Italy – 100 years of Salesians in Perugia: Archbishop Maffeis: "You have been models of life"

07 October 2022
Photo: Arcidiocesi di Perugia

(ANS - Perugia) - On October 2, 1922, the first Salesians arrived in Perugia and began their mission of educating and training young people, in the burgh of Porta Sant'Angelo. That is why just last Sunday, on the exact centenary of their arrival, the city's Archbishop, Msgr. Ivan Maffeis, presided over a solemn Eucharist in the church of St. Augustine, in Porta Sant'Angelo, during which he spoke words of profound esteem and great closeness toward the Sons of Don Bosco.

"In my family experience, too, the figure of Don Bosco carries with it a centenarian wave," began the Archbishop of Perugia. "Faced with a problematic situation or one that required light, strength and courage, my maternal grandparents would gather their children together to pray a novena, kneeling around a statuette of the saint; a statuette that, together with episodes from Don Bosco's life, has crossed and united generations and that today, passed on to me, is on the work table in the Curia."

"It is with this gaze that I am here to thank the Lord for your presence in Perugia: one hundred years is an important milestone, testifying to God's faithfulness and the generosity of your response. How different the City and our Church itself would be without your charism and your work: from the first activities on behalf of the needy and indigent, to which you gave life in a poor neighborhood as Porta Sant'Angelo was, to the first Oratory, the boarding school, the schools, up to the Residence for young university students, the Vocational Training Center, and the initiatives related to sports and leisure, first-rate educational and socialization areas. For all this, our gratitude embraces the priests, religious and lay people who have passed through the Salesian Houses in Perugia: you have been models of life, witnesses of Don Bosco's loving-kindness, authoritative and beloved references for so many."

Recalling the motto chosen by the local Salesian community for the celebration of the centenary year - "One hundred years of the future" - the prelate then said, "It is not only a well-chosen slogan. It is, rather, the Church's way of interpreting Tradition (...) Besides thanksgiving, this anniversary is also a reason for encouragement and hope. So many photographs on the condition of youth document distrust, insecurities, fragility, loneliness: they are there and they weigh upon us. But the medal, in fact, also has another side, and you testify to it: young people can be - and in fact are – other and more than that, too. So much more. What makes the difference is the gaze with which we approach them and accept that they have space. It is a gaze that stems from the intuition, dear to Don Bosco, that 'education is a thing of the heart and that God alone is its master and we will not be able to succeed at anything unless God teaches us the art of it and puts the keys in our hands.'"

The ceremony was followed by the affixing of two "souvenir" plaques at the entrance to the former theater and the former oratory of the original "Penna Ricci" Institute, where the Perugia ACLI club is now based.


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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