Cebu, Philippines, 9 March 2016 - In his maiden visit to the Philippine South Province (FIS) on March 9, 2016, the Rector Major, Fr. Angel Fernandez Artime, SDB first set foot in the island of Negros to visit Don Bosco Technical Institute in Victorias. This was the first Salesian educational institution founded in 1951. The school is located 34 kilometers away from Bacolod City, Negros Occidental. His secretary, Fr. Horacio Lopez and Fr. Godofredo Atienza, FIS Provincial, accompanied him as the Salesians, their Lay Mission Partners and young people welcomed him with great joy.
After visiting Cambodia, Laos and Thailand, the Rector Major is now in the Philippines. His visit to the Philippine North Province included a 2-day meeting with the Provincials of the East-Asia Ocenia Region. He left Negros Occidental in the afternoon and arrived in Cebu after 11 days of travel. Having been elected by the 27th General Chapter on March 25, 2014, he is the center of unity of the Salesian Family. This task of animating and promoting the fraternal union of all the members have brought him so far to 43 countries in two years.
Arriving at Mactan International Airport at past five in the afternoon, Fr. Angel was fetched by well-wishers and brought to Don Bosco Formation Center in Lawaan, Talisay City. He was warmly welcomed by the Community which included the Salesian Cooperators. A short visit at the Chapel marked his arrival after which the Community ushered him to the Refectory where the Brass Band played at the entrance. He felt the profound sense of family as he was treated with good food, welcomed by a heart-warming speech, presented with a meaningful painting and offered with beautiful songs.
In his “Good Night,” he thanked everyone for the fraternal welcome. He shared that his heart beats strongly out of the need to say that we have a special gift, the Salesian Charism, which we all share. We call this the family spirit which we should never lose because it comes from Don Bosco. It began more than 150 year ago. This reality is not only alive but is moving forward. He says this after visiting so many countries where the mission of preferential love for the youth especially the poorer ones is greater even in places living in different culture and environment. He ends by challenging the young aspirants and novices that “we have a congregation very much alive in the world. We have a wonderful Salesian Family for which we always give thanks to the Lord.”