RMG – Testimonies of life from senior Salesians: Fr José Ángel Rajoy Troitiño speaks from the "Return to the Sources Course"

10 June 2024

(ANS – Rome) – The youngest participant in the "Return to the Sources Course" for elderly and long-term missionaries is 66-year-old Fr José Angel Rajoy Troitiño, born on Christmas Day 1957 in Caracas, Venezuela. However, his missionary life has continued for more than 30 years in Mozambique, a country where he has been able to find great joy through his service to young people in need, despite the difficulties and challenges that he has never lacked.

The son of Spanish immigrants, with two brothers who are now doctors and engineers, José Ángel received a first proposal for Salesian life as a youngster, but he had to face rejection from his father, who perhaps also dreamed of a prestigious professional career for him. However, the future missionary as a teenager was fascinated by Don Bosco and his Preventive System, so with other friends he founded the association Society for a Good time" in his city, and as soon as it was again possible he entered the Salesian aspirantate.

"In the process of initial Salesian formation, I had many beautiful experiences" he says today. And in the 3 years of postnovitiate I discovered all the beauty of Salesian life, thanks to a very experienced Salesian, Fr Fernando Peraza".

Also at that stage, alongside study, Fr Rajoy had his first significant pastoral experiences: with drug addicts, then in a boarding school with at-risk young people... until the Provincial of the time asked him to leave as a missionary.

Fr Rajoy accepted the proposal, went to Rome and then went to Portugal to study the language: his destination was Mozambique. The missionary recalls: “The first impact was hard: I got there while they were still in civil war. Many things, including the ‘Don Bosco’ school, had been nationalised. Only churches where we went for the celebrations were available, but not all of them, since some of them had also been nationalised and were used as meeting rooms ".

But there were some communities with a lot of faith and determination, who lived without fear. “It was with them that I began my missionary activity. And I must say that I was treated very well: in my first six years of service there I worked as a parish priest and was always treated as a son by the Mozambicans", he says.

The challenges, however, were not lacking: Fr Rajoy had difficulty sharing the mission because the Salesians were very few and different in age and origin; moreover, there was a lack of planning mentality: "In my home Province things were done by talking and planning together, but in the missions it was not possible; the very experience of community was different: in Mozambique everyone did what they considered important and necessary for the good of the recipients, but did it alone."

From 2000 to 2006 he was entrusted with the care of a presence in Moamba, where the Salesians ran a school in collaboration with the government. "This collaboration also includes training for teachers: we therefore had to activate processes to train teachers of mechanics, electricity... This is how the project of what is now a university began." This work is a success and in any case a challenge that is still ongoing, given that according to the Venezuelan Salesian it needs a clearer pastoral proposal and a strengthening of Salesian pastoral care.

The recipients of this work, to which Fr Rajoy still dedicates himself, are mostly Muslims. But integration is good: "They have no problems with the Salesian proposal, they even say that Mary is their Mother, and that she appears in the Koran."

And purposefully, the missionary concludes: "Despite the difficulties, we must thank God because it was He who gave us this university. And our task is to make this university God's home for them.” 


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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