Interview with the youngest Salesian Brother in the EAO region
Tokyo, Japan, 24 November 2017 -- Brother Tsubaki with his 22 years of age is probably the youngest Salesian Brother in the EAO region, member of the Tokyo - Chofu formation house, attending the 3rd year of the Mei-Sei University in Tokyo. He made his first profession last April 25, 2017 together with one candidate to the priesthood Cl. Iguchi (related article). Br. Luke is a fruit of the Salesian Aspirantate in Yokkaichi, where he attended the 6 years of High School.
What makes you joyful as Salesian Brother?
I’m still as student, the difference between Salesian Brother and Cleric, at the level of works is not easy to grasp.
As a consecrated person I feel the happiness through the relationship with God in prayer and action, when I feel the presence of God in my life. Concretely in our daily morning meditation, Mass and monthly revision of life with confession that stays at beginning and centre of my religious life. Also God gives me joy when I stay with the young people and personally when He is helping in my own difficulties.
Who is your Salesian Brother model?
Since I’m the youngest among all Salesians in Chofu, Br. Takeshita (the second youngest) is close to me. Every day and week observe his joyful commitment to work and see also the concrete fruits of his social communication work for the good of the whole Japan province. Another Salesian Brother, Sudo, is the assistant of our postnovice group. With him for the first time in my life, I see concretely that ‘to stay amidst of the young 24/24’ is not the only way to live our Salesian vocation. Even if Br. Sudo is not directly involved in the youth ministry, he is very committed to his daily task with constant dedication - as our Assistant - Formator, future Provincial Secretary and still working in the Salesio Polytechnic Administration Office.
Can we imagine a complete Salesian community without Brother?
While I see the reality of our province, with many senior confreres, there is also growing ane younger generation of Brothers, althoug they are not present in many communities. Through the reading, listening to the life of Don Bosco I know, that there should be always Brother present, it is an ideal situation. I think that with the presence of Salesian Brother our Salesian mission is more effective and complete. I don’t’ know yet about my future, but I think my duty for me is to do what the clerics and priest can’t do. This would be my task!
How to make the vocation of Salesian Brother more visible in the Church?
As newly professed Salesian I still miss the wider horizons. For this reason I expect a lot from the sharing in the EAO Salesian Brother Congress 2018. I hope to be there in Vietnam with an open mind. Within our peculiar situation of Catholic Church in Japan, many still look (only) for the spiritual help from the priests. As Salesian Brother I can stay closer to the lay people and I can help them from my position as consecrated lay Salesian religious.
How was the discernment about your Salesian vocation?
From my elementary school until the period of the Aspirantate in Yokkaichi – especially during the last year (grade 12), I had only dream to become a priest. After entering the Chofu formation house, my first feeling was - I need to become a true Salesian before become a priest.
At the beginning of the novitiate I was thinkng only about Salesian priesthood, but then reflecting on my being a Salesian consecrated to God through the mission for the young, I was enlightened: As priest we need to go through the hierarchical steps of ordination, but I felt more attraction to stay at the same level with the youth and the lay people. So in the discernment process I didn’t identify myself with the ministerial duties of the priesthood.
My novicemaster encouraged me to find out my style of being Salesian, I felt joy, serenity and peace after this meeting. After submitting the draft of my first profession application addressed to the provincial, Fr. Oka did check my formulation and told me: 'It's not clear, you are telling only ‘I would like to be a priest’. After his remark I realized that I need to be more serious with my decision. Then I wrote clearly: I would like to become a Salesian brother. And Father Oka told my one prophecy: "If you become priest, I’m happy. But if you will become Salesian brother, I will be more happy." It was his last recommendation before his stroke. Now he is in Sakuramachi hospital for past 10 month.
What do you like to listen from the other Salesian Brothers during the 2018 Congress?
First of all we have only few models of Salesian Brother. I'm interested to know, how do they live the same Salesian life and mission and know them also personally. I would like to make friends with Brothers from other provinces. Last year as novice I met already few of them in Cebu during our one month stay in the inter-provincial novitiate.