The Salesian Rector Major, Fr Ángel Artime SDB, has spoken from Rome to Confreres, the Salesian Family, catechists and young people, in a video message released on Wednesday 1 April 2020.
"I greet you in this moment of great pain due to the Coronavirus pandemic," he said. He spoke of the 14 Salesians who have already died from the virus, and the pain so many share because of those they know and love who have died.
"I hold in my heart the memory of Friday, the prayer where we accompanied the Holy Father ... Surely the Holy Father has never prayed so alone, in St Peter's Square, so large yet so empty. But surely he has never prayed so accompanied by the whole Christian world, and certainly also by the believers of other religions. And the Pope has left us this message, the only one possible, with an outlook of faith and hope, that passage of the Gospel of the storm, where the Lord tells us, 'Don't be afraid'.
Don Ángel says we too must live this moment in that outlook of faith and hope, with prayer which intensifies and strengthens, and with a deep feeling that in God we have our trust and our safety.
The Rector Major thanked the entire Salesian Family for how it is responding to the emergency caused by Covid-19. He praised the many Salesian initiatives to enable prayer and the celebration of Masses to be shared, and for continuing formation activities, which he described as "truly a cascading of creativity all over the world". He also commended everyone for accepting "as honest citizens", the restrictions and regulations our authorites and govenments have imposed for our safety.
He left us with a plea to contnue to think how we can bring helpto the neediest as soon as possible, "to families who find it difficult to live; to the poorest, those who, if they cannot work, they cannot eat."
"There is no doubt that Don Bosco continues to accompany us, and our Mother, Help of Christians, holds us all in her arms," he concluded, "Let us all pray for each other."
Watch the video in English on the ANS YouTube channel.