Salesians elect Mexican as ninth successor to Don Bosco
Fr Pascual Chavez Villanuova, the Salesians' Mexican-born councillor for the American region, has been elected the ninth successor of Don Bosco in a ballot that lasted just 20 minutes.
Fr Chavez takes over a Congregation of nearly 18,000 men spread throughout 110 nations. As an English-Spanish speaking region it represents something of the shift that has taken place in recent years for a Congregation that was founded in Northern Italy, but whose first missionary venture began in Argentina 125 years ago.
He said: "I accept the decision of the assembly as the expression of the will of God, and as I responded at my first profession, I want to continue to say Yes."
Born 19th December 1947 in the heart of Northern Mexico's mining region, Fr Chavez is considered an 'outsider' to the Roman scene. The unanimity of the most recent vote by 231 Chapter members has been a clear indication of the esteem in which he is held by Salesians generally.
The Salesian Congregation, founded by St. John Bosco, was founded in the mid-19th century as a response to the plight of youngsters drawn to the cities of northern Italy in a period of social revolution and industrial development.
4 Apr 2002