Dear friends and confreres,
Just few hours ago here in Tiruchy we concluded the three months long extraordinary visitation of this moth southern Indian province. It was a wonderful experience to know personally the heart and soul of 220+ mostly young Salesians in their daily life. Even now almost half of the confreres are still in initial formation and average age is only 35 years. What is the secret of this growth, enthusiasm and joyful life style?
Tiruchy province was launched in 1999 with the following motto: To bring those at the periphery to the center! Exactly the same movement, like Pope Francis!
It was an exciting experience to visit during past three months many rural parishes and dozens of small substations in the villages or coastal places of Tamil Nadu. Our Salesians are living really very simple life and serving really very poor people. Many of them also belong to the ‘scheduled castes’ (Dalit – Untouchables) and are marginalized also today.
How do the Salesians witness to the Gospel of Jesus? Their out-reaching capacity is marvelous. Also in many villages with majority of other faith people (Hindu or Muslims) we organize youth groups (serving the village), empower women self-help groups with livelihood activity and accompany children parliaments which help the children and youth take responsibility about the common good.
During past three month I have asked hundreds of times: What fills your heart with deep joy? Indeed the Salesian joy comes from journeying with the poor, when we make difference in their life with education – from the evening school in small rooms, up to the College education for the first generations of boys and girls from some rural areas.
In many of the small Christian communities based in the villages I discovered the heart of Pope Francis. Indeed some of those people daily watch him on the local Catholic TV channel and are very encouraged in their struggles. The joy of poor people is contagious!
Again we start the month of Mary – the month of May. Like in Cana, also today She shows us the way how to discover the needs: ‘There is now wine!’ Let us go out of our comfort zone, to reach those young people who are most in need.
Mary, Help of All People! She is invoked among people of many religions. She is also today true Mother of all. Wish you a fruitful month of May, month of an open heart!
In Don Bosco
Fr. Václav Klement, SDB
EAO Regional councillor