KOLKATA, (C.M. Paul) – The Rector Major of the Salesians Fr Pascual Chavez had words of praise for the leader of the Salesian Missionary efforts in the fledgling mission commissioned in the last General Chapter (GC-26, 2008), Bangladesh.
“In Bangladesh you will meet already one novice, some pre-novices and aspirants. Fr. Francis is not only hard working Salesian, but also a mystic, prayerful man of vision,” said the Rector Major replying to a question of a missionary from West Africa province going to Bangladesh next month at a special meeting held with them yesterday, 17 September.
The young missionary was asking “how to balance between social work and evangelization” in the context of a poor country like Bangladesh. He was among the group of 45 Salesians of the 143rd Missionary group, to be commissioned on 30 September at the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians from where Don Bosco sent his first batch of missionaries to Patagonia in 1875.
“You are not to go to convert anybody, but share the joy of faith, to share your being disciples of Jesus. The New evangelization aims to communicate God’s love, a personal encounter with God,” the Rector Major reminded the missionaries.
He continued to explain, “HOW to do that… You need a great pastoral zeal, a great missionary slant and need to maintain it! Often it does happen to the missionaries that they are zealous, but sometimes after landing in the new land, the zeal is elapsed. You need to nurture your zeal, to set fire in your heart, to put your hearts on fire with the pastoral zeal!”
The Rector Major is among nine General Superiors including invited superiors of lay religious congregations (Brothers of Christian Schools, Marists and FMA Mother General) participating in the upcoming October 2012 Synod of Bishops for new evangelization.
Former Mission Councilor Fr Francis Alenchery relinquished his office in April 2008 and went as missionary to Bangladesh. The first mission in Bangladesh started at Utrail in Mymensingh diocese with two priests of Calcutta province in 2009 was canonically erected in May 2011.
Today, there are seven Salesians (4 priests and 3 scholastics in regency) working in two communities and dioceses of Bangladesh (Mymensingh and Rajshahi).