First, said Fr. Á.F. Artime, "If Don Bosco had not had a missionary heart today we would be few and only in Italy. The Salesian Family in the world exists thanks to the missionary dream of our founder. We must not forget that."
He went on to emphasize that everyone, as Christians, has a duty to be missionary where they are, but some are called to a particular vocation within the Salesian vocation and we must be grateful for that. The missionary vocation is a sign of great hope for the Salesian Congregation and the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians. "We thank the Lord for the Salesian missionary vocation."
The Church was born of a courageous few; so, too, the missionaries today, says Don Bosco's 10th successor, are asked for flexibility and a lot of heart, remembering that "mission does not go along with rigidity and personal ambition." "I wish you to live a missionary life in which you do not so much have to teach people something. Instead, there is a need of fellow brothers and sisters who are able to share all that they are and communicate the most important reality we have," he hoped, then. In sharing, one receives so much and learns so much: "There is no single way of being a Salesian, men or women; a charism exists that is embodied in the diversity of cultures and people, and diversity is always a richness, even if it is not easy to live," he added further.
Responding to a question about Salesian work on behalf of the poor, he emphasized that service among the poorest of the poor is precisely the Salesian mission; thus, also among refugees who experience the poverty of those who have had to leave everything behind or among those who are alone: "Our mission is to give dignity in borderline situations." But, "like St. Peter, we have no gold or silver, but we can offer him all we have, the most precious thing: Jesus Christ!"
Reflecting, finally, on the internationality of the members of this missionary expedition, the Rector Major stressed that more and more Salesian communities will be intercultural and international: "In societies and nations where nationalism seems to be the most sacred thing, our community realities are prophetic, even if not perfect."