Ecuador - Mons. Alfredo Espinoza Mateus, SDB: "We must be open to the surprises of God"

(ANS - Quito) - A few days after his public appointment as new archbishop of Quito and Primate of Ecuador, Msgr. Alfredo Espinoza Mateus, SDB, visited the Salesian Provincial House in Ecuador and gave an interview in which he spoke about his feelings and the challenges he faces in this new assignment assigned to him by Pope Francis.

How did you receive the news of the new obedience?

I was very surprised and I am convinced that we must be open to the surprises of God, as Pope Francis asks us ...

What is the biblical phrase or quotation that guides and shall guide your pastoral work?

The same that is the motto of my episcopate: "I will make you fishers of men". I believe the Lord asks me once again to lift the nets, as he asked me five years ago. It is a question of raising the nets of the Salesian boat to throw them into the great sea that is Quito and to fish trusting in Him. "In your name, Lord, I will cast the nets."

How will you carry out the Salesian charism in this new obedience?

I believe that the Salesian charism is something that one lives, that you carry within. I believe that it is the wealth that I can bring to the archdiocese of Quito in this pastoral mission. I really like the phrase of Cardinal Óscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga who says: "by obedience I am a bishop, by vocation I am a Salesian." And I will take the Salesian charism into everything I do, in joy, in closeness, in predilection for the young ... And also by watching over education and betting on the educational challenge, which is immense in the archdiocese of Quito.

The Pope asks for an outgoing Church; how will this request be expressed in the Archdiocese of Quito?

My first pastoral line, as a bishop, is precisely that of an outgoing Church; I lived these five years as a bishop of Loja by going about ... Now I will start from the south, but in all places there are difficult situations to which one needs to know how to approach. My people will have an archbishop who will not always be in his office, but who will travel between the parishes.

From your point of view, what should be the profile of today's Salesian?

I think it must be a Salesian who knows how to look at the times, who knows how to love young people and give himself for the young, who trusts them fully; a Salesian who lives with young people, walks with them, not a distant Salesian, but a nearby Salesian. Being close has always marked my life and marked my episcopate. When I arrived in Loja I said a sentence from Don Bosco: "Closeness generates affection, affection generates trust and trust opens hearts." If you are not close, the young people move away.


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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