By Fr. Vester Casaclang, SDB
Muntinlupa City, Philippines, 5 March 2016 - After coming from the Salesian Family Mass and meeting in Makati City, the Rector Major proceeded to Tuloy Sa Don Bosco Street Children Village in Muntinlupa City.
Kids from difficult situations cared for at the Tuloy sa Don Bosco, touched a very sensitive chord in the heart of the Rector Major, Fr. Ángel Fernández Artime. He was noticeably moved not so much by pity for their woundedness but for the wonderful transformation that is bringing out the best possibilities in them.
The flag waving kids greeted the successor of Don Bosco with ecstatic shouts of “Viva Don Bosco!” They sang him songs, presented him dances and at the altar of the Chapel of the Forgiving Lord, prayed over him with a very touching song. No one who witnessed the affair remained composed. The kids spontaneously threw their arms around the Rector Major. In his rounds of the playgrounds, the Rector Major did not at all mind the sweaty and soiled embraces of the football teams. He was actually wearing a very expensive Barong Tagalog given to him earlier in the afternoon by the Salesian Family. Will it be too much to say that in embracing him the kids by extension embraced the whole Salesian Family – St. John Bosco Today?
Throughout his short stay he kept on gesturing with the ‘okay’ sign now more popularly known as ‘like.’ “Its been a long while since I last saw so many brilliant smiles from the faces of young people” he said. “Wherever I go in the future, I promise to talk about the beautiful things I have seen here” he continued as he spoke in Italian. Translations were done by Fr. Rocky Evanelista, the founding father and moving champion of the center. He too struggled to hold his emotions as the words of the Rector Major brought confirmation of the movements of God’s hand.
There was so much for the soul to feast on in that very short event. But then there was also something for the body. Amazingly, even if dinner was so professionally prepared by their center in a catered way, the meal remained as all family meals should be - warm and life giving.