Israel – "Formative Experience in Holy Land": meeting Jesus in His home, His land, through His Word

06 September 2019

(ANS - Jerusalem) - The wonderful and thrilling "Formative Experience in the Holy Land" (EFTS), which took place from 11 to 23 August, has come to an end. It was led by Fr Juan José José Bartolomé and Fr Francisco Enríquez de Zulaica, and saw the participation of 37 Salesians from all over the Hispanic world. It was a necessary experience for the Salesians and a proposal that comes from the Formation Department and is supported by the Salesian community of Ratisbonne, in particular by Fr Matteo Balla, SDB.

The Salesian Constitutions declare that "our most eminent science is to know Jesus Christ." And this experience in the places where Jesus Christ walked more than two thousand years ago "appeared in this moment of my life," said Fr Alberto Sandoval, from Mexico, "in a convenient and necessary way. I consider it as a grace from God. I had moments of profound encounter with God in the places where He lived."

During the 13 days of the experience, the daily activities were divided into two moments. In the morning, the significant and meaningful places of Jesus' life and ministry were visited with evocative Eucharisties celebrated in different places. In the afternoon, supported by Gospel texts, and through prayer, participants reflected on the "mystery" of Jesus in relation to the location visited.

"It was a timely moment for my life, especially in this moment in which I find myself, seized by a whirlwind of work and pastoral tasks that consume energy. I returned to the places of Jesus to focus on who is the reason for my life: Jesus," said Fr José Luis Villota, from Spain. For José Manuel Gonzales, also of Spain, these days "have been a grace of God. After this experience, the Word of God that we read every day is totally different."

The meeting's 37 participants, coming from Spain, Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia, Italy, Mexico, Portugal, Chile  and Peru, were welcomed into the Community of the Monastery of Ratisbonne, where a community of formators welcomes the students of Theology.

Fr Luis Chamizo, a Salesian missionary in Bolivia, who at 86 years of age showed great vitality in walking the paths of Jesus, affirmed categorically: "This meeting is ideal for all Salesians, but at the same time indispensable. We must all do it one day or another in our lives. We must fill ourselves with God to be able to transmit it."

In the words of Fr Alexandre L. de Oliveira, from Brazil, it was "an encounter with the very Word of God, and an opportunity for spiritual renewal."

These days, Fr Bartolomé summarized, "want to awaken and maintain a personal and profound experience with the Salesians who follow Jesus. It is an experience of formation with which it is hoped that all participants meet Jesus Christ in His home, in His land and through His Word."


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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