By J. Mota, SDB
Fuiloro, Timor-Leste, 24 May 2022 -- On the Solemnity of Our Lady Help of Christians, Fr. Rolando Fernandez, SDB celebrated his 60th anniversary as a salesian religious. This simple celebration took place in the gym of DB Fuiloro together with some members of the Salesian Family in the eastern part of the country, lay mission partners, and most especially the students from the elementary up to high school, TVET students, Pre-novices, Salesian confreres from Lospalos and Fuiloro and FMA sisters. Fr. Apolinário Neto, SDB graced this diamond anniversary with his presence. Fr. Rolando, a Filipino missionary since 1983 has been living and serving the young people in Timor-Leste. Recalling his diamond anniversary, for Fr. Rolando it was just like yesterday. Since his religious profession which took place in Cebu wayback on 24 May 1962 together with his other eight professed companions, up to the actual date, only two are still living as salesian religious and priests.
In his homily, Fr. Rolando expressed his feeling of being grateful for all blessings that God has showered upon his family and most especially on his vocation. through which God called him to become salesian and later on a priest. For him, it was a realization of the dream of Don Bosco with a shepherdess. He felt happier when he felt that God had used him as an instrument to transform some of his students into successful people, joining the religious congregation, some becoming sisters and priests. He shared two stories of Marian interventions in the life of the Church and in the life of St. John Bosco to illustrate Mary as the auxilium for Christians and in a special way for Don Bosco as he has passed on to his spiritual sons and daughters. For this very reason, Don Bosco always recommended to the faithful and his spiritual family to have devotion to Our Lady Help of Christians and they will know what miracles are. Don Bosco did not take for granted whatever Mary had done for him and his poor boys and girls. Don Bosco wanted to build a vivid monument of thanksgiving to Our Lady, he then established, alongside with St. Mary Domenica Mazzarello, the Institute of Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (FMA).