The youngest Salesian presence in one land-locked poor country of the ASEAN
Yes, the Salesians have been in Laos for 10 years, since 2004 in fact.
Part of the wonder of this presence is that it was begun under the auspices of the THA Province (under which it remains) but run by a Thai Past Pupil of Don Bosco,
Mr Sanya, from 2004 until 2012 when the first Salesians took up residence. There are now three of them: Fr Tito Pedron, Fr Vincent Minh and Bro Carlo Bacalla.
It is not yet a canonical community, which explains why it is hard to find in the latest 'Annuario'.
So, talking about a new spring in Laos is apt. Laos and the Church in Laos are 'on the move', and the Salesians with them it seems. Member of ASEAN, the WTO, Laos has diplomatic relations with every country in our EAO Region except the Solomon Islands and Samoa. The Salesian activity in Laos comes under MoU status, and part of the recent visit by the Provincial from Thailand and discussions with the Young Communist League concerned renewal of the MoU about to cease this year, and further development.
The Church has seen development from the small 'seeds' of 2 priests in Vientiane in 2004 to 8 in 2014. Across the country, in four Vicariates (as yet there is no diocese), there are now some 20 priests, a good number of religious, 45,000 Catholics. While not yet officially announced, the OMI Postulation following causes of Saints has indicated that May 2015 is an 'almost certain' date for the Beatification of 17 Laotian martyrs, a number of them local catechists, and OMI and MEP missionaries.
With 3 SDBs, 3 FMAs running two Vocational Training Units with boarding facilities (the FMA one is about 3 kms from ours), and with young Laotian aspirants now in Thailand (for the Salesians) and Vietnam (for the Sisters), some 650 or more past pupils from over the decade, we can say that the Salesian presence in Laos is established.
Thailand - Northern region of Chiang Mai
is one of the most interesting places in the EAO region. Amidst the Buddhist country there is a vibrant diocese of CHIANG MAI, with a Bishop Virat, past pupil (Catechetics from the UPS, Rome) and some 100 priests, 60.000 Catholic faithful and 20.000 catechumens
Since 2002 the Salesian Family is present (SDB, FMA and SIHM congregations).
Our Catechetical center, Parish of Mae Rim, Don Bosco hostel village for the Catholic indigenous youth and Farm (agriculture to sustain this work, about 30 hectars) are slowly growing. The fruits are multiple and abbundant!
Some 30 youth (mainly tribal - ethnic - indigenous origin from the Chiang Mai hill areas) are taking two year catechetical course under the guidance of Fr. Ekasit (7 years). Work entrusted by the bishop already 10 years ago.
Some 70+ youth are living with two Salesians in the DB village and daily commuting to 3 different schools (technical, academic and agricultural) according their skills - with a daily Eucharist, daily Football and daily cooking... really a Valdocco family spirit.
The most interesting was the meeting with 15 young Aspirants to the Salesian life, high school students. As a matter of fact, now majority of Ban Nazareth (Banpong-Thailand) college Aspirants are coming from this area of Chiang Mai. During the meeting after the Eucharist these Aspirants I realized their strong and healthy background (Catholic families in the villages, eager to growth as students, Catholics and do something good for the Church. Indeed something like "happy, sacrifice, asking why 'The Salesians are so important"? and their interest shows the gift of faith in this Northern part of Thailand.
July 26, 2014
Last two weeks in Myanmar was a time of grace:
* to live 8 of the 10 Salesian presences in the country
* to listen to 60+ Salesians of Golden Land (average age of 33 years!)
* to share their joys, difficulties, dreams and plan for the future (NOT YET!)
* to start 6 year journey of accompaniment of this youngest Vice-province in EAO region (2004)
On the photo one of the 13 students of theology, Br. Clement (Yan Naing Htun) just finished his practical training in the "Wa region" of Shan State - the most significant and historical Salesian mission territory in this country (Lashio Apostolic Prefecture was entrusted to the SDB 1976-1990). Given almost the 'same name' one of the last picture in Yangon formation house during the farewell dinner was Klement (EAO regional) and Clement (cleric - who spent last year of his practical training 5 months alone... responsible of one school and boarding house!)
With a thanks to God for the blessing of many vocation in Burma.
With a prayer to Mary for their still not-so-easy situation.
With a promise to stay with them (82 SDB+3 novices) as companion of journey!
Mary, Help of Christians, pray for Myanmar Salesians!
500 years ago the light of the Catholic faith reached this wonderful land.
This year after the beatification of the first Burmese - Catechist Isidoro Ngei Ko Lat (Martyr +1950)
This year after the celebrations of 75 years of Salesians in Burma (1938-2013)
This year my first visit to this beautiful land with so great richness of cultures and religions.
Due to the 50 years-long isolation from the rest of the Salesian world, now the young (average age 31 years!)
Viceprovince needs to get a fresh Gospel air in order to witness with joy Jesus every day.
Please, pray for our brothers in this Golden Land!
Today we celebrate the Feast of 120 Holy Martyrs of China.
Today we pray for the whole Christian community in this country.
Today we entrust to the intercession of the thousands of China martyrs the present challenges 'to be a Christian, a Catholic in China today! Today we entrust to their intercession the growth of faith in action, the vocation growth and the unity among all Catholics in this largest country in the world.
St. Agostin Zhao and companions (mons. Versiglia and fr. Caravario included!) pray for us!
6. Saint Joseph Zhang Dapeng, a lay catechist, and a merchant.
10. Saint Joseph Yuan, a Chinese diocesan priest.
11. Saint Paul Liu Hanzuo, a Chinese diocesan priest, killed in 1819.
13. Saint Thaddeus Liu, a Chinese diocesan priest.
14. Saint Peter Liu, a Chinese lay catechist.
15. Saint Joachim Ho, a Chinese lay catechist.
16. Saint John Gabriel Perboyre, C.M.
18. Saint Laurence Bai Xiaoman, a Chinese layman,
24. Saint John Peter Néel, a priest MEP missionary
25. Saint Martin Wu Xuesheng, lay catechist,
26. Saint John Zhang Tianshen, lay catechist,
27. Saint John Chen Xianheng, lay catechist,
28. Saint Lucy Yi Zhenmei, lay catechist.
37. Saint Mary Hermina of Jesus (in saec: Irma Grivot),
38. Saint Mary of Peace (in saec: Mary Ann Giuliani),
39. Saint Mary Clare (in saec: Clelia Nanetti),
40. Saint Mary of the Holy Birth (in saec: Joan Mary Kerguin),
41. Saint Mary of Saint Justus (in saec: Ann Moreau),
42. Saint Mary Adolfine (in saec: Ann Dierk),
43. Saint Mary Amandina (in saec: Paula Jeuris).
44. Saint John Zhang Huan, seminarian,
45. Saint Patrick Dong Bodi, seminarian,
46. Saint John Wang Rui, seminarian,
47. Saint Philip Zhang Zhihe, seminarian,
48. Saint John Zhang Jingguang, seminarian,
49. Saint Thomas Shen Jihe, layman and a manservant,
50. Saint Simon Qin Chunfu, lay catechist,
51. Saint Peter Wu Anbang, layman,
52. Saint Francis Zhang Rong, layman and a farmer,
53. Saint Matthew Feng De, layman and neophyte,
54. Saint Peter Zhang Banniu, layman and labourer.
To these are joined a number of Chinese lay faithful:
62. Saint Mary Zhu born Wu, aged about 50 years,
63. Saint Petrus Zhu Rixin, aged 19,
64. Saint Ioannes Baptista Zhu Wurui, aged 17,
65. Saint Mary Fu Guilin, aged 37,
66. Saint Barbara Cui born Lian, aged 51,
67. Saint Joseph Ma Taishun, aged 60,
68. Saint Lucia Wang Cheng, aged 18,
69. Saint Maria Fan Kun, aged 16,
70. Saint Mary Qi Yu, aged 15,
71. Saint Maria Zheng Xu, aged 11 years,
72. Saint Mary Du born Zhao, aged 51,
73. Saint Magdalene Du Fengju, aged 19,
74. Saint Mary Du born Tian, aged 42,
75. Saint Paul Wu Anju, aged 62,
76. Saint Ioannes Baptista Wu Mantang, aged 17,
77. Saint Paulus Wu Wanshu, aged 16,
78. Saint Raymond Li Quanzhen, aged 59,
79. Saint Peter Li Quanhui, aged 63,
80. Saint Peter Zhao Mingzhen, aged 61,
81. Saint John Baptist Zhao Mingxi, aged 56,
82. Saint Teresa Chen Jinjie, aged 25,
83. Saint Rose Chen Aijie, aged 22,
84. Saint Peter Wang Zuolong, aged 58,
85. Saint Mary Guo born Li, aged 65,
86. Saint Joan Wu Wenyin, aged 50,
87. Saint Zhang Huailu, aged 57,
88. Saint Mark Ji Tianxiang, aged 66,
89. Saint Ann An born Xin, aged 72,
90. Saint Mary An born Guo, aged 64,
91. Saint Ann An born Jiao, aged 26,
92. Saint Mary An Linghua, aged 29,
93. Saint Paul Liu Jinde, aged 79,
94. Saint Joseph Wang Kuiju, aged 37,
95. Saint John Wang Kuixin, aged 25,
96. Saint Teresa Zhang born He, aged 36,
97. Saint Lang born Yang, aged 29,
98. Saint Paulus Lang Fu, aged 9,
99. Saint Elizabeth Qin born Bian, aged 54,
100. Saint Simon Qin Chunfu, aged 14,
101. Saint Peter Liu Ziyu, aged 57,
102. Saint Anna Wang, aged 14,
103. Saint Joseph Wang Yumei, aged 68,
104. Saint Lucy Wang born Wang, aged 31,
105. Saint Andreas Wang Tianqing, aged 9,
106. Saint Mary Wang born Li, aged 49,
107. Saint Chi Zhuzi, aged 18,
108. Saint Mary Zhao born Guo, aged 60,
109. Saint Rose Zhao, aged 22,
110. Saint Maria Zhao, aged 17,
111. Saint Joseph Yuan Gengyin, aged 47,
112. Saint Paul Ge Tingzhu, aged 61,
113. Saint Rose Fan Hui, aged 45.
114. Saint Alberic Crescitelli, a PIME missionary priest