Visit of the Rector Major

 

11 May 2015 | General Interest

Fr Angel in Samoa

Fr Angel Fernandez Artime, the Rector Major of the Salesians spent a memorable four days in Samoa. The highlight of his time was his personal interaction with his brother Salesians, the Salesian Sisters and the many young people, parishioners, teachers and friends of Don Bosco in Samoa.

 

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Fr Angel arrived at Faleolo airport to an enthusiastic welcome from the youth of Leauvaa Parish and students from St Joseph’s Primary School Leauvaa. He then travelled with a Police escort to Don Bosco Alafua to be greeted by youth and parishioners from Sinamoga-Moamoa and Malololelei parishes, students and teachers from Don Bosco Technical Centre Alafua as well many other well-wishers. A youth gathering followed, with prayer, speeches to welcome the Rector Major, an address by Fr Angel, a kava ceremony and entertainment from the youth. The occasion was completed with a lovely meal.

On Saturday morning Fr Angel celebrated Mass with the Salesians an Salesian Sisters before going to meet Archbishop Alapati, who gave him a traditional Samoan welcome including a kava ceremony. During the exchange the Rector Major offer the Archbishop scholarships for two seminarians to attend the Pontifical Salesian University in Rome. The Rector Major inspected the new primary school of the Salesian Sisters and parish centres at Sinamoga and Moamoa. After lunch there was a fraternal gathering with the Salesian priests and brothers, during which the Rector Major listened intensely to stories about the reality of the Salesian Mission in Samoa, asked probing questions and offered some profound advice. The day concluded with a Salesian Family Gathering which commenced with evening prayer and the blessing of a memorial plaque in honour of deceased Salesians who have worked in Samoa. A beautiful meal and entertainment followed, a highlight of the evening being the Rector Major dancing with octogenarian Sr Josephine and his performance of several songs to delight the assembled friends of Don Bosco in Samoa.

On Sunday the Rector Major presided at the Parish Eucharist at St Michael’s Leauvaa, met with the locals and spent time with the Salesian Sisters. He and his travelling companions then took the ferry to Savaii island, where the Salesians have a school and a parish in the main village of Salelologa. The Rector Major joined parishioners for evening prayer and the next day was treated to a joyous celebration at Don Bosco College and Vocational Centre, where students welcomed him enthusiastically. Prayer, speeches and lots of singing and dancing were the highlights of the occasion. Upon his return to Upolu island Fr Angel visited Don Bosco Technical Centre, where the students had prepared an assembly, led prayer and presented a series of dance routines that delighted the Rector Major. Fr Angel then went to Apia Harbour where he joined members of the Don Bosco fautasi (long boat) crew in their rowing training. Evening prayer followed by a quiet evening meal with the Salesians and the Salesian Sisters brought the Rector Major’s visit to a conclusion. He was farewelled from Don Bosco Alafua to the strains of songs giving thanks to God for his visit and at the airport by the Salesians, the Salesian Sisters and Youth from the Salesian Parishes.

The universal conclusion was that Fr Angel’s visit had inspired all to continue, strengthen and deepen the spirit of Don Bosco in Samoa.

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