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Pascual Chavez: The Ninth Successor of Don Bosco

2002-04-24 00:00:00
Wednesday 17:30:51
April 24 2002

Pascual Chavez: The Ninth Successor of Don Bosco

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Pascual Chavez Villanueva is the new Rector Major of the Salesians of Don Bosco. After a process of discernment, the Capitular Assembly converged on his name and chose him to lead the Congregation for the six-year period, 2002-2008.

Fr. Chavez, a Mexican, was born on Dec. 19, 1947 at Real de Catorce (San Luis de Potosì), a mining area in the centre of Northern Mexico. Some years later, his family moved to Saltillo (in the state of Coahuila) where Pascual attended the Salesian school, “Colegio Mexico”; this is where his vocation began and he pursued his goal of following Don Bosco. He made his first profession at Coacalco in August 1964, and became a perpetually professed Salesian at Guadalajara in August 1970. He received the diaconal ministry on the 10th of March 1973, again at Guadalajara, and was ordained a priest on the 8th of December 1973 at “Perla Tapatia”, the capital of the state of Jalisco. He spent the first years of his ministry among the young Salesians of the formation community of Chapalita (Guadalajara). From 1975 to 1977 he studied at the Biblical Institute in Rome where he obtained his Licentiate in Sacred Scripture.

The new Rector Major was the Rector of the Theological Institute of San Pedro Tlaquepaque from 1980 to 1988 where he taught Sacred Scripture. From 1986 to 1989 he was also a Provincial Councillor of the Province of Mexico-Guadalajara. From 1989 to 1994 he was Provincial of the same Province, which comprises the whole northern part of Mexico right up to the border with the United States. In 1995 he began his Doctorate in Biblical Theology and took up residence at Madrid-Carabanchel where he stayed till he obtained his degree from the Pontifical University of Salamanca (Spain). In 1996, during the GC24, Fr. Vecchi called him over the telephone and asked him to become a regional councillor, even though he was not a member of that Chapter by right. He accepted, and transferred to the Generalate in Rome where he presently resides.

Apart from the GC25, Fr. Chavez did also take part as a Chapter member in the GC23 of 1990, for which he worked as a member of the precapitular commission.

The new Rector Major’s mother tongue is Spanish, but he is also fluent in English and Italian, and understands German, French and Hebrew as well.

In addition to his ecclesiastical degrees, Fr. Chavez is also a qualified teacher in scientific subjects. Both the types of formation have made him a solidly spiritual person.

Those who know him and have worked with him describe him as an intelligent and mentally organized person, and a man of dialogue who tackles problems without delay. He gets to the heart of a problem and tackles it at its roots, with firmness and perseverance, involving the parties concerned and guiding them towards a solution. He draws near to people without falling into paternalism. Because of his preparation, depth and practical approach, he was able to finish each of his study commitments within a narrow time-frame between one post of responsibility and another, still obtaining results that were outstanding. A man of profound biblical knowledge, he has a remarkable feel for situations, and this makes him at once practical and concrete; at the same time, he has that Latin American sensitivity thatadopts a Christian outlook when looking at man and daily life. He has kept up to date with the events of life and history, and this has made him particularly responsive to the signs of the times. A proof of all this is the enthusiasm he put into consolidating the work of the oratories begun by his predecessor, Fr. Humberto Meneses, at Tijuana (Mexico) as a service to the poor and marginalized. Even if he has not had direct pastoral responsibilities with young people, he has always had a strong Salesian sensibility for contact with the young for whose sake he directed the mission as the one responsible for the province of Mexico-Guadalajara. The young people with whom he worked in a direct manner were the Salesian students of- theology at Tlaquepaque to whom he imparted not only a scriptural formation but also his Salesian passion for the young.

As a regional councillor he animated a region comprising 14 provinces, enormously varied in culture, traditions, tenor of life, religious and Salesian life. In fact, the region takes in the countries of North and Central America, the Caribbean, and the countries of the Andes region of South America (Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia). However, through his work of animation he managed to forge a unity out of such a diversity and made it a point to visit all the provinces at least once a year during his six-year term of office.

Source by Redazione

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