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EAO and South Asia Initial Proclamation: Way Forward (V)

By Our Own Correspondent

Sam Phran, Thailand, 18 August 2017 -- On the fifth and last full day (August 18) of the EAO and South Asia Inter-regional Missionary Animation and Formation seminar in Sam Phran, Thailand the 80 SDB and FMA participants drew the practical action conclusions for their provinces.

After morning presentation about suggested action for Initial Proclamation of Jesus in different environments (Rural communities, Ethnic minorities, School - Vocation Training Center, City, Youth Center - Oratory) that emerged in the mixed groups (SDB-FMA) followed the province time for reflection about the Action Plan. Each group of SDB-FMA provinces were asked to discuss in depth the Seminar inspiration and insights, then discern two common lines of action in each province.

The most common resolutions that emerged in the groups:

  • Foster own personal spiritual life, especially the listenful and prayerful reading of the Word of God

  • Stir awareness about IP through different formation opportunities

  • Formation seminar or spiritual retreat of Salesian Family, based on Initial Proclamation material translation to our EAO languages

  • Collection on Initial proclamation experience from all local communities, shared through means of social communication, especially through the social media (!)

  • Living Salesian life witness especially in the accompaniment of the young people

  • Reason (awareness) about IP, Religion (revitalize missionary fire), Loving Kindness (ready to meet the needs of poor youth and families)

  • Evaluate our present ministries in the light of Initial Proclamation

  • Enkindle the missionary fire of the Salesian Family members

  • Synergy among all mission sectors: students, family ministry, formation houses

  • To live in a permanent state of mission through deeper personal experience of Jesus, strengthening of our apostolic consecration identity

  • To strengthen awareness and understanding of Initial Proclamation in each Educative and Pastoral community and within each house of initial formation

  • Give common formation (10) modules for the SDB-FMA provinces (2011)

  • Common mission animation month for urgent mission needs (SDB-FMA, FIN-FIS)

  • Avoid two extremes-dangers: becoming an NGO or degenerate to proselytizing actions

  • Becoming interested in people - interesting people – since relationship is important

  • Foster awareness first from the provincial council, rectors as well with joint YM and Missionary Animation commission. Then also in the Salesian Family and among our Lay Mission Partners

Before the thanksgiving and award - gift distribution two General Councilors for the Missions (SDB and FMA) shared their final remarks. We report the three main points shared by Fr. Guillermo Basanes, SDB:

  1. Animation on behalf of the Initial Proclamation of Jesus
    • We should be never tired of animating, to keep the missionary flame burning!
    • Let us not allowed by robbed of our biggest treasure, missionary spirit - the joy of evangelization (Evangelii Gaudium, n.80)
    • In the Initial proclamation life style we need always ponder the time factor 'Time is greater than space' (Evangelii Gaudium, n.222)
    • The Icon of this seminar might be the parable of the sower (Mark Gospel chapter 4) since we are working without knowing the time of harvest time and concrete effects. One meaningful story from a Muslim country, where the FMA school past pupils shared in this way: 'Also today, 25 years after graduation, whenever I meet a Christian, something is vibrating in me! Attraction to Christians started in the FMA school when I was a student. The sisters loved us so much, that they never proposed me to become a Christian!’ This was the best fruit of limitless love of the Salesian Sisters – fruits harvested maybe only 20-30 years later. Initial proclamation is not about 10 or 15% Christians in our schools, this is a human calculation! We need to growth in the humble and patient life style of initial proclamation.

  2. Awareness – understand what the Initial Proclamation is about
    • Only assiduous study of the missionary disciple is a guarantee for the fruitful mission. We treasure the insistence on the intellectual formation shared by Archbishop Thomas! Lack of our depth will cause a failure of the mission. Depends on ‘how do you study’!
    • All of us need to continue to study in order to be a good missionary. Blessed confusion is the best fruit – a sign of further personal study need!
    • Conversion of the grandmother in the family of Sr. Maria, one of the best stories shared during the seminar. It's a strong invitation always to convert our own community first. Missionary animation among the young is the easiest is very easy, however to convert our own community

  3. Synergy in the Initial Proclamation lifestyle is a must!
    • We can succeed only as joint commission, not with an isolated working style
    • Togetherness as Salesian Family should be fostered! We have a lot to learn from all (small!) missionary groups within the Salesian Family. Each group has some missionary wisdom and experience to tell! Good Night Talk about the early SDB - FMA missionaries is fine, but we need to see the whole reality of Salesian Family today!
    • * For the next seminar at the regional or provincial level we always need to think, plan, work and act as one Salesian Family!

After the last supper on August 18 was prepared an unforgettable cultural evening prepared both by the seminar participants and the students of the FMA Sam Phran academic school and the vocation training center for the bling. Especially the very creative moderation by Fr. 'Ding' Cortez, SDB (FIN) and Sr. Theresa Joseph, FMA (INB) contributed to the awesome family spirit. Dances, action songs and performance of the students with the involvement of the whole group was a worthy last moment of the whole seminar.

On Saturday, August 19, will follow one full day of Provincial delegates for missionary animation meeting in two separate groups - SDB and FMA. Each Region will share the provincial and regional journey. Since last 2014 the EAO region opted for annual meeting of Missionary animation delegates to foster their more effective formation and accompaniment.

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