November 28, 2016: 129 Years of Foundation of the Scalabrinians

The future that opens before us, with a world in which migration of men and women is growing more and more often in dramatic conditions, puts our mission and our Congregation at the heart of the challenges that challenge the church itself

It has been 129 years since Monsignor Scalabrini received in the basilica of San Antonio de Piacenza, from the Reverend Domenico Mantese and Giuseppe Molinari, the “solemn commitment to dedicate themselves to the new mission and to observe the provisional regulations “, this began our religious family.

The time since that day has seen a continuous alternation of moments of enthusiasm and critical situations, back to the foundational ideals and suffered events, sometimes demoralizing, of extraordinary examples of heroism by so many fellow missionaries, cloistered of historic positions as well as openings to pastoral commitments once unthinkable. We can not forget, in the current historical context, the particular blossoming of vocations, especially in Asia; a phenomenon that is giving new vitality and hope to the whole Church and our Congregation, and which, precisely because of the unprecedented challenges it presents and which demands a renewed commitment from all of us, I sincerely hope that it will be a promise for our missionary field in the service to migrants.

The planted seed, almost hidden in 1887 by Blessed Scalabrini, has found “good” ground: the past, strengthened by a history built with sacrifices, options, holiness of life and feats by many Scalabrinian missionaries, constitutes the ” Roots”, without which our existence would be incomprehensible and destined to die. The present represents the “wings”: we can still be credible signs, significant, exemplary, if in this story we will be able to feed daily from the source. Which source? First, the “true source of Life,” the Lord Jesus, without whom “nothing is possible”; Then the figure, the example, the intuitions and the soul of the Founder and his charism; and also in the often unknown but exemplary history of co-brothers who have given their lives for the Scalabrinian ideal and finally in the same cry of the migrants. Yes, the lament of the people torn from their land and the affection of their loved ones because of hunger, wars, famines, injustices, climatic changes, persecutions, is an appeal against which it is not possible to “turn the gaze on the other side”: this clamor can not allow, especially to us Scalabrinians, a calm and indifferent life, without the same question that prompted the spirit of Scalabrini:” What to do to remedy that situation?”

The future is in the hands of the Good God. To the Lord, who guides history in admirable but often not understandable way to the human mind, we entrust the projects that encourage our action, our hopes, our good will, as well as our weaknesses and frailties. He will know to “make all things new” and will surprise us by continuing to knit his plan of salvation until the complete unification of the universe in Christ.

I wish you all to live this anniversary of Foundation with serenity, in a spirit of fraternity and communion, blessed by the Lord and accompanied by the living and strong presence of our Blessed Founder.

Fr. Alessandro Gazzola cs