EUROPE/LITHUANIA - Towards Mission Sunday: "Mission before a territory is a way of life", says a Salesian missionary in Vilnius

Thursday, 17 September 2020 missionary animation  


Vilnius (Agenzia Fides) – Fr. Massimo Bianco, a Salesian of Don Bosco (SDB), has been a missionary in Lithuania for twenty years. He is 57 years old, lives and works in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, in a large suburban parish. "Being a missionary is responding to a call, which I have matured for a long time - he tells Agenzia Fides -. I had spent three summer experiences in Africa, precisely in Nigeria, in the end I 'landed' on European soil, but I gradually understood that mission before a territory is a way of life. Even if the standard of living here is different from Africa, the need for evangelization in a secularized and post-Soviet world I would say is the same: here you meet people who are not physically malnourished, but are malnourished in spirit. Here I replied: 'Here I am! Send me!' to the One who is the source of every missionary call".
Fr. Massimo explains that in recent years he has tried first of all to listen, to fit into a different culture with respect, patience and progressiveness: the language, the climate, the people, the faith lived in small communities were various aspects to be integrated, a little bit at a time. "In the face of moments of loneliness and difficulty - he continues - I try not to lose heart. Of course, the moment comes, sooner or later, when you ask yourself: 'But what am I doing here?'. It is therefore a question of overcoming the temptation to let go, at the same time you realize that you carry within yourself a disease called 'protagonism and efficiency', driven by the human desire to always see results, but often this is not possible, at least in short term. In these cases, the life of prayer and the support of the Salesian and parish community in which I live help me a lot".
As a Salesian of Don Bosco, Fr. Massimo feels the task and the desire to make children and young people aware of the figure of Don Bosco, the Saint of the young in a particular way.
It is not just a matter of understanding that the Lord sends us to proclaim His Word, but it is a matter of becoming the voice of that Word ourselves, with our presence and our testimony". (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 17/9/2020)