea I’d return to Panama with these kids, with the best co-worker/mentor and friend, my boss [Fr. Abe Feliciano], then meet the man who pushes us forward.

By staying with Don Bosco, I have gained much more than I could have ever imagined. I have met people, created a family, encountered endless adventure, done mission every day, learned to find God in the daily through the instrument that is Don Bosco and grown A LOT.

Pope Francis in one video speaks of our many differences, but although we are different it never stops us from being united by something greater. Young people have become the teachers of the culture of encounter; being young gives us this gift. I was reminded even more this week that the gift of the Salesian charism also gives us this gift, to unify, to love, and to carry on.

I thank Don Bosco for the many examples of his love in the Salesians whom I’ve worked with, who live the mission in their everyday work. I ask the readers of Salesian News to pray for us and the young we are entrusted with to bring to Christ.

Source: Province of St. Philip the Apostle – Canada and Eastern United States of America

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