【慈幼通訊社 ─ 2020 年 12月 30 日羅馬慈幼總部訊】 ─ 2021年1月3日為天主忠僕畢少懷神父逝世五十周年，他於1889年5月23日在意大利桑治奧省蒂拉諾出生，於1971年1月3日在菲律賓聖費爾南多逝世。
50th anniversary of Dies Natalis of Servant of God Carlo Braga
(ANS – Rome–RMG, 30 December 2020) – 3 January 2021 marks 50 years since the death of the Servant of God Carlo Braga, born in Tirano (Sondrio) on May 23, 1889, and died in San Fernando (Philippines) on January 3, 1971.
Abandoned very young by his father and orphaned by his mother, Carlo was welcomed first by the FMA of Tirano and then by the Salesians of Sondrio. Providence offers him the extraordinary opportunity to meet Fr Michele Rua, Don Bosco’s first successor, who opens the way for the boy to become a Salesian. Fr Rua smiles upon Carlo and, repeating the gesture that Don Bosco had once made with him, puts his hand inside his own and says to him: “We will always be friends”. Certainly, Carlo Braga will have no lack of difficulties at every stage of his life – as a novice, cleric, even provincial -, materializing in prudential postponements and sometimes taking the form of slander: but he will have learned to face them by now. Meanwhile, he becomes a man capable of radiating an extraordinary joy, humble, active and with a delicate irony: all characteristics that indicate his sense of equilibrium and reality. Under the action of the Holy Spirit, Fr Braga himself develops a radiant paternity, which is joined by a great tenderness for the young people entrusted to him.
In 1906 he became a Salesian and in 1914 he was ordained a priest. With the outbreak of the First World War, he was recruited into the army. At the end of the conflict, after being miraculously healed of the “Spanish flu” through the intercession of the Help of Christians, he asked to be sent on a mission to the Far East. In 1919 he arrived in Shiuchow, in southern China; here he met Mons. Luigi Versiglia, today a saint. In 1930 he became Provincial of China, giving a significant boost to the development of the Salesian missionary work. The orphanage in Macau and five large centers in Hong Kong are opened; he founded the first Salesian school in Beijing: Don Bosco’s dream was fulfilled. In 1950 the Salesian house, in clear expansion, saw its dreams interrupted by communism: all education, charity and evangelization activities were closed. The collapse of so much work does not demoralize him.
He was sent to the Philippines where he started the Salesian presence, becoming a Visitor in 1958. His zeal and enthusiasm infect other missionaries. He maintains a holy friendship for all the families of the confreres, benefactors and students. He enchants everyone with his generosity and gratitude, dictated by his big heart. At the basis of all these extraordinary qualities and deeds, he accomplished is his intimate union with God, his love for Jesus, a secret will to give himself to the Lord. As a simple confrere, he dedicated himself to a finer work: that of confessor for young people and spiritual director of consecrated souls.
He had participated in seven General Chapters, bringing them a note of his own enthusiasm, joy and optimism; he knew the Congregation like the old Salesians of Don Bosco’s school; he had been a pioneer of the Kingdom of God. He can then say with a smile to the young Filipino novices that he thought of Heaven as if he already had it. The Lord wanted that his death leave the same impression that he had always transmitted in life: always cheerful, ready for anything, observant in his religious duties and always punctual wherever and whenever duty called. And so, at 5.30 am on January 3, 1971, this herald of the Gospel returns his soul to God, after having worked with tireless zeal in the vineyard of the Lord. The Cause of Beatification was launched in 2014.
The Rector Major speaks of him in the Strenna 2021, presenting him as a witness of hope: “In the Servant of God Fr Carlo Braga, we find an example of pastoral intelligence both in his tireless dedication to the missions and in the accompaniment of the members of the Salesian Family. Without losing heart, but with the hope proper to those who place their faith in Christ our Lord, he knew how to have the patience that Don Bosco so much recommended to be able to accompany young people in building a mature personality. This patience was the fruit of the love that flowed in his missionary heart, which allowed him to build bridges between cultures and not to erect barriers. The call he felt, to promote unity among people, helped him to overcome the differences that could arise between others, convinced that he was always supported by divine grace, which generates the culture of encounter.”