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The Rector Major was given an affectionate welcome by the Don Bosco Aspirantate community under the guidance of Fr. Alphonse Philip SDB the Rector of the community along with Fr. Pathiaraj Rayappan SDB the Novice Master, the Pre-Novitiate Rector Fr. Savariannan Soosai SDB of the Tiruchy Province (INT), Fr. John Alexander SDB the Rector of Don Bosco Centre Yellagiri and the Sisters of St. Charles Borromeo. The Rector Major made this exclusive visit to address our young formees who are in the initial formation. The gathering consisted of 28 Aspirants, 25 Pre-Novices and 21 Novices.
Beginning his discourse, the Rector Major said that God loves young people very much but calls only a few. It could also be taken as a sign that God loves our Congregation abundantly by sending us vocations. He added that the Congregation during the time of Don Bosco was still struggling for vocations, yet he managed to send a good number of missionaries to Argentina and at the time of his death there were only 754 which is four times less than the present time. The Rector Major was very happy seeing the vibrant young souls aspiring to be Salesians. He said that when a Salesian begins to work for the young, he also transmits the presence of God in his heart to others. Therefore, he xpressed that intense formation should be given to our formees as they enter the Salesian vineyard.
The Rector Major then explained the core theme of the General Chapter: “What kind of Salesians for the Youth of today? He said that we should possess the heart of Don Bosco and it is possible only if we are consecrated to God. He added that Don Bosco was clear of his call to serve the young and he chose only to live for young people and not for a comfortable lifestyle. He asked us to be sincere and to be with great honesty in-order to be clear of what one wants. Hence, the formee should not be afraid to express himself to the Superior who will guide him with goodness. He warned that if one fails to do so, the individual will reach a stage of unhappiness in the long run. Living joyfully is important and with a heart filled with peace and joy. Therefore, he requested the young formees to be sincere to heir call for one cannot live a life of lies.
The Rector Major then encouraged the Congregation to have novices like in the time of Don Bosco which will ensure a bright future for the Congregation. He said that he himself came from a simple background hence one should be ready to work and should have the predisposition to work for the poor as this is imperative. Just as trees go deeper and deeper with age, a Salesian should also grow deeper in his God experience, so as to escape the drought in the form of temptations. He also observed that joy and happiness are very essential traits of the Salesian.
The Successor of Don Bosco said that one should be ready to work anywhere where there is real need and to be always obedient. The missionary vocation may not be for all as God plants the missionary seed only in some. Don Bosco asked his missionaries to write back their experience so that it would create enthusiasm in the heart of boys. Today, more than ever before, he said that the missionary needs of the world are quite high. He reminded all present that one should not forget our INM Salesian history - we are here because of the great missionaries! The Salesian Congregation in India is growing to almost 3000 because of the faith of the people but also because of the seeds planted in their minds by the missionaries. Hence, it is our duty to give back a hundredfold what we have received so generously in the past.
At the end, the Rector Major allotted time for an interactive session with the formees, during which he answered questions with abundant delight and enthusiasm. He then concluded the conference with a prayer, imploring God’s blessing on all those present.