The testimony of Fr Lunkenbein and Simão Bororo this year is more relevant than ever;
first, for the 125th anniversary of the launch of the Salesian missionary presence in Mato Grosso, with celebrations beginning June 18th and ending in January 2019: every goal or achievement of this kind always presupposes a previous contribution of holiness.
Then, because it falls on the path of preparations for the special Synod for the Panamazzonica region much wanted by Pope Francis, scheduled in October 2019. A synod that aims to "identify new ways for the evangelization of the people of God in the areas of the great Amazon, especially of the indigenous peoples."
The figure of the indigenous catechist Simão, moreover, is also viewed as a valid example, especially in relation to the Year of the Laity promoted by the Brazilian Episcopal Conference, since it represents a Christian model "who was able to assume his vocation with evangelical rootedness, had the experience of inculturation of the Gospel in his life, witnessed his faith in Jesus Christ and shared the joy of the Gospel with his people and the missionaries."
And finally, the model of these two martyrs is also a concrete starting point for the guiding theme of the next 28th General Chapter: "What kind of Salesians for today's young people?"
"Fr Rodolfo and Simão," continues Fr Mendes in his letter, "were testimony to a faith in the Risen they lived in their daily service, in fraternal contact with people, in work, in the preaching of the Word and in catechesis, in ordinary prayer, in their love for Our Lady, in joy and in their evangelical commitment to the indigenous cause. In celebrating the 42 years of the martyrdom of Fr Rodolfo and Simão Bororo, we have many reasons to thank God for the gift of holiness in the Church and in the Salesian Congregation."