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United in prayer with the 36 new Salesian missionaries
of 150th expedition

By Fr. Arvin Abatayo, SDB (FIS)
EAO Regional Coordinator for Missionary Animation

Turin, Italy, 24 September 2019 -- It's incredible, from the memorable 11th November 1875 already more than 11,000 Salesians have been sent on missio ad gentes from the Mary Help of Christians Basilica at Valdocco. For the past 30 years, the date has been fixed for the last Sunday of September, this year on next Sunday the 29th. The 10th successor of Don Bosco will celebrate the send-off Eucharist at 11 a.m. in the presence of many 'missionary receiving' provincials, Salesian Youth Movement, Salesian missionary volunteers and many Salesian Family members coming for this occasion.

Looking at the 'missionary' overview (10,4000 names on the list) since the time of Don Bosco we might be surprised by the largest Salesian Missionary Expedition in 1929, during the time of Blessed Philip Rinaldi (3rd successor of DB) who on that occasion sent out no less than 374 new missionaries - probably inspired by the Beatification events of our Father and Founder. Yes, we are indeed a 'missionary Congregation', with the 100 year history of missionary aspirantates (Ivrea, 1922 was open first near Turin) and we treasure the memory of thousands of really young missionaries who left their homelands (mainly in Europe) at the 15-16 years of age. Such is the trust of Don Bosco in the young!

During this last week of the new missionary formation course, the 36 new missionaries (including one 81 year-young retired Salesian bishop!) spent their time on pilgrimage in the holy places of Don Bosco. You would enjoy the group photos from Genoa (sea-port from where the first SDB missionaries took the ship towards Argentina in 1875), from Mornese-Nizza Monferrato, Chieri, Becchi, Morialdo and other rural places of Don Bosco's life. We enjoy the photos of the first Japanese missionary, one young courageous Filipino priest heading to Project Europe and, as every year, a large group of Vietnamese missionaries heading mainly to Latin America.

What can we do for this 150th missionary expedition? Prayers (only)? Listen to the new missionary voices (their FB pages, sharing)? Pray for new missionary vocations that might be inspired by this occasion? Fortunately we are able to most of the events this week in Turin (Valdocco) through social media. You can follow the 150th Missionary Expedition Eucharist on the ANS Facebook pages:

Lord, send me! - A fervent prayer of each new missionary is also an expression of deep faith that the Lord is going ahead, along and together with each one of them! Let our interest and prayer be a seed of new missionary vocations in our EAO region!

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