Photo: Terézia Liptáková
(ANS – Žilina) – In a small country like Slovakia, with 5 million inhabitants, the Rector Major of the Salesians, Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, found a very strong presence of the Salesian Family. There are more than a thousand Cooperator Salesians.
by Fr Rastislav Hamráček, SDB
On Saturday 5 November, hundreds of members of the seven branches of the Salesian Family in Slovakia gathered to celebrate the visit of the Tenth Successor of Don Bosco. In the largest church in the city of Žilina, Fr Á.F. Artime received the promises of 33 new members of the Cooperator Salesians. The Eucharist was presided over by the Provincial of the Salesians in Slovakia, Fr Jozef Ižold, and concelebrated by about a hundred priests, including the Provincial of the Czech Republic, Fr Petr Vaculik, and the Superior of the District of Ukraine, Fr Karol Manik. He had come from Lviv with a group of young people.
“I would like a more open Salesian Family, so that those who come to our centres may feel accepted,” said the Rector Major in the short talk he gave after mass.
The afternoon was devoted to a meeting with young people of the Salesian Youth Movement. There was a concert in the Sports Hall in Žilina during which the Rector Major took part in a folk dance, answered a few questions from the young people and he played table football. The programme ended with a brief period of Eucharistic adoration and a prayer for the vocational discernment of the young people present.
In the traditional “Good Night” Fr Á.F. Artime encouraged the young people and the Salesian Family to grow in faith. “We are not an NGO which provides social services. We are first and foremost a religious family, in which we are united by some very high ideals.”
The busy day ended with a meeting with the Salesians of the community of Žilina, where there is the post-novitiate, a Vocational Training Centre, a boarding school, a parish and an oratory and youth centre.
In Prešov on Sunday 6 November, the Rector Major met Salesians from the communities of the eastern part of Slovakia. He encouraged them to put all their efforts into fraternal life according to the Gospel, and cultivating the identity of consecrated Salesians.