Philippines, Manila - Paranaque Curatorium
Once a year many of the EAO provincials (Manila, Cebu, Saigon, Bangkok, Dili and Yangoon) and some Delegation superiors (Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands) come together to listen to their brothers and clerics formed in Paranaque. The whole meeting (one full day) is concluded with half day listening to their formators and professors, another half day dedicated to draw some concrete operation conclusions for the formation of 38 clerics and 13 brothers from 10 different East Asia - Oceania countries).
Really, there is a rich variety of backgrounds and experiences: missionaries to Mongolia, PNG - SI, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Cambodia; young Salesians from Kenya and RDC Congo (Africa), from Pakistan, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines (East Asia), from Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands (Oceania) are guided by an international formation staff send from Korea, Philippines, Burma, Philippines and Vietnam. Inter-cultural dynamics are very rich and balanced!
Thanks be to God and all concerned in Paranaque Salesian formation, for the following growth:
- official start of the Salesian Brothers specific formation community (4formators+13 brothers) of Bl. Stefan Sandor started just in 2014, after a steadfast, long journey in past 10 years.
- continuous growth of solid Salesian formation culture in Paranaque (personal spiritual direction, conferences, lectio divina, personal plan of life, mutual support in formation) thanks to the long effort of Fr. Pepe and now of Fr. Henry and all dedicated formators.
- build up of the DBCenter of Studies (celebrated in 2013 its 30th anniversary) with the growing library, Salesianity studies and formation of formators programmes, extended to many other Congregations
- Paranaque is now a home for the 4-men-team of EAO formation coordination team (Br. Mon+Frs. Henry, Anthony and Francis) especially with animating the rectors or formators formation for the EAO region and guiding specific formation events in the EAO provinces upon a request!)
Next year on October 1, again back to Paranaque!
Don Bosco is proud of his sons in the Philippines! - Visit Calauan Don Bosco!
The Philippines, 74 kilometers from the capital (MANILA) in the Laguna province there is a rural re-settlement area called Calauan. Since 2010 the government relocated in eight different locations thousands of poor people who came to the capital and have been living near the Passig river and many other different places.
Don Bosco's Salesians took the challenge and one 'frontier missionary community' of 3 SDB is living and working amidst this misery and poverty since 2010 as 'Saint John Bosco' community.
More than 6000 families, some 65.000 people are living near the Salesian 'center'. Frs. Salvador, Paul and Patrick try their best to journey together, to aliviate their misery or poverty - from the free food (hunger is a daily reality, some 1500 meals are distributed daily in three different places), through many ways how to 'self-help' in the daily struggle (water purifying, bakery, small PC room, basic courses in motobike repair and IT literacy, fish pond and piggery etcc.) and also the evangelizing presence of the 'parish' open to all (like Pinardi shed). Among the Calauan population there are Mindanao Muslims and Bagio hill tribes, large families - divided by their daily struggle for survival. Really a frontier mission!
On the ordinary Saturday many Catholic organization, Don Bosco students (70km distance from Don Bosco Makati, Center of Manila), many charity organization come and share their time, talents, programs, food, material etc.
Really - to live together with Calauan people (the whole area was affected by the storm last July and there are still many signs of devastation, capsized containers, fallen trees and missing roofs..even the piggery not yet fixed..) means GIVING HOPE day by day...
with a prayer for all benefactors, volunteers and the 3 Salesians living there, students of theology coming there every weekend and all good will people. Hopefully the 'Don Bosco Mondo' vocation tranining project will take off soon!
Saint John Bosco, pray for us!
SEOUL (South Korea): August 19, 2014 - Today at 1:00 PM Pope Francis left Korea by Korean Airlines on a direct flight back to Rome. Five full days of the first pastoral visit of the Pope to Asia, followed with attention by the media, brought many fruits for the Korean people, Korean Christians (about 30% of the population) and especially for the young and dynamic Catholic Church. Both main events focused on the life witness of Jesus' disciples backed and inspired by the Martyrs.
The first event at the national level was the beatification of the 124 Korean Martyrs, Paul Ji Chung and companions (1791-1888) especially the long-expected beatification of the first Korean Catholics who are considered the founders of the Church without foreign missionaries. Attended by some 800,000 people in downtown Seoul, it was held in the same place where many of them had been martyred.
The second event on an Asian level – the Sixth Asia Youth Day attended by the youth from 25 Asia countries with the theme ‘Asian Youth, Wake up and Shine!’ also focused on the martyrs roots of many of Asian Churches.
Pope Francis left Korean society, media and ordinary citizens with a strong witness of a humble, open religious leader who is deeply a man of God and who cares about the poor and marginalized. His choice of a small car for transportation, traveling by train instead of helicopter, taking off his shoes when entering the Kottongnae Handicapped children's house like any other visitors – all these gestures were praised.
He gave 11 talks in public, 3 outdoor Masses (World Cup Stadium in Daejon, Downtown Seoul avenue in front of the Royal palace and Haemi Fortress where thousands of Catholics were martyred), his meetings with Asian Bishops, Korean President Park (baptized Juliana), Korean Bishops Conference, Korean Male and Female religious, Visit to the largest welfare facility in Korea run by a religious congregation Kottongnae, closeness to the family of Sewol ferry tragedy victims – this hectic schedule by an apparently not-so-healthy old man with difficulty moving, was a strong Christian witness.
After the first historical AYD in Hua Hin (1999, Salesian school) with some 300 participants, the sixth AYD brought together some thousands of the third KYD (Korean Youth Day, started in 2008). The Diocese of Daejon was in charge of this event and also one full time staff of the core group, Fr Peter Kim Sang Yoon, SDB was involved in the preparation. The two main venues of the event were located in the martyr pilgrim places of Solmae and Haemi. Youth from 25 Asian countries with some SDB presence (Card. Zen, archbishop Savio Hon, archbishop Charles Bo) – numerous youth delegates from Korea, Japan and Thailand accompanied by their SDBs (also one MSMHC sister from India was met!)
‘Asian youth - wake up and shine! was the main theme of the homily at the concluding Mass broadcast from Haemi fortress (place of many thousands of martyrs in 19th century). At the end of the Mass the 7th AYD 2017 venue – Indonesia – was announced, accompanied by numerous dances, songs of the present Indonesian youth delegation.
There is an inspiring reflection by Korean Salesians, who thanks to Pope Francisì' visit missed the official celebration of the DB 200 opening (transferred to end of October 2014): other than one Salesian who was involved in the AYD preparation core group, there were many signs of DB presence and influence of Don Bosco in this event – one HK participant who shared his faith experience before Francis was explicit: he ‘would live his Christian life as Salesian’; Daejon diocesan YM and AYD main organizer Fr. Park spent 3 years with the Salesians when studying in Seoul for his youth worker civil degree and shared that he ‘has stolen the heart of Don Bosco’ (with the Preventive system theory and practice).
SDB and FMA novices participated as well in the AYD concluding Mass and share their impressions: Francis' strong life witness of taking the first step in approaching the youth; in spite of his poor English he tried to deliver his talk in English with a few short dialogues with the youth; in spite of his poor health he did everything possible to be one with the people, enjoying the dynamic youth songs, sharing with courage the Gospel wisdom with all Asian youth present.
A good resource site for all materials related to this in Korean and in English is found at: http://popekorea.catholic.or.kr/en
Probably the largest ever gathering of the Volunteers of Don Bosco in their history on the Asia soil.
Thailand, Hua Hin Salesian retreat center August 9-15, 2014
Some 100+ VDB from India, Indonesia, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, China - Hong Kong and Macau, Korea, Japan are together for one week of their annual spiritual retreat, together with the World President Olga (from Slovakia) and her two centeral councilors.
Born in Valdocco Oratory of the FMA's with help of Blessed fr. Philip Rinaldi, SDB (third successor of Don Bosco) on May 20, 1917 - the VDB are preparing their centenary during next 3 years!
The Asian retreat was really a Pentecost of the Salesian secular consecration in the spirit of Don Bosco! As the fruit, i'm sharin the talk of Olga atat the end of the Spiritual retreat (August 14) about three fidelity witness of the VDBs.
1. OUR FIDELITY to GOD: PRAYER OF THE HEART
The act of our faith – God loves me and look at me! If God loves me, he is my only good. If I’m now in this prayer of my heart, the act of faith ‘Here I’m here for you! Good Lord, I give my time to you, just I’m here! Really (as women) we perceive, that God is mad in love with us! As our boy-friend is roaming around us to catch our love! And the most excellent time and place for this hear prayer is in front of the Eucharist. Sometimes we as consecrated people are offering some ‘bancomat-like prayers’ when we ask and keep on asking. Let’s just stay in front of God.
Even as the apostolic secular consecrated people the ‘work’ or ‘activity’ is not the most important. It’s about our trust in God! If we trust in God (like the susurro of DB before his death) we would be able do hundred times more in our life.
2. TO BE FAITHFUL to the WORLD
It means to be and to live, work well in the world. Hence what is good for the world? We could discover this ‘good for the world’ only when we are united with God. The world of today presents so many things as good (work, money, power, honor, beauty etc.) And we are called to make a discernment in order to be good for this world (St. Paul – don’t’ become like ‘of this world’). These are the things we should accept (also in the culture and society) like human rights, beauty and cultural values, social involvement. In the same time we should reject some things like corruption, sinfulness in many ways. We could learn from Christ.
Benedict XVI (still as card. Ratzinger) – told us that the most important virtue for the next millennium is the discern the good and bad in the world. In Europe we already perceive the relativism at any corner of our life, for sure it will reach you also here (all is OK). To be in the world, does not mean to be just ‘modern’, it means to become daily more and more Saints, to continue our discernment ‘what is truly good, what should I reject
3. TO BE FAITHFUL TO DON BOSCO
We are born at Valdocco, in the FMA Oratory. From this place God had sow us all around the world. Don Bosco was always Don Bosco everywhere – in the Oratory, in the prime minister house, in the Church – he was always Don Bosco in any life place and situation. And we try to understand the DB’s physiognomy outside ‘his ecclesial structures’. Really depends on each of us to discover: for example his optimism, his sensitivity for the family spirit everywhere, we could tell he was also a communication expert and he used all his extraordinary gifts for the benefit of the youth. But first of all his deep and great union with God in the world. As you could see, both – the fidelity to the world and to Don Bosco is on the fundament of fidelity to God.
We are the VDB – our will is to be open to these 3 characteristics. Majority of us are not directly working with/ for the youth. But DB is living in our hearts and we bring him to any place around the world – in our offices, between 3 of my collegaues for 8 hrs a day – how can we live it? We could be interested, attentive to their life, all with some problems, and we could enter into their ‘personal environment’ with the same sensitivity of DB. And also to be sensitive to the needs of others wherever we are – in the streets, in the work – don’t just look for your ‘good’ but for the good of the other. IF we are faithful to God, we believe that in every person Jesus Christ is living – and also DB did know it well! We could speak about these 3 important themes all the time, the whole day.
23 years after the start of Cambodia Don Bosco mission in Phnom Penh (1991)
During the first animation visit to the THA – Cambodia Delegation (erected by the Rector Major upon the request of the THA provincial with the first Delegate Superior appointed on February 19,2014 by Fr. Chavez) for 6 days (Aug 4-9, 2014), the Regional councilor EAO visited almost all presences in Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville, Battambang and Poipet.
The most important day was August 6, one full day with all 8 SDB present in Cambodia now (8 other SDB are now studying abroad – 2 in Thailand, Sampran + 2 in Manila, Paranaque + 1 in Melbourne, Australia, 3 on family visit in their respective homeland – Philippines, Ethiopia and Korea).
Fr. Roel Soto, is the first Superior of Cambodia Delegation. During the recollection about the spirit of GC27 (Witnessing) and the assembly of confreres, fr. Klement listened to all dreams and challenges of the starting Delegation, which is a fruit of hard work of more than 25 years old commitment of many pioneer missionaries for the youth of Cambodia.
At present there are 16 SDB, 24 FMA, 6 SIHM sisters, about 24 Salesian Cooperators, some 900 registered Past Pupils of Don Bosco, two incoming VDB aspirants and MHC Past Pupils in the Delegation. This rich vocation growth is a mirror of the young and dynamic Cambodia Catholic community which emerges from the ashes with help of many missionaries from far and wide (3 apostolic vicariates with some 75 priests – only 5 are local Khmer now, many religious, missionary societies and already few thousands of young Catholics).
At the photo Phnom Penh Salesian Cooperators with their Coordinator, Fr. Kai, Thai diocesan missionary working since 2007 in DB Technical School in Phnom Penh.
(at the moment the EAO region has other 3 provincial delegations: the oldest Delegation in FIN: PNG-SI since 2005, VIE-Mongolia Delegation since 2009, ITM-Indonesia Delegation since 2010