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Rector Major: ''Education is a wonderful garment that will give young people a future''

By Father Joaquim Lobo
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Mumbai, Apr. 2. Goa: The long-awaited visit of the X Successor of Don Bosco, Father Angel Fernandez Artime, to the Salesian Provincials of India-Panjim is matching the high expectations of the local Salesian Family. On his journey of knowledge and animation to the various Salesian houses, the Rector Major is bringing enthusiasm and words of orientation to current challenges.
On Friday 29 March, Father A.F. Artime visited the ''Don Bosco'' educational institute in Panjim. Welcomed with great joy and affection, he reciprocated by offering important prompts to all: to the students he suggested they make the most of their time at the Salesian Institute and in the future to continue to contribute to the good of the nation and of humanity; to the teachers, he expressed his gratitude for sowing something beautiful in the hearts of their students every day;  he reminded the Salesians and staff that all together it is possible to fulfill the great dream of Don Bosco.

Subsequently, the Successor of Don Bosco continued his visit by celebrating the Eucharist with his confreres and then meeting with them for a moment of fraternal dialogue.

Lunch time was also significant: during the fraternal agape, in the presence of numerous members of the local Salesian Family, the Rector Major got to know also the Chief Minister of the State of Goa, Shri. Pramod Sawant, accompanied by other ministers and Indian authorities.

In the afternoon, he then visited the ''Auxilium Caranzalem'' center of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians: honored with flowers and songs on his arrival, he encouraged the religious in their service for the young, the poor and the marginalized. Before leaving for the provincial center, there was still time for a moment of authentic fraternity around tea, with songs and a frank and sincere dialogue.

Saturday, 30 March, began with a visit to Don Bosco, Pinguli and continued with the inauguration of the Don Bosco Prenovitiate at Loutolim. Then the X Successor of Don Bosco animated a large party of young people at the Faculty of Engineering of the Don Bosco Institute in Fatorda; he answered the students' questions, saw them perform, danced with them and was available for all photo and selfie requests.

During the afternoon, accompanied by the Provincial of Panjim, Father Felix Fernandes, he met with journalists for a press conference. He explained that he is trying to visit the Salesians throughout the world to make his paternal presence felt, and that so far he has visited 87 countries of the 134 that welcome Don Bosco's spiritual Sons.

He also said he was in India for the fourth time, calling it ''a very diverse, rich and wonderful country, like a continent with 26 different languages.''

''The Salesians who have been working here for over 40 years have seen enormous changes,'' he continued, but stressed that there are still strong contrasts, which is a challenge for India and beyond.

''Education is a wonderful suit (or dress) that will give young people a future,'' he added, also stressing that it develops peace and counteracts terrorism, and that 70% of Salesian pupils in India are non-Christians.

Finally, he also addressed the problem of drugs, a problem of global significance, against which the Salesians fight with their traditional weapons: prevention and education.

Father A. F. Artime finally concluded the day by concelebrating the Eucharist in the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima, in Panjim, together with the Archbishop of Goa and Daman, Msgr. Filipe Neri Ferrao, and the Bishop of Sindhudurg, Msgr. Alwyn Barreto.
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