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The 148th Salesian Missionary Expedition is coming

By Cl. Anthony Lo Po Tak, SDB

Turin, Itlay, 15 September -- Among the 22 Salesians - members of the 148th missionary expedition is also one Chinese Salesian from Hong Kong. His destination is 'Project Europe' - Great Britain Province (GBR). Cl. Anthony share his experience after two weeks of the new missionary course.

Immediately after my perpetual profession in Hong Kong last 16 August 2017, I prepared for my journey to Rome for the course for missionaries ad gentes. I am part of 148th Salesian Missionary expedition. I feel truly blessed! I thank God for calling me to be a missionary and for making me as one of His instruments to proclaim the good news—sharing His love and joy to those who have not yet known Him, most especially the young people.

As I go on with our missionary course, I realize all the more how amazing this Salesian Missionary vocation is! We are all from different continents, different countries, and with different culture-background and languages. The fact that we are all different does not prevent us to gather together as a family. There is marked closeness to each other. I believe this is because of the love of God. We were all called by Him to be Salesians. We are living the same vocation in different beautiful ways or styles.

Last two years, I had a chance to spent my practical training in West Africa (AFW Province: Ghana-Nigeria-Sierra Leone-Liberia) to experience missionary life. I realized how blessed are the missionaries because God is always with them, and He grants them abundant graces, He accompanies them on their missionary vocation journey. Surely, I had encounter a lot of difficulties and challenges which I have not experienced before but I felt that God was always with me. His presence gave me strength and courage to overcome the trials along the way. As our Salesian priest, missionary - protomartyr, Saint Calistus Caravario said, “without the grace of God, I cannot do anything; and what I have done is done by God.”

We are now half-way in this month-long missionary course. Through the formation given by experienced missionaries and their sharing about cultures, inculturation, missiology, etc., I am equipped to become a Salesian missionary. Aside from the discussions and sharing, we also have pilgrimages to Holy Places in Rome such as the Basilicas of St. Peter and St. Paul. These where were the historical places where they proclaimed the Gospel, buried or killed.

The pilgrimage allowed me to have a deeper personal reflections on their lives as great followers of Jesus. I gained insight on how they offered their lives for His Kingdom and the salvation of all people. They are really the great models for missionaries. I learned a lot from them. This particular verse in Saint Paul’s letter to the Romans comes to me as an encouragement and inspiration, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” (Romans 10:15).

As Salesian Missionaries, we also need to heighten our missionary enthusiasm and determination. We visited the places that are dear to Don Bosco (from his childhood to his death) to understand more about his missionary motivation and spirit. I enjoy so much the sharing sessions we have everyday. With faith and humility, we are learning from each other, and we are growing in faith together in the presence of God. The Word of God inspires us and disposes us to meditate on the missionary life. Its truly a wonderful experience to be part of and live as a community with this beautiful 148th missionary expedition. The love of God is the greatest key for such closeness and encounter. As a missionary, I deeply realized that I am not going to the new culture, new country to changes, transform or convert them. I am just a human being a mere instrument. It is only God who can transform and convert them. The most important thing for the missionary to do is to let the people experience His Love and guide them towards a closer relationship with God… to make Him known. But before that, I, myself, must have this beautiful experience with God, so that I will be able to accompany them in their own journey towards finding Him in their lives.

The 148th expedition of Salesian Missionaries will be receiving the missionary cross from the hands of the 10th successor of Don Bosco on 24th September in the Mary Help of Christians Basilica. From there, each and everyone of us will go to our destinations to proclaim His Good news to the world.

I will be sent to United Kingdom (GBR province), as a missionary for Project Europe. We need more prayers to strengthen and support us, please pray for us that we may be holy and strong missionaries.

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