in preparation for EAO – Youth Ministry Delegates meeting
2018 (Hua Hin)
Interview with Fr. Joebeth L. Vivo
FIN Province (Philippines North - Malaysia)
EAO Coordinator for Youth Ministry
EAO October 11, 2018 -- One month before the annual meeting of the 12 EAO Provincial Delegates for Youth Ministry (Hua Hin, November 13-16) we publish the first interview that might be helpful for understanding better the joys and challenges of our Delegates and foster more effective animation in our provinces.
The ‘Salesian Youth Ministry Framework’ (3rd ed, 2014) is a fundamental document for each Salesian. How is the knowledge and overall study of this document proceeding?
Yes, I respect very much the translations of the ‘YM Framework’ into the EAO native languages because that is the only way to spread it through many EAO countries. But for us in the Philippines, English is enough; we will have difficultiess if we translate it into Filipino. Although we Delegates were given an orientation on the Frame of Reference in the school of Youth Ministry (RMG – Rome), it is good to assess how much of the Frame of Reference we really do know. And one more thing, the fruit of that is the creation of both the Province OPP and the (province and local) SEPP (Salesian Educative and Pastoral Plan).
How can we foster more effective formation of our Salesians for Youth Ministry?
I really believe that the preparations for the upcoming GC28 by every province will really help. insofar as the question: “What kind of Salesian for the youth of today?” will be deeply discussed. Definitely, after the discussion, we will be able to draw out some of its implications in the formation of confreres, particularly in the field of spirituality and pastoral formation.
By the way, with the two FIN-FIS delegates for Social Communication we have already started concrete talks about a possible Paranaque course for Social Communication and YM. We hope to get some concrete fruits with the Don Bosco Center of Studies in December.
How can we improve our YM animation and praxis in our EAO provinces?
I guess a good start might be to reflect in concrete term on each province's ‘typology of Youth Ministry’ (e.g. mainstream of focus on schools, parishes, social works) or concrete reflection on the obstacles to YM animation due to the specific social or Salesian culture. Honestly, in our reporting, we do not get to appreciate our histories unless we deal right away with every sector in the province. Let us see with the other delegates the best way possible.
What do we need to discern in order to make our Youth Ministry process more effective?
I believe some topics are really very good for sharing: How to balance the almost ‘mono-cultural’ YM set up of concrete provinces (e.g. only school)? How to pass from the SYM stage or mentality, to the overall Youth Ministry animation mentality? Or how to get from the activity center to the process center of our Youth Ministry style? Our good practice sharing might be useful.
We could share our best practices and even our "Waterloos"!
What can we learn from the sharing among different EAO provinces?
I am very much interested in knowing the status of the evangelization process in every EAO province. Initial proclamation has to be understood by all Youth Ministry delegates because Youth Ministry is the locus of evangelization. I just really hope that we are all knowledgeable in initial proclamation.
What is the main contribution of the YM commission in our provinces?
I believe that every (provincial) Youth Ministry Commission has to see to its RESEARCH aspect in order to know what to improve and how to do things for the good of the young. In our province, we are starting to do it, but really the limitation of funds somehow hampers the pursuit of it. If that will be a thrust that the Regional councilor will insist in every province, I believe, it will help a lot in the management and organization of the apostolate. Sometimes, our confreres are not affected by what this or that confrere says; however, when some observations are made through carefully executed studies, then they come to believe.
The Catholic Church in the Philippines is starting 2019 as the “Year of the Youth”. How can the Salesians make the best of this golden opportunity?
Yes, right now we are preparing ourselves for the Year of Youth. The Philippines Church has designated 2019 as Year of the Youth in preparation for the 500th Anniversary of the Christianization of the Philippines in 2021. We, the heads of commissions and some sectors under the leadership of the provincial, started to meet last June and talk about our province preparation.
We realized that we need to renew our Youth Ministry; it is both our means and end. We will not be able to do so if we do not convince the Salesians first to renew their zest and commitment to the mission. For this reason, we took our inspiration from the Strenna of this year (Listening and Accompaniment) and the methodology of the 2018 Synod Working Document to start our renewal.
In our province recollection last August, we asked the young people to talk to us about their situation, about their dreams for the Church, society and themselves. Also a lot of Focus Group Discussions are happening among the young people of all sectors (schools, TVET centers, Oratories and Youth Centers, Parish Youth Ministry, young alumni, online interviews) in order to know them, and their expectations from the Church and the society ( and from us SDBs).
Right now, we have gathered already the results of the Focus Group Discussions and we are trying to process them, validate them with young people. We are very conscious right now that in everything we do, there are young people with us to plan, discuss, articulate, organize and implement the program/activity.
We hope to create objectives based on the data gathered and aligned with the Vision-Mission of the province and the thrust for the Year of the Youth of the local Church. We hope to launch our program on January 31, 2019. Definitely, we look beyond 2019. We see 2019 as the threshold to renew our Youth Ministry.