Venezuela - A land of missions that receives and sends missionaries

31 October 2017

(ANS - Caracas) - It was December 19, 1894, when the first Salesian missionaries arrived in Puerto de La Guaira. Leading that expedition was Fr Enrico Riva, pupil of Don Bosco, whose remains are today at the temple of Mary Help of Christians in Sarria, Caracas. One hundred and twenty-three years have passed and since then, Salesian missionaries have continued to make Don Bosco's dream come alive. They come from far-off lands to be "servants of God." As the Pope said, "At the origin of their mission, there is a gift: the free initiative of God's love that has addressed them with a double summons. To stand with Him and to go to preach."

If one wanted to remember the names of the missionaries who left for Venezuela in the last century, a long list would emerge; we shall only list the more recent Salesians who have departed to preach the Gospel.

  • André Ahondju, from the Democratic Republic of Congo, destined to the Salesian Mission of La Esmeralda, State of Amazonas.
  • George Harinandrasana, originally from Madagascar, serves in the Salesian house of Valera, State of Trujillo.
  • Fr Juse Do Van Dung, Vietnamese, a priest of less than a year,  sent to the Salesian center of Mavaca, State of Amazonas.

Just as Venezuela has received many Salesians, so have many others departed from Venezuela to preach the Word of God to other countries.

This is the case of Fr Mario Pérez, who serves in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

  • There is Fr Alejandro León, who after years of formation, spent several years with the indigenous Wayú and Guajiros people. Then, at 24, he was sent to Egypt to study Arabic, then finished his studies in Theology in Rome; eventually, the Middle East Provincial gave him the chance to choose his destination: he chose the Salesian centers of Aleppo and Damascus, in Syria, where for seven years he served a people suffering for the war.
  • Finally, there is the young Salesian Israel Hernández, who left just a few weeks ago, with the 148th Salesian Missionary Mission, sent to Spain.
  • The Salesians know that they are sent by God throughout the world to love, serve, preach, teach and heal people who are weaker and more vulnerable; they overcome the geographic, linguistic and cultural barriers so that everyone has the occasion to know Jesus Christ as Lord.



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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