RMG – Thanksgiving celebration for the Rector Major 2024: 10 years of gratitude to the 10th Successor of Don Bosco, Card. Ángel Fernández Artime, SDB

24 June 2024

(ANS – Rome) – On Monday, 24 June 2024, the traditional Feast of Thanksgiving for Don Bosco and his Successors at the head of the Salesian Congregation was renewed for the 154th time. The celebration came about spontaneously on 24 June 1870, the feast of the Nativity of St John the Baptist – considered to be the namesake feast of St John Bosco – with gestures of gratitude from the first past pupils of the Oratory at Valdocco, who wanted to show their affection to their Father, Teacher and Friend, with homages and symbolic gestures.

The Salesian Feast of Thanksgiving has taken on its own characteristics over the years and has become the annual opportunity to pay solemn tribute to those who spend all their time and resources to guide and animate the Congregation and the Salesian Family, and thus embodies in his own person the mission of Don Bosco to love, educate and evangelise young people.

Thanksgiving 2024 has its obvious special features that make it even more special than usual: first of all, it returns to being celebrated in Rome after two years of celebrations in Turin because of the work that has involved – and in part still involves – Salesian Headquarters.

Secondly, and even more so, because it represents the last Feast of Thanksgiving for Ángel Fernández Artime, 10th Successor of Don Bosco, Rector Major of the Salesian Congregation since March 2014 and created Cardinal in September 2023, who from  August will receive a new assignment from the Holy Father Pope Francis.

Card. Fernández Artime also wanted to highlight some reasons that make this Thanksgiving celebration special. “First, after these intense 10 years in my term of office, I have always considered that this celebration is not just to say thank you to me. I have also wanted to say  THANK YOU to YOU: to the Congregation and to the Salesian Family for all the collaboration, commitment, trust and dedication you have shown to me and to the mission of Don Bosco, and for the many miracles that have been achieved in the daily life of so many young people",  the Rector Major said.

He also said, "Another thought that arises spontaneously when I think of this feast, is how it is an example of Salesian joy, a typical tradition of ours, which does not exist for all Congregations, but which breathes the climate of genuine collaboration typical of the movement originated by Don Bosco. This feast speaks to us of the closeness and shared responsibility of so many people towards the Congregation and even more towards the Salesian charism."

Finally, Card. Fernández Artime, Titular Archbishop of Ursona, addressed a special and specific thought to the Past Pupils of Don Bosco, who  celebrate the anniversary of their foundation on this same date. "With their gift of coffee cups to Don Bosco, Carlo Gastini and the other Valdocco past pupils not only paid homage to him, but gave life to a tradition that has become a legacy. For this reason, as heir of Don Bosco, I express my great affection for all the Past Pupils and Friends of Don Bosco around the world: in many circumstances and countries they are the right hand of us Salesians and they constantly cooperate in the mission. It is certainly thanks to many of them that so many plans and projects of Don Bosco and his Successors have been achieved!"

With this climate of mutual affection, the celebration of the Feast of Thanksgiving 2024 began in the afternoon of 24 June, with the Salesian Headquarters community gathering at the Catacombs of San Tarcisio to celebrate the Eucharist together – presided over by the Rector Major – and to share the next moment of celebration, during which, in addition to Card. Fernández Artime, also several Sons of Don Bosco in the community will be honoured as they celebrate their jubilee anniversaries of 50, 70 and 80 years of religious profession, and 25, 50 and 75 years of their priestly ordination respectively.


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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