Farewell to much loved priest

2017-04-27 06:02
=Father Maxwell Salsone

=Father Maxwell Salsone

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Father Maxwell Salsone from Uitenhage, surely is one of few people in the world, who enjoyed the honour of meeting both the iconic Mother Theresa as well as Pope Francis.

He has served the Catholic Church in the Diocese of Port Elizabeth for 52 years, the last 13 years of his career of which as priest in Uitenhage at St Anthony’s Parish. Father Max will be retiring on 30 April 2017.

“Looking back on 52 years of priesthood, I echo what the psalmist says: ‘What marvels the Lord worked for me. Indeed I was glad’” said Father Max, as he is known in the community.

“I would like to thank the Bishops under whom I served, as well as my fellow priests - past and present – who helped me through good times and bad. I am also grateful towards the sisters who taught me the faith. I would also like to thank my fellow clergymen from other denominations whom I had the privilege to serve with in the Uitenhage community and elsewhere,” said Father Max.

He was born on 28 February 1942 into a Catholic family, received his education at Catholic schools and completed his matric at Holy Rosary Convent in Cradock.

He pursued his priestly studies at Pontificio Collegio Urbano “De Propaganda Fides” in Rome, where he was awarded licentiates in Philosophy and Theology. He spent 7 years in Rome with 464 students from 63 countries.

Father Max was ordained at St Augustine’s Cathedral by Bishop Green during 1965.

Highlights of his stay in Rome include being present at the opening of Vatican Council II in 1963. He was also present at the funeral of Pope John XXIII, and at the election of Pope Paul VI. And he witnessed the canonization of St Martin de Porres in 1965.

During 1966 he was assigned to St Martin de Porres Parish and from there he became parish priest of St Francis Xavier (East London), Holy Spirit (Arcadia), St Bernadette’s (Walmer), St James (Schauderville), Church of the Assumption (Somerset East), St John’s and St Mary’s (Cradock), St John’s (Bedford) and St Anthony’s, St Joseph’s and Mary Mount (Uitenhage).

During his early years in Port Elizabeth, Father Max was involved in various community projects and for his contribution to the upliftment of the people of Port Elizabeth, Salsoneville was named in his honour.

He served his last 13 years as a priest in Uitenhage. During this time Father Max celebrated both his 70th birthday as well as his Golden Jubilee Anniversary as a priest.

In celebration of these milestones Father Max’s parishioners assisted him to visit Rome twice. During his last visit to Rome in 2016 he was able to attend the Canonization of St Theresa of Calcutta, attend his class’ 50th re-union and celebrated mass with Pope Francis.

“To all my parishioners in every parish where I have ministered, thank you for accepting me the way I am. A special thanks to my parishioners in St Anthony’s, St Joseph’s and Mary Mount who for the past 13 years allowed me into their hearts and homes and to become part of their families,” said Father Max.

“As priests we often hear, ‘You have given up so much to be a priest’ to which a priest answered, ‘It is not so much what you give up, but what you exchange it for, for God says you give me your time, I’ll give you my eternity. You give me your humanity, I’ll give you my divinity. You give me your death, I’ll give you my life’.”

Father Max will retire at St Luke’s retreat centre.

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