On Wednesday afternoon, the Rector Major travelled from Bolton to Bollington, Cheshire, where he met with the Salesian community at Savio House, the youth retreat centre, before joining the retreat team volunteers and members of Salesian Youth Ministry to hear about current work and future plans.
The young adults present provided the music at an intimate Mass in the community chapel, and the evening continued with a delicious dinner, and much friendly conversation and laughter. Everyone was delighted when Fr Ángel and Fr Horacio played and sang after dinner, teaching the choruses to some Spanish songs, and we took the opportunity to entertain honoured guests in return, as the Provincial, Fr Gerry O’Briody, led all in a rousing rendition of ‘The Wild Rover’, a well-known folk song from the British Isles, and of course, a couple of hits from The Beatles and Oasis.
Fr Ángel presented Sue McDonald, Salesian Youth Ministry Animator, with a gift to thank her for translating during his visit and for the work she does in the Province, expressing gratitude for ‘your Salesian heart’.
The gathering closed with evening prayer. The Rector Major taught a hauntingly beautiful Portuguese chant to the Virgin Mary, composed by a Salesian, and the day ended by calling on Our Lady’s help and protection, as Don Bosco always did.
On Thursday, Fr Ángel was at Salesian School in Chertsey, Surrey. The school celebrated its centenary in the summer, and during his visit, the Rector Major blessed and officially opened the Centenary Hall.
From there, he went to Royal Holloway, University of London, where he was shown around the buildings and the spectacular chapel by Fr John Dickson SDB, Rector of the Chertsey community, who is also the Catholic Chaplain at the university. Fr Ángel then met students and staff for afternoon tea.
Thursday evening saw him back at Chertsey for dinner with the community, and the headteacher and governors of Salesian School, before celebrating the Eucharist with parishioners and Salesian Cooperators at St Anne's parish, and chatting to everyone over coffee afterwards.
Father Ángel’s busy schedule in our Province continues today in Farnborough, Hampshire.