by Fr Piotr Wolny, SDB
A group of students and the educational community warmly welcomed Fr Á.F. Artime upon his arrival at Rabat airport, along with the Archbishop of Rabat, Salesian Msgr. Cristóbal López.
On this visit, which lasts three days and represents the first time a Rector Major visits Morocco, Fr Á.F. Artime is accompanied by Fr Horacio López, his Secretary, by FRB Provincial, Fr Daniel Federspiel, and by Salesians Fr Jean Noël Charmoille and Fr Piotr Wolny, specially arrived in Morocco to live and experience this event with the local community.
On arriving in Kenitra, the X Successor of Don Bosco had first a moment of fraternity with the Salesian community.
Then, in the evening, he presided at Mass for the faithful of the parish of Christ the King. In his welcome speech, Fr José Antonio Vega, SDB, Director of the Salesian community, recalled that the Salesians, present in Casablanca since 1929, were invited to settle in Kenitra in 1937 to take care of the parish, then very active thanks to the participation of thousands of Christians. Historical events subsequently determined the departure of foreigners, so that the parish became less important over time. Since 2000, however, the Moroccan government has gradually welcomed students from sub-Saharan Africa and the number of Christians has begun to increase. Today the parish is a Christian community that welcomes faithful from almost 30 countries and over 100 Christians participate at Mass every Sunday.
In the homily, the Rector Major greeted with affection the presence of these young Christians in Morocco, who grow as persons and in faith in contact with the Salesian charism. He recalled how important faith is and how important it is to share it with others. "It is she who makes us live," said the Rector Major, adding that "it is the risen Christ who accompanies us in our daily life."
The day of welcome ended with a convivial dinner with the representatives of the Kenitra center schools, who expressed their joy at being involved and embraced "by Don Bosco". Some of them also gave their personal testimony of the path taken with the Salesians.
For this reason the Rector Major emphasized the importance of the family atmosphere and expressed his astonishment and admiration in seeing the same spirit of Valdocco among the people who animate the house of Kenitra.
Photos of the visit are available on ANSFlickr