St Mary's, Western Sydney, Australia, 24 April 2023 -- The third day of Rector-Major Fr Ángel Fernández Artime’s visit to Australia saw him travel to St Mary’s an extremely diverse suburb located 45km west of Sydney’s CBD.
There, the day begun with Mass in the parish church of Our Lady of the Rosary, where the Rector-Major concelebrated with Regional Councillor Fr Joseph Nguyen Thinh Phuoc, provincial Fr Will Matthews, Fr Frank Bertignolli (who by now had earned the title ‘personal translator’, Fr Brendan Murphy (acting-rector) and newly ordained Salesians, Fr Jeff Miller and Fr Joseph Hướng.
Following the theme of the story of the disciples on the road to Emmaus, Fr Ángel spoke of his own personal journey, visiting Salesians all around the globe. He mentioned how only one of the two apostles were named by the evangelist Luke so that all believers may slip into the shoes of the apostle, walking alongside Jesus throughout their life’s journey.
After Mass, the congregation moved across the road to the Don Bosco Youth Centre, to celebrate the 100 years of Salesian presence in Australia and 30 years presence in the suburb of St Mary’s with parish members and regular patrons of the Youth Centre community.
Several hundred people took part in a great banquet, as the squeals of joy and laughter from young people playing basketball or jumping on the trampolines could be heard around the great hall.
After a few quick speeches, entertainment begun through a song led by the local youth group choir, to the applause of many. Fr Jeff then explained that breakdancing was being introduced into the next Olympics and the team that Australia would be sending performed, to the great delight of the gathered crowds, wowed by the feats of physical strength and agility.
Ever the musician, Fr Ángel soon found a guitar in hand, and calling up the young people for a dance, led them over the course of a couple of songs, bringing smiles to the faces of everyone present. It was then time to cut the cake; and of course this was responsibility was given to the guests of honour – the Rector Major and a contingent of young people!
After a few more musical acts, the festivities drew to a close, and with them, the Rector-Major’s time in Sydney. He now travels to Melbourne, to continue celebrating the Centenary of Australian Salesianity with even more members of Don Bosco’s great family!