CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Sunday, 1 September 2019

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Salesians celebrate anniversaries

HONG KONG (SE): The Society of St. Francis de Sales, more commonly known as the Salesians of Don Bosco, celebrated the 201st anniversary of the birth of its founder, St. John Bosco, on August 16.

Sixteen priests and sisters from the Salesian family also marked the anniversaries of their vows and ordinations, and Anthony Pun Ming-chi, a seminarian, took his perpetual vows.

Over 600 people from the Society of St. Francis de Sales, Daughters of Mary Help of Christians and Sisters Announcers of the Lord joined guests for the celebration.

The day began with a sharing on vocation and a video about the life of St. Philip Neri, the Father of the Oratory.

Father Lanfranco Fedrigotti, the provincial of the China province, said that the congregation has gone through different stages of development, but St. John Bosco’s love for young people remains unchanged.

Father Antonio Leung Wai-choi said God has an important plan for every young person and that God’s kingdom will appear when young people gain their confidence and follow God.

He made a call for preventive education to guide the behaviour of young people.

Father Alphonsus Cheng Tai-kei, from Taiwan, who celebrated the 50th anniversary of his first vows, said the years had not been easy, as there are obstacles in every stage. However, he emphasised that the obstacles could be overcome if everyone could be united in the same mission and determination to follow him.

He urged young people not to doubt the call of a vocation from God and to be confident in pursuing it.

Pun said that there are four most important elements in the Salesian vocation; Jesus, the connection with St. John Bosco, love for young people and the good example of the Salesians.

He added that he hopes he can follow in the footsteps of St. John Bosco, who dedicated his life to God and young people.

A Mass was later celebrated by Joseph Cardinal Zen Ze-kiun. Father Fedrigotti said that Pun’s perpetual vows are a good symbol of encouragement to the life of a religious. He urged people to pray for more confidence in God at times of weakness.

At the ripe age of 101, Father Gaetano Nicosia was present at the Mass and celebrated his own personal milestone of 70 years as a priest.

Cardinal Zen was invited to present the Don Bosco Prize, a scholarship for outstanding students.

The Salesian charter describes the society’s mission as “the Christian perfection of its associates obtained by the exercise of spiritual and corporal works of charity towards the young, especially the poor, and the education of boys to the priesthood.”

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