Salesian Brother EAO statistics 2018
EAO, 6 August 2018 -- With the imminent start of the 7th EAO Salesian Brother Congress in Vietnam, many would ask ''Indeed how many are the Salesian Brothers among the 1422 Salesians SDB in our Region (January 1, 2018)?"
Few years ago Fr. Pascual Chavez, our Rector Major emeritus insisted many times that "Our statistics should be read as the Word of God: Listen to the SDB statistics with respect, reflection and prayer. And in the same time to interpret them like to Word of God for our life". Approaching to the 7th EAO Congress we interpret our EAO statistics with calm reflection and prayer.
At present there are 53 temporary professed and 155 perpetually professed Brothers - total of 208 Salesian Brothers in the 12 provinces and 23 countries of EAO region.
First insight is very simple: within the context of the World SDB community with diminishing number of Salesian Brothers, our EAO region together with Africa-Madagascar region stands out as the only two 'Salesian Brother growing region'. Since the birth of the EAO we have 20 Salesian Brothers more than in 2002 (Africa grew of 21 Brothers). And in the meantime the total number of Salesian Brothers around the world diminished by 626 units, from 2260 Brothers in 2002 to 1634 Salesian Brothers in 2018.
Second insight speaks about the changing geography of Salesian Brothers in our Region: 60 years ago the China province had the largest number of Brothers (file photo of 1958 - Hong Kong), now the first place is taken by Vietnam (62 Brothers). Few provinces keep stable number of Brothers: AUL and FIS, other provinces show diminishing trend CIN, GIA, KOR, FIN and instead the last group is composed of growing number of Salesian Brothers: INA, MYM, PGS, THA, TLS and VIE.
Third insight is about the presence or total absence of Brothers: There are 9 of 23 countries without local Salesian Brother: Fiji, New Zealand, Samoa, Pakistan, PNG, Solomon Islands, Malaysia, Laos and Mongolia. And we are grateful to welcome the first local Brother from Cambodia. The presence or absence of Salesian Brother in the provincial council (CIN, FIN, MYM), in the formation commissions or absence in the aspirantate, prenovitiate and novitiate makes also impact on our charismatic balance of lay and clerical element.
There are many ways we can reflect on our statistics. What are the factors that foster solid growth of Salesian Brother vocation in most of our provinces? What makes one provincial community 'Salesian Brother friendly'? There are many point the 7th EAO Congress will reflect on the statistics, but one thing is sure. Main impact on the Salesian vocation growth is not from 'outside' (general culture, Catholic church clericalism, family pressure etc), but main impact does execise our 'Salesian culture' created within each EAO provincial community. This fact was already confirmed 12 years ago in the 5th EAO Congress in Cambodia.
'Each call is an indication that the Lord love the Congregation, wants to see it vibrant for the good of the Church and never cease to enrich it with new apostolic energy.' (SDB Constitutions art. 22)