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Rector Major Urges Novices To 'Shun' Individualism And Promote Fraternity

By BIS Correspondent
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Mumbai, Mar. 26. Father Angel Fernandez Artime, the 10th successor of Don Bosco, while meeting 10 novices from the Nashik-based Salesian Training Institute at the Don Bosco Provincial House in Matunga on March 25, urged them to 'shun' individualism and promote fraternity.
A meeting with novices, the Salesian Family, a Salesian parish, and school were all on Father Artime's agenda on day three of his pastoral visit to the Province of Saint Francis Xavier.

While addressing the novices, who were present with their novice master, Father Kenneth Pereira, the Rector Major urged them to always remember three important points. ''First, our primary identity is that of persons consecrated by God. It is He who has called and consecrated us to Himself,'' he said.

''Second, you are here in order to become Salesians and not just priests. If you have joined simply with the desire of becoming priests, it would be better to find a bishop who will accept you into his diocese.''

''Third, the most powerful witness that we can offer the world in the witness of our fraternity....the 'family spirit' in which we live together. This is more glaring and evident than the witness of our vows which are largely personal and private. Therefore shun all the individualism and promote fraternity.''

The Rector Major then steered the novices away from being overly ambitious, saying, ''Your overriding desire should be to serve the young, especially the poorest and the neediest of them.''

Alfred Menezes, a novice who met the Rector Major reflected on his meeting, saying, ''The meeting with Father Angel was refreshing. We were pleasantly surprised by his open and welcoming attitude. We could feel his love and concern and we all felt immediately at home with him. He gave us an insightful talk through which we learnt much about Salesian life.''

Shaun Fernandes, a novice from the Province of Panjim, added, ''Meeting the Rector Major is an unforgettable experience. What touched me was Father Angel's humility, love, joy, and most of all his warm and loving hug. Just like Don Bosco, he assured us that he would always be there for us.''

The Rector Major then met the office bearers of the various units of the Salesian Family at the Provincial House. The Delegate of the Salesian Family, Father Diego Nunes welcomed the Rector Major and the dignitaries.  He read a report outlining the various activities of the Salesian Family in the province.

The report mentioned the province has 160 Cooperators; 15 past pupil units mainly consisting of people of other faith committed to the vision of Don Bosco; ADMA, a group dedicated to the devotion of Mother Mary with 60 members. ''I am indeed happy to meet our Rector Major with our Salesian Family members, meeting the Rector Major is indeed a moment of grace '' said Father Nunes.

The Rector Major in his address to the Salesian Family spoke about how Don Bosco formed various associations of ADMA and Cooperators. The formation of past pupils emerged on its own and he said that it was incorporated on June 24 by Don Rinaldi.

''We are all mediators of peace and we should spread the spirituality so that others can see our witness,'' Father Artime said.

He then visited St. Joseph High School, a Salesian school in Wadala. After meeting the school staff, management and students, he attended a cultural programme. He then celebrated the Holy Eucharist on the occasion of the Feast of Annunciation at the Salesian parish of Our Lady of Dolours in Wadala. Father Vivian D'Souza, the Parish Priest, gave a brief history of the parish and thanked the Rector Major for gracing the parish with his presence.

In his homily, Father Artime encouraged the parishioners, like Mother Mary, to say 'yes' to God. ''The feast we are celebrating today (Feast of Annunciation) is beautiful. God himself is asking permission from Mother Mary,'' he said, adding, ''So the message that God seems to be giving is today is this: if we say yes to what God wants in our life, He will never go wrong...we will never go wrong.''

''Every Christian man, woman or child has to ask God this question: what do you want of me? Whenever we say yes to Jesus in faith, we cannot go wrong. I pray that God may bless you.''
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