"Patience in humility, diligence in the care of young people, fidelity to the three vows of religious life": this is the content of the message of Mgr Rosario Vella, Salesian bishop, one of the Salesian pioneers in Madagascar, during the ceremony opening of the celebration of the 40th anniversary of the arrival of the Salesians of Don Bosco in Madagascar.

It was marked by Holy Mass on Wednesday July 14, 2021, in the evening, in the presence of representatives of the Salesians from all the communities of Madagascar, of the four pioneers and some representatives of the Salesian family.

Father Innocent Bizimana, Provincial of the Salesians of Madagascar and Mauritius, recalled at the beginning of the Holy Mass that Don Bosco's dream of a Salesian work in Madagascar had come true, in fact, in 1886, he dreamed of seeing many young people shouting to him "You are already among us and we will not let you go again". Then the branches of the Salesian family developed throughout the island.

The celebration coincided with the word of God of this day, announced Bishop Rosario Vella in his homily. And just as Moses was sent to deliver the people of Egypt, the Salesians are also sent to listen to the cries of the Malagasy youth. The perseverance of the first missionaries in transmitting the charism and diligently learning the Malagasy language made Don Bosco's dream come true, he said. He encouraged the Salesians to continue what the pioneers had started and to live what Don Bosco had recommended.

Father Innocent Bizimana concluded the ceremony by thanking the first missionaries who transmitted the Salesian spirit. And he made everyone aware at this opening moment that the celebrations continue despite the health emergencies.

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