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7th EAO Salesian Brother Congress opened in K’Long, Vietnam
180 Salesians of Don Bosco at the Congress


K’Long, Vietnam, 9 August 2018 -- The 7th EAO Salesian Brother Congress was open in Don Bosco Retreat House in K’Long, Vietnam in the large community composed of 180 Salesians (155 Brothers and 25 Priests) and 19 prenovices from all 12 EAO provinces. The truly global assembly includes also participants from other 6 SDB regions of Africa, America, Asia and Europe, including 4 members of the General Council. One Salesian Brother reached the venue by bicycle all the way from Vientiane, the capital of Laos at distance more than 300 km. Four days event is held under the words of Jesus: ‘And you all are brothers’ (Mt 23,8).

After the morning prayers and Eucharistic celebration (memory of Blessed Artemide Zatti) presided by Fr. Ivo Coelho (General councilor for Formation) the first morning session was open through the prayer offered by Br. Joe Ferrer (FIN), one of the few living participants of the 1975 Salesian Brother World Congress and greeting of the Vietnam-Mongolia province Superior Fr. Joseph Nguyen Van Quang.

In the first 90 minutes session the EAO Regional councilor introduced all 180 present SDB, some of them just arrived this morning, including Br. Jean Paul Muller. The international, multi-generational, multi-cultural Salesian community that come together for these 4 days was invited to strive to become ‘One heart and one soul’ building the Salesian family spirit in spite of the languages, country of provenience. In order to harvest many fruits in the provinces the participants were given five booklet – EAO Salesian Brother directory (all 215 EAO Brothers), Prayer booklet and fruits of the last one year journey – Evaluation and reflection summary, 60+ Salesian Brother interview booklet as well the video clips in digital form.

Why are we here? - Main motivation for this 7th EAO Congress

  1. Unless we have all Salesian communities complete with one Salesian Brother, we need to raise the clear awareness about one Salesian vocation in two forms
  2. Almost 25% of EAO Salesian Brothers belong to the Vietnam-Mongolia province
  3. Continue very fruitful tradition of EAO Brother Congress from 1986 (every 6 years) until now
  4. Discover art. 45 of Salesian Constitutions (complementarity of Salesian Brother and Priest)
  5. Salesian Brother presented as the best medicine to the dangerous virus of clericalism

What did we learn during last year long preparation journey?

Indeed it’s a true Salesian discernment process with all 3 steps: Listen – Interpret – Decide Way forward, that involved hundreds of Salesians in all 23 countries of our Region.

  1. About 80 EAO Brothers were involved in their (vocation) storytelling through interviews
  2. Deep our Reflection about Religious Brother in the Church ‘And you all are Brothers (Mt 23,8) or/and on the Talk of Fr. Andrea Bozzolo (Two forms of one Salesian vocation)
  3. Deeply felt need to raise the visibility of Salesian Brother
  4. Great need of Salesian Brother presence in SDB structures of animation and government (Reg 169)
  5. Discover the great impact of holy Salesian Brothers – esp. Simon Srugi, Artemide Zatti..

How can we contribute to the fruitful Congress?

  1. Listening to each other in any possible way – Open heart
  2. Active participation in the group sharing – Sharing
  3. Creativity and initiative – Suggestions and Questions

How can we harvest fruits in our EAO provinces after the Congress?

  1. Share the EAO Congress experience – spirit and materials in our provinces
  2. Personal and Province level resolution – discern and make them our journey until 2024
  3. What kind of Salesians for the young people of EAO? – keep going the GC28 question
  4. ramework of our reflection about the 5 important elements that strengthen Salesian vocation
    1. WHO WE ARE? – Our awareness about Salesian consecrated identity (Do we believe?)
    2. ONLY TOGETHER WE ARE – Without the other we can’t be ourselves (complementarity)
    3. EFFECTIVE ONGOING FORMATION within the limits of our context and community
    4. SALESIAN BROTHER VOCCATION PROMOTION – foster the Salesian Brother visibility
    5. VOCATION DISCERNMENT – initiation to the Salesian consecrated life (aspirant-prenov-novices)

The 4 days EAO Salesian Brother Congress is covered by the VIE province social communication group (SC Delegate – Fr. Peter Chinh) with assistance of highly professional Catholic media lay mission partners, including also live streaming.

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