Rev. Fr. Angel Fernandez Artime is the Superior General of the Salesians of Don Bosco (SDB), affectionately called “Rector Major”. He is the 10th successor of Don Bosco, the first to visit Solomon Islands.
The SDB is one of the largest religious orders of the Catholic Church. Founded on 26.01.1854 in Turin (Northern Italy) for the welfare of needy youth, the congregation witnessed a phenomenal growth.
Having spread to different countries in Europe, in 1875 the SDBs went as missionaries to South America, and gradually to other continents. Today they serve in 132 countries, with a membership of 15,298 Bishops, Priests and Brothers. They are divided into 82 Provinces with many provinces in a country, or few countries under one province.
St. John Bosco also founded the so-called “Salesian Sisters” who do for the girls what the SDBs do for the boys. He also founded the lay institute called “Salesian Co-operators”. After Don Bosco’s death 26 other congregations and Lay institutes, taking inspiration from him, form a vast movement of people for the welfare of young people. All these groups put together form the SALESIAN FAMILY.
The Association of the Past Pupils, which form the most numerous group, have also been inducted into the Salesian Family. The Rector Major is the centre of unity for the whole Salesian family.
In the Pacific region, the first presence was established in Australia (1932) and Australia became a province in 1958. The SDBs from the Philippines Province came to Papua New Guinea in 1980; and the SDBs from the Japanese province came to the Solomon Islands in 1995. Since 2005, Papua New Guinea-Solomon Islands is a separate delegation with a Delegation Superior, presently Fr. Peter Baquero.
The SDBs in Solomon Islands have two presences. At TETERE where they minister in Christ the King Parish, and run the Don Bosco Rural Training Centre with a variety of activities and initiatives. At HENDERSON, the Don Bosco Technical Institute offers job-oriented Technical training to young people who not continue their formal education after Form III or Form V. They also organize formation programs for groups at Bosco House of Prayer in Kolaridge – Honiara.
The SDBs, Salesian Sisters, Salesian Co-operators, Past Pupils and the Present students with their parents/guardians, friends and well-wishers are preparing to welcome the Rector Major on Sunday, 3rd May 2015, at 1.30 P.M. The same afternoon, at 4.00 PM, the Rector Major will lead the Sunday Eucharistic Celebration at Christ the King Church – Tetere.
On Monday, 4th May 2015, at 9.00 AM, the Rector Major will be at Henderson joining Archbishop Adrian Smith and other Catholic, Anglican, SSEC and United Church Bishops, the leaders of other Churches, Priests, Religious, Parents/guardians and Friends honouring Don Bosco on his 200th Birth Anniversary (1815 – 2015).
The same day, at 11.00 AM, the Rector Major will be given a Public reception in the presence of His Excellency Manasseh Sogavare, the Prime Minister, other ministers and dignitaries of the Country and Guadalcanal province.
Hearty Welcome to the Pearl of the Pacific – Solomon Islands!
— Nick John.