(ANS – Port Chester) – After a meeting with the Provincial of the Eastern United States and Canada (SUE) and his Council in New Rochelle, the Rector Major, Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, completed the day of Wednesday 23 November by visiting the Salesian parish ” John Bosco” in Port Chester, near New York, to celebrate a Mass in honor of St. John Bosco for groups of the Salesian Family. It was a festive meeting full of Salesian joy, with the parish which conquered Don Á.F. Artime and the Rector Major who conquered all those present.
About 400 people from various groups of the Salesian Family in the New York area took part in the celebration: many members of the Association of Mary Help of Christians (ADMA), as well as Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (FMA) and Salesian Cooperators – without forgetting other supporters and friends of Don Bosco’s work who have also come from farther afield.
From the beginning of the Mass, Don Á.F. Artime fascinated those present with his warm and fraternal style, and at the same time the parish community fascinated the X Successor of Don Bosco for his liveliness, youthful presence and the diversity of the cultures represented – also manifested by a multilingual liturgy.
During the celebration, the Rector Major said that he had found a living and healthy Salesian charism in the United States, of which the parish of Port Chester was only the latest expression. He encouraged everyone to go and see him in Turin and to pray at Valdocco, in the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians, where Don Bosco’s remains are kept. And he said that he himself always asks Don Bosco to help him take care of his Salesian Family.
Speaking of his travels, he recalled having been to over 100 countries in the last seven years and having seen all the groups of the Salesian Family. In this way he was able to appreciate the many miracles that take place in Salesian houses: the miracles of lives transformed and saved. And from his travels she also learned to appreciate the diversity of the Christian community in the world, a diversity that has been present in the life of the Church since its beginnings.
Fr Á.F. Artime then went on to re-launch the Holy Father’s appeal for Christians to awaken the world. “Let’s start where we are – said the Rector Major -. Through our Salesian charism, we wake up bored Christians by communicating faith and kindness. We open our doors to everyone. This parish is a warm place because the hearts of its people are big”.
He then concluded his homily by wishing the Salesian Family a living faith that will sustain and edify it. “We are a Salesian Family that transmits the joy of the Risen Lord and of our closeness to Don Bosco” he concluded.
At the end of the Mass, the parish community presented a generous donation to the Rector Major for the Salesian missions in the world, and then invited him to an evening of fraternity and agape. On the occasion, the X Successor of Don Bosco offered the thought of the Salesian “goodnight”, recalling the origins of this tradition, started by the Santo dei Giovani in Valdocco, and emphasizing its characteristic nature of intimacy and recollection. Then he reminded everyone of the grace they are experiencing, that of being able to share the Salesian family spirit, something that can only be learned by living it, not through sophisticated discourses; and he concluded by observing that the Salesian Family is the largest religious family of the Catholic Church, which entails a great responsibility towards the Church, the young and the poor.
“I love you and I carry you all in my heart”, concluded the Rector Major.
Br. Mike Mendl, SDB