EAO Good Night Talk (43)
Yakutsk – Russia (Siberia)
October 1, 2017
Where is your comfort zone?
Dear Friends and Salesian Family members!
After six weeks of the Korea province extraordinary visitation I’m sharing this Good Night Talk from my first visit to Yakutsk (Russia), one of the most forgotten Salesian missions around the world. I’m happy to celebrate the East Asia ‘Full Moon Autumn Festival’ with five Slovakian SDB confreres in this remote place on the Earth. Already 25 years ago courageous Salesians of Slovakia reached this remote area of former Soviet Union and share with patience and courage the faith in Jesus Christ in not-so-easy place. Thanks to God from this year it becomes an international community!
Some years ago when I asked late Jesuit Cardinal Paul Shan Kuo-hsi of Kaoshiung (1924-2012 about vocations in Taiwan, his tricky answer revealed a deeper truth about our response to God’s call: ‘If you want vocations, you need persecution!’ Today we humbly acknowledge with Pope Francis that as faithful followers of Jesus we need to reach out of our comfort zone. And this missionary ‘out-reach’ does cost us always some pain or little sacrifice. But there is no other way to the Joy of the Gospel!
Just yesterday in Bratislava, Slovakia in the presence of thousands of Salesian Family members, Cardinal Angelo Amato, SDB presided the Beatification of one ‘Martyr for Vocation’ Fr. Titus Zeman, SDB (1915-1969). Although he could continue his Salesian life within the not-so-easy communist regime situation, he dared to sneak across the East-West European ‘Iron Curtain’ guiding three secret expeditions to save precious religious vocation of many young Salesians and other diocesan priests. During the last expedition he was caught and suffered 15 years long and horrible martyrdom in communist prisons!
What sacrifice do we offer for the sake of vocations or for the building of vocation culture? Do we just wait some new candidates will come to our summer camp or monthly vocation encounter (Come and see)? Shining example of Fr. Titus shows us the way.
During the missionary month of October let’s accept Pope Francis invitation to go beyond our comfort zone, to get dirty and also hurt. I deeply believe that only in this way we can experience a deep and lasting Joy of the Gospel! When we cross our peaceful and safe environment of our school, family, parish or friends circle, we taste a true Gospel Joy!
In Don Bosco
Fr. Václav Klement, SDB
EAO Regional councillor