Young people marginalized within the society - Yakutia (III)
By Fr. Pavol Michalka, SDB
Rector of Aldan, Yakutia
Aldan, Yakutia - Sakha Republic (Russian Federation), 8 October 2017 -- “Young People marginalized within the society" This is one (4th) of the 6 themes of our ‘Yakutia Catholic Mission Silver Jubilee’ we celebrate during this year 2017. First of all three inspiration hints to this theme:
‘Our youth like comfort. They behave not really well. Youth does not like an authority and does not respect the elders. Children are talking back to their parents, are not polite and are teasing their teachers’ (Sokrates – Ancient Greek Philosopher who lived 2400 years ago).
‘To be a teacher–educator, is a difficult, heavy profession, that demands the whole soul, does paralyze your imagination, is sucking your energy from your body. Children who come to the school are bad, hardheaded, bad educated beings, full of malice, spoiled by their comfort, by instinct often not-friendly and not very gifted. After 5 hours of class I’m coming back home really exhausted both physically and psychologically, without much of energy!’ (Otakar Březina, 1891 - Czech writer, poet and teacher, 9 times was Nobel Prize nominee for Literature)
‘When the gods wanted to revenge, they make him an educator!' (Old Chinese proverb)
However completely different, strongly positive relationship to the young people we can see in Jesus’s example, when he praised His Father for choosing the little once and not-so-wise people. When we speak about ‘little once’ we can think also about simple, countryside adults, who believe in Jesus Christ without any sophisticated reflections.
As Don Bosco sons we can learn a similar positive attitude of our Holy Founder. We try to follow Jesus and Don Bosco in many youth education activities, when we are ready to do any sacrifice in order to bring the young on the right path of salvation. We are also encouraged by Pope Francis who is writing to the young people about the incoming Bishop Synod 2018 (Youth, Faith and Vocation discernment). During these two months we try get closer to our youth, serve them better and find more time in order to listen and talk to them! And we try to pray for each one of our children and youth, name by name!
We are present in our town of Aldan (16.000 inhabitants) already for past 25 years. The Oratory, visiting our Catholic families, being close to the scattered Catholics in some nearby villages and also in the second largest Yakutia city of Neryungri. During summer through the youth camps and retreats, over the year in a humble way reaching and visiting the families of our small diaspora church.
At present we are two Salesians and one lady-volunteer living at the Catholic Church of Aldan. We are proud of our first Yakutia novice (Nikolaj in Poprad, Slovakia) who is first among the five candidates over past 25 years who joined the Salesian Congregation. Our small Catholic community does pray for Nikolaj every day. Together with many catechumens and new Catholics Nikolaj is the most visible fruit of our journey with the young over past 25 years.