Rector Major of the Salesians

Fr. Ángel Fernández Artime

Rector Major of the Salesians

Fr. Ángel Fernández Artime

Ángel Fernández Artime (born August 21, 1960), is a Roman Catholic Priest of the Salesians of Don Bosco, who was elected by the Salesian General Chapter 27 as the Rector Major of the Salesians on May 24, 2014. With his election, he became the 10th successor of Don Bosco and the first Spaniard and third non-Italian to become Rector in Salesian history.

He was also Provincial Superior of León, Spain, Southern Argentina and was preparing to take possession of Sevilla Province when he was elected Rector.

Rector Major


    Today, 1 April 2024, is the 90th anniversary of the canonization of Don Bosco, done by Pope Pius XI on 1 April 1934, the Easter day itself, to unite Don Bosco with the glory of the Risen Christ, at the conclusion of the Holy Year of the Redemption, called by the same Pope Pius XI to celebrate the 1900 years of the Redemption, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

    It is really touching to go back to the primitive Pinardi chapel in Turin, the true Salesian Portiuncula, and contemplate the background painting depicting the Resurrection. The Paschal Mystery marked Don Bosco’s existence and led him to the heart of the Christian event: he received his First Communion on Easter Sunday 1826; he started the Oratory with a permanent seat in Valdocco at Easter, on 12 April, 1846; he was canonized by Pius XI on 1 April 1934, Easter Sunday, the Holy Year of the Redemption.

    In the decretal letter proclaiming Don Bosco’s holiness, Pius XI expressed himself in this way: “Today in fact, we, strengthened by the infinite virtue of the Blood of the Crucified Redeemer, through the vicarious power with which we are honoured, are granted to add to that host of Saints another hero of holiness, who, for the many and so many great benefits that he continually brings to religion and civilization through his spiritual sonship, will live in memory and in blessing until the end of time: We want to say John Bosco, who a few years ago we counted among the glories of the Blessed, and who (the memory is still sweet in my mind) not only comforted our youth with his appearance and his words, but also by his marvellous works and the splendour of his virtue attracted all our admiration. In fact, in the autumn of 1883, as a young priest, Fr Achille Ratti went to visit Don John Bosco and his oratory at Turin, Valdocco, where he stayed for two days, sat at Don Bosco’s table and left full of deep and pleasant memories. That contact he had with the Saint was almost always a source of pride for him.

    If you go to St. Peter’s, you can see that the only saint accompanied by two young men is St. John Bosco. And the two young men are St Dominic Savio and Blessed Zefirino Namuncurà. It is a kind of hymn to Salesian holiness, to the holiness of the teacher and disciples. This group of saints is on the right side of the nave, above the ancient bronze statue of St Peter, as if to emphasize the Saint’s great devotion to the Vicar of Christ.

    In the apostolic letter Iuvenum Patris St. John Paul II highlights the fact that Don Bosco “realizes his personal holiness through his commitment to education lived with zeal and apostolic heart, and that he knows how to propose holiness as the concrete goal of his pedagogy. Precisely such an interchange between ‘education’ and ‘holiness’ is the characteristic aspect of his figure: he is a ‘holy educator’, he is inspired by a ‘holy model’ – Francis de Sales -, he is a disciple of a ‘holy spiritual master’ – Joseph Cafasso -, and he knows how to form among his young people an ‘educating saint’: Dominic Savio… In the Church and in the world the integral educational vision, which we see incarnated in John Bosco, is a realist pedagogy of holiness. There is an urgent need to recover the true concept of ‘holiness’ as a component of the life of every believer. The originality and audacity of the proposal of a “youthful holiness” is intrinsic to the educative art of this great Saint, who can rightly be called a “master of youthful spirituality”. His particular secret was that of not disappointing the profound aspirations of young people (the need for life, love, expansion, joy, freedom, the future), and at the same time of gradually and realistically leading them to experience that only in the ‘life of grace’, that is, in friendship with Christ, are the most authentic ideals fully realized”.

    Viva Don Bosco

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The society of St. Francis de Sales or Salesians of Don Bosco (SDB), is a religious Congregation founded by St. John Bosco in 1859 in Turin, Italy for the purpose of helping, educating and training poor boys. To date, services of the Salesians have spread to 131 countries in the world. In Sri Lanka, the very first Don Bosco Centre was established in 1956 at Negombo. The Salesians of Don Bosco have, to date established 18 centres in different parts of the country. 


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