Canonization of Bro. Zatti: We are a Family and a School of Saints

By Fr. Alejandro Rodriguez, SDB

During the Canonization of Bro. Artemide Zatti, I could not help, but focused attentively on the person who received the miracle through Bro. Zatti’s intercession.  Mr. Renato Narvaez did not say a single word in public and yet for me, he was a clear testimony of the presence of God, who continues to pour out—bursting forth—make visible, His love in the world, our current time in history, and in our everyday life.  God continues to transform everything with His love.  Mr. Narvaez’s presence is a sign that something extraordinary—a miracle has taken place and continues to take place in his life.  His miracle healing was not only for him, but also for others to see, witness, and believe.

This reality made me think of my consecration as a Salesian—I am called to be a sign and bearer of God’s love to young people. It is interesting to note that the name “Renato,” in English means to be born again.  To be a bearer and testimony of a Divine action means that one’s whole life is transformed and made new again, and in the Salesian context, we are transformed and renewed as living Don Bosco’s for our educative-pastoral communities.  When we understand ourselves as a sign of God’s love, our mere presence is already a window that connects with the Divine. We become a Salesian presence that recognizes ourselves as a sacrament and manifestation of God’s love, compassion, and joy.

The Canonization of Bro. Zatti brings an intense educational load of opportunities and responsibilities for those of us who are educators.  We (as the Salesian Family), are a family and a school of saints. The holiness of our founder and father, Don Bosco transpires in our DNA as Salesians. Our words and actions should point to who we are, and what our mission is about.  In being educators-pastors, the educative-pastoral intentionality of holiness as an apostolate, should be clearly shown.  

We care pastorally for young people because we are convinced that they are called to be saints and are capable of it.  We educate young people to a path of continuous dialogue with God in daily life—by living a life full of joy and love through God, with God, and in God.  We are educators-pastors, we are called to be living signs of God’s action in our lives and to be carriers of the miraculous force of love that becomes incarnate.  We become gift for others—making us a sacrament of presence, of God’s love.

I am grateful for the opportunity to be present at the Canonization of Bro. Zatti.  This experience makes me think of the prophetic power of the Church that knows herself to be holy by the action of the Holy Spirit working within her and she proclaims this holiness gracefully and openly through her sons and daughters elevated to the Altar of the Lord.  Participating in the Canonization invites me to renew my commitment to be what I am called to be. Participating in the Canonization makes me also repeat, “I believe in Don Bosco, I love Don Bosco, I follow Don Bosco, I want to be like Don Bosco.”  Bro. Artemide Zatti believed in Don Bosco, embraced him, incarnated him and now he is officially a saint. Bro. Zatti was a Salesian brother who professed the Constitutions that we have professed; who lived in the continent where we currently live; who was an immigrant like many of us today, or our parents or grandparents were.  He was a coadjutor brother who lived out the life project of the Salesians of Don Bosco to the fullest, that is “to be signs and bearers of God’s love for the young, especially those most in need.”