11/15/2017, 18.11
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For Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, Fr Tom offers a missionary example for all Salesians

by Nirmala Carvalho

The rector major of the Salesians spoke about young people, the focus of the next Synod of Bishops. Salesians operate in 132 countries and are collecting the views of young people. There is a "communion of intent" between Pope Francis and Don Bosco to carry the mission to the edges of the world.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) – "The missionary example of Fr Tom is an inspiration for every Salesian,” said Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, rector major of the Salesian Congregation, and tenth successor to Don Bosco.

Speaking to AsiaNews on the sidelines of the 60th anniversary of the Don Bosco Shrine in Matunga (Mumbai), he talked about the release of his confrere and of his missionary spirit.

This spirit, he said, emerged clearly "during the press conference we organised in Rome after his release. All those present were struck by his deep feeling of faith and peace. His attitude of serenity and love touched everyone. "

Fr Tom Uzhunnalil was abducted on 4 March 2016 from the Mother Teresa Nursing Home in Aden (Yemen). Four nuns and 12 others were killed during the attack by men thought to be members of al Qaeda.

According to Fr Artime, the Salesian's trial "is an inspiration for all Salesians, not only in India but throughout the world. Our mission continues, and we recently sent 142 Salesians to Don Bosco missions around the world."

The major rector spoke about the upcoming Synod of Bishops next year, centred on ‘Young people, faith and vocational discernment’.

The Bishops’ General Assembly "is a great gift from Pope Francis,” he said. “Salesians are present in 132 countries and are collecting the views of young people” in an online questionnaire.

"For us Salesians, it is important to gather the opinions and thoughts of young people. The [results of the] survey will be presented to the Bishops' Conferences of each country.”

“Polling is a fundamental tool for understanding and interpreting the hearts of young people. It will help us in our mission and vocation to be in their service."

Salesians "are interested in the opinion of young people, [because they] can express [useful] ideas to the Church and to the faith,” Fr Artime explained.

“Pope Francis invited all of them – not only Catholics – to make their contribution, because theirs is a view from within society.”

“It is very important to understand what young people think, what excites them, how they perceive society and life. We are gathering opinions from different cultures and ethnic groups."

For Fr Artime there is "a communion of intent between the pope's mission and that of the Salesian congregation, which continues Don Bosco's mission to go to the edges of the world.”

“Our mission has always looked at the edges because the Salesians were born on the edge, on the periphery of Turin. "

Salesians "choose to work in peripheral areas on behalf of the poor and the vulnerable. We are committed to protecting the rights of minors; our priorities are education and solace. We work together with other agencies for the same cause."

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