The General Councilors
Early this year the Salesian Society of St. John Bosco held the 28th General Chapter in Turin, Italy. Aside from tackling the fundamental needs of the congregation and the ongoing issues on youth ministry, GC28 was also an occasion of election for a new Rector Major and the selection of the members of the General Council. Fr. Angel Artime Fernandez, SDB, the current Rector Major, retained his leadership of the entire congregation for another 6 years as was unanimously expressed by the delegates. The General Council, however, found some new faces to fill the numbers within the inner governing body of the congregation. Let us take a closer look on the different councilors of the General Council.
Fr. Stefano Martoglio is the Vicar of the Rector Major. “The Vicar General is the first collaborator of the Rector Major in the governance of the Society and has ordinary vicarious power.”* He was the General Councilor for the Mediterranean Region from 2014 to 2020.
Fr. Ivo Nicholas Coelho still holds the position as the Councilor for Formation. “He has the duty of furthering the integral and ongoing formation of the members.”* Before becoming a Councilor for Formation, he was the Rector of the Salesian Theologate at Ratisbonne in Jerusalem.
The new Councilor for Youth Ministry is Fr. Miguel Angel García Morcuende. “He animates and gives direction to Salesian educative and apostolic activity in its different expressions. He ensures that the priority of our commitment to youth and the influence of the preventive system are achieved in them.”* He was the delegate for the Commission on Youth Ministry in Madrid.
Fr. Gildásio Mendes dos Santos is the new Councilor for Social Communication. “He promotes Salesian activity in the social communication sector and in particular coordinates at the world level, the structures and centres for which the Congregation has responsibility in this field.”* He was the provincial superior of the Province of Brazil-Belo Horizonte.
The new Councilor for the Missions is Fr. Alfredo Maravilla. “He coordinates the initiatives and directs activity in the missions so that they respond in a Salesian style to the urgent needs of the peoples to be evangelised.”* Before his assignment as General Councilor for the Missions, he was the Superior of the Vice Province of Papua New Guinea-Solomon Islands.
Bro. Jean Paul Muller retains his role as the Economer General of the Congregation. “He administers those goods which do not belong to any particular province or house but to the whole Society.”* He was the Provincial Mission Delegate for Germany before become the Economer General in 2011.
The East Asia – Oceania Region was previously under the guidance of Fr. Vaclav Klement. In the GC28, Fr. Joseph Nguyen Thinh Phuoc from Vietnam succeeded Fr. Klement as the new Regional Councilor for EAO. “He promotes a more direct liaison between the provinces and the Rector Major and his Council.”* He was the delegate for Formation in Vietnam. His own words describe much on what he felt when he was chosen for this new obedience:
“Within one year, I have received two calls from the Superiors in Rome! Go to Rome to serve the missions of the Congregation! First, as an assistant with supporting role in the Mission Sector; then the second, as an animator of our beloved EAO Region. There was no way to say NO as a son of Don Bosco, obeying the Father’s wish for me, for my confreres and the Salesian Family in EAO region.
I am grateful for the trust our superiors and the 222 delegates of the General Chapter put in me, in spite of my limitations. I thank a lot our previous Regional Councilors, Fr. Thomas Panakhezam, Fr. Joaquim De Sousa, Fr. Andrew Wong, in particular, Fr. Vaclav Klement, all of whom dedicated themselves wholeheartedly to build up the Region of East Asia – Oceania strongly in the Salesian charism and services, in union with the whole Congregation under the guidance and animation of our Rector Major.
We are a beautiful Region with a lot of shared collaboration and helping one another to grow. Let us pray to God that we will be able to continue the path God has set up for us with this General Chapter 28: listening to the needs of the poor youth today and go out to serve them as a community of consecrated people and the co-partners in our mission. May our Lady and Her Chaste Spouse, St. Joseph, be with you and your beloved ones.”**
(by our correspondence)
Photos from sdb.org