Month of Mary is approaching the end: graces received and graces asked! This is a good time to give thanks to Mary for her guidance, inspiration. Indeed we believe, that she brought each of us in the family of Don Bosco.
One Japanese novice in Eastern Africa, fruit of spiritual accompaniment of one Italian missionary in Tokyo is a wonderful example 'that nothing is impossible to Mary'.
Chihiro has a generous heart for serving the African youth, it brought him at quite mature age to the firm conviction that God wants him to be a Salesian of Don Bosco, not in Japan but in Africa.
His sharing might be a strong inspiration for many Salesians in the comfort zone of some EAO works. I pray to the Holy Spirit, that some hearts may be touched:
Two months have passed since I came to Nairobi, and I am enjoying novelties around me.
Before coming to Africa, I was studying at graduate school in Japan and majored in 'Area Studies in Latin America'. After graduation, I was working among homeless people and people with mental disorders for five years.
During my working periods, I happened to meet Fr. L. and Fr. F., and after talking with them for a year and intrigued by several dreams which I had before, I decided to quit my job and leave everything in Japan, which was quite tough decision.
Then I went to Wau, South Sudan, and through services among street children and juveniles in jail there led me to an understanding that here in Africa we have many street children, child-soldiers, children who can not got to school because of political and economical reasons, and to a firm decision that until my dying breath I would dedicate rest of my life to children, the poor and the sick in Africa. If only I can finish my duty which I have been assigned by the Lord Jesus, indeed I put no value in my life.
But I would like to add that without unfailing supports by Fr. L and Fr. F, and my present pre-novice master Fr. M, my presence in Africa is quite unlikely.
-------Come O Holy Spirit, put on fire our hearts and life, to follow Jesus with the same openess of Don Bosco!!----------
Valdocco, May 24, 2014
Mary, Help of Christians, pray for us!
After a month-long visit to four EAO provinces I'm back in Italy, first three full days spending for pilgrimage and prayer, in Turin - Valdocco, Basilica of Mary Help of Christians.
Really, the discipleship of Don Bosco, his faith in Jesus Christ is best touched in this periphery of Turin, working for 40+ years among the last, starting always without 'nothing' and being able to rally around him thousands of Lay Mission Partners for the benefit of many thousands of youth!
Yes, devotion to Mary, according to Don Bosco, is not 'just a prayer' - it's a life movement to follow Jesus with the whole heart and action.
May 24, 1814 - Pope Pius VII established in the Church officialy this Feastday (MHC 200).
May 24, 2014 - Brasilian Church celebrates another DIA DOS CIGANOS (Day of the Gypsies) dedicated to the marginalized nomadic group also in the American continent.
May 24, 2014 - Turin is a venue to all Chinese Catholic Communities in Italy (Sermig and Valdocco, Basilica of MHC) - as a visible expression to the "DAY OF PRAYER for CHINA CHURCH' requested in 2007 by Pope Benedict.
May 24, 2014 - Three days of my pilgrimage of behalf of all East Asia - Oceania region confreres to Our Lady:
GIVING THANKS for Her protection and guidance to all our 10 provinces, in our 22 countries
GIVING PRAISE for all visible and invisible growth of the Salesian Charism and Vocation of our 1500 Salesians and ten groups of the Salesian Family.
ENTRUSTING to Mary the most meaningful and the most difficult fields of our Mission, of dangerous social situation and weak prsence of the Church and the Congregation in some parts of our Region.
I bring with me the full list of the EAO confreres according the provinces, to pray for each of the Salesians in the Basilica of Don Bosco in Valdocco: one by one... Mary Help of Christians, pray for Peter, Paul, Philip, Joseph.... starting from the 10 provincials and 4 Delegates until the recently starting novices..
Mary Help of Christians, pray for us!
Provincial Day of the Japan Province
May 18, 2014 - TOKYO, MEGURO PARISH
Present: 300+ members of the Salesian Family (SDB, FMA, Caritas, Salesian Cooperators) and Salesian Bishop Mizobe Osamu Francis Xavier (Golden Jubilee of priestly ordination), not counting the local Meguro parish youth, parish council (parish priest Fr. Achille Loro Piana)
Wonderful moments FAMILY SPIRIT.
Wonderful moments of SHARING.
Wonderful moments of FAITH.
First full day in Japan during the consultation visit
Frontier presence in the 1.2 milliion city of Hamamatsu, 300 km from Tokyo, 90 minutes by bullet trains shinkansen.
Four confreres, rector from Argentina, two salesian priests from Brasile and one Vietnamese.
Since the arrival of the Fr. Higa in 1993 the 20.000 people strong Brasilian community (with many pentecostal Churches as well) grew a lot. Now the local parish is entrusted to the Salesians and attended by a multi-cultural Catholic community composed of Brasilian, Peruvian and other Latinos, of Filipinos and other English speaking as well by a minor group of local Japanese Catholics.
The new frontiers - HOW TO GET CLOSER to the POOR youngsters in Japan - is one of the major issues in this Province. Two parishes for the migrants are a visible sign of our move towards the poorest in this society. Just firs step on the long journey.
During the five meetings of discernment for the future provincial of Japan (100+ confreres, 82 priests, 13 brothers and 9 young salesians in initial formation with 2 novices) I try to listen with my whole heart and help the path of the province.
As the whole Japan society and Church, also our Congregation and Salesian Family is getting smaller and older. BUT with all humility we should recognize, that WE ARE STILL among the most vibrant and attractive groups within the Catholic Church of St. Francis Xavier. Outsiders - our Lay Mission Partners, non Christians, diocesan clergy are highly appreciating our life witness of close and joyful presence among the youth and the community of believers.
St. John Bosco, pray for us!
St. Francis Xavier, pray for us!
Welcome home! - Missionary postnovitiate of Blessed Michael Rua!
After more than 1 year from the recent animation visit in Dalat, I'm here for two short - intense days of visit again. Dalat is the only house in the VIE province, which was not confiscated. It's a vibrant environment where the youth of the Oratory, Aspirants (both high school and university), local parishioners and the 50 SDB strong community are mixing in a admirable way.
All of the 100+ Salesian missionaries of Vietnam are 'product' of this house, most of them left their homeland just few weeks after graduation of the postnovitiate studies.
As usual, the conference was among the highlightes of the day. After an interesting sharing (AM time) with the formators about the challenges of formation (cultural gap among the young SDB and formators is widening, influence of the social communication culture, weakening of faith, different way of living the vows..) i got few hints for the PM conference.
Pointing on the Salesian super-power India (short brickfield video from New Delhi, made by the Mission Office) where the mutual influence of the major number of poor youth around the world (more than Africa) and now the n.1 number of Salesians in India, the hint on our future was clear. Without the poorest among the young people, we have no future. Like Project Africa was the blessing for us 35 years ago, now the move in all provinces towards the street children, child workers... is our path to the future.
What is the radicality of our consecrated life? Living wholeheartedly for God, for brothers and for the young? How can we check, if we are living the radical witness to the Gospel? This second point of the conference was the main issue - we reached quit naturally the SPIRITUAL ACCOMPANIMENT (directrion) challenge. Some highlites - withouth a third person (God and myself in the examen of conscience is not enough, easy to cheat or being not aware about my real life).
A strong words of Pope Francis: "We have too many, really too many 'HALF WAY PRIESTS' and religious who fail to imitate Jesus" was an opening to many question received from the 35 young brothers:
Who can be my spiritual director? (batchmate, rector, any experienced SDB priest or brother) What are the main qualities of a good spiritual director? ( trustworthy person to whom I can open fully my heart - as fundamental condition; person who has experienced spiritual accompaniment by other spiritual director; experienced in Christian life - interior life. The history of Vietnamese province, where Servant of God, Fr. Majcen was the first novicemaster and excellent spiritual guide to many (Vietnam and Slovenia until 1999) is a reminder about what we have probably lost over part 40 years (1975). What can be important - helpful from my personal side? (live with a personal project of salesian life, read some useful books like the Introduction to the devout life of St. Francis de Sales, or Spiritual diary of St. John XXIII, wiriting regularly a spiritual - interior life 'diary' - to verbalize the movements of my sould and heart.
What it the East Asia - Oceania Region (in the light of the GC27) - shown some slides of the GC27 life and EAO participants. Indeed the TOP 2 topics of the EAO provincial regarding HOW to become MYSTICS in the SPIRIT were chosen (10/10 provinces: Deepen personal experience of God and 7/10 Work on the personal spiritual direction in the province. Being young, our Region has many potentials, but need especially to invest into solid preparation of Salesians (this is probably the difference with the other two young and growing Regions - Africa&Madagascar and South Asia).
I'm grateful to God for the many simple personal interactions with the brothers (present also AFW Nigeria missionary on holidary, two of Brasilian missionaries waiting for new visa release and one Brother still waiting for his Pakistan visa.
Mamma Mary, Help of Christians, protect and guide this wonderful communityto be more deeply disciples and missionaries of Jesus!