by Fr Manolo Cayo,
Provincial of Peru
When in 1868 Don Bosco sent Fr Michele Rua as the first Director of a house, he gave him a letter with a series of suggestions. The first piece of advice was "Let nothing upset you". It is the beginning of a beautiful prayer of Saint Teresa of Avila, which ends with the phrase "God alone suffices." And this is precisely the first and most luminous of the lessons that Fr Ugo leaves us: God alone! How many times have we heard him repeat that inspirational motto! ... "Do not forget: only God!" It was his will.
Love for Don Bosco the oratory
A second lesson comes from his love for Don Bosco and for the oratory. In one of the many journalistic services dedicated to him, he said: "You talk to me about Don Bosco and I open my eyes, smile ... Because he is my father! To follow Don Bosco is to follow the young; it is to go where young people go." All this translated into a constant oratorian passion. The then archbishop of Milan, mgr. Giovanni Battista Montini (now St. Paul VI), urged the Salesians to work in the Arese juvenile prison. "The years of Arese," said Fr Ugo, "were hard, demanding and beautiful, a true school of the oratorian spirit, where I discovered even more all its possibilities and riches."
Capacity of Attraction
The origin and development of the Operation Mato Grosso reveals his third lesson, which is his ability to attract, gather, to have people work side by side with the laity, to generate an experience of communion and free and generous service, and indeed he attracted many young people in what the missionary-oratorian project. He was able to coordinate without imposing, accompanying without manipulating, offering everyone the opportunity to make their own contribution in a global project and at the service of the least privileged, starting from different fields and backgrounds.
Always allow yourself to be called by the cry of the poorest
Almost ten years after the beginning of this experience, in 1976, Fr Ugo needed a little rest, a place where he could live his pastoral work among the poorest. That's how he came to Chacas, Peru. He thought he could spend a few quiet years, retired by now. But when he arrived, struck by the poverty and forgetfulness of which those people were victims, his heart reacted once again with an active and enterprising compassion.
Dear Father Ugo, from the Shrine of "Mamá Auxiliadora" in Lima - that your children have embellished so well - now begins a pilgrimage to the house of "Mamá Ashu" (as the Madonna to Chacas is called, ed.) where you shall be buried. .. And from Chacas, you will continue to invite us to confide, to risk and live driven by the devout, crazy and creative heart of the good shepherd, in the Salesian style.