Dear Salesian Family, Salesian Young People, and Friends:
You were in my thoughts and prayers on the Feast of St. John Bosco on January 31. As for me, I finished the Provincial Visitation of Corpus Christi Church in the morning and then went to Salesian College Preparatory in Richmond to preside at the School’s Don Bosco Day liturgical celebration. It was a privilege and an honor to return and be with the young people and the Salesian community, especially in a place near and dear to my heart. I spent many years of my life there as a Salesian and have plenty of fond memories as a member of the Salesian community, a teacher, an administrator and a colleague. From what I have heard and seen on social media, many of the other Salesian sites throughout the Province and world-wide also had celebrations honoring St. John Bosco, the Father and Teacher of Youth. Literally tens of thousands of young people were celebrating their love for Don Bosco.
Celebration can take many forms. And over the years I have experienced many different and beautiful traditions in the celebration of Don Bosco Day. One of the ingredients to these celebrations is the Salesian Family spirit of joy and optimism. But another ingredient, and perhaps the most important ingredient, is the powerful presence of God. The experience of prayer, especially in the Eucharist, brings the celebration to a whole new level. A celebration, in the context of the presence of God, sanctifies and enhances the sacredness of everything we do.
During the first week of January, the Rector Major, Fr. Angel Fernandez Artime, wrote a letter to the friends and readers of the Salesian Bulletin of Don Bosco. He writes that “in the face-to-face encounter with the real life of so many people – fathers, mothers, families, adolescents, and young adults – what one very often finds is a life that is not easy and must be tended to daily. Human relationships in which love is both desired and necessary must be cultivated in every little gesture, every little detail, and every action. Face to face like that, there is a great need to listen, to dialogue freely and candidly, to have personal encounters free of judgment and condemnation, as well as a great need for silence and presence in God.”
I invite you to reflect with me these words of the Rector Major. I believe he is giving us a path to cultivate our daily relationships. Read and pray these words, with the hope that we can take the steps we need to be better in our relationship with God and with others.
These next few days I will be in Orange, New Jersey, to visit the Post-Novices and to participate in the Post-Novitiate Curatorium. Then on February 8 I will begin the Provincial Visitation of the Salesian community and ministry in Richmond.
Sincerely in Christ and in Mary,