Interview with Bro. Filipe Da Conceicao
Fatumaca, Timor Leste, 4 April 2018 -- Br. Filipe (33 years, orginaly from Ermera, Timor Leste - Coffee region) is the only Salesian Brother in the 14 members community of Fatumaca in Timor Leste (senior aspirantate, novitiate, basic education and secondary technical school, parish with 20+ stations). After his specialization (IT technician) in Tirupattur (India - Tamil Nadu state, INM - Chennai Province) is now witnessing the Salesian Brother vocation to 21 novices and 73 junior aspirants of East Timor.
What makes you happy as Salesian Brother?
As Salesian of Don Bosco I’m happy when I’m among the young, including also the stress, but they give me also relief in the same time. The joy of the young give release your own stress, even with some headaches. Also living in the Salesian community gives me joy, when some trouble, supporting each others.
Who is your Salesian model?
As a former student of CENTEC Dili (Vocation Training Center) I met Br. Adriano de Jesus, but during the novitiate by translating the Salesian Saints lives into Tetun, I discovered the Venerable Brother Simon Srugi. He was committed to his mission among the Jews and Muslims serving all around him. I was also attraction by his prayer, especially his personal prayer every day. In this way he was ready to give his life for those and didn’t reserve anything for himself.
What is the specific contribution of Salesian Brother?
Salesian Brother makes the community to be a true Salesian community. If there are only clerics and priests it’s not a true Salesian community anymore according Don Bosco. The presence of both forms of Salesian vocation makes our community complete. Priest are going very often out for sacramental services and the Brothers are always assisting and helping the students, while the priest are out of the education campus.
How can we make the Salesian Brother more visible in the Church?
In our talk with the people of God we need to be more explicit about our identity as Salesians of Don Bosco. Never take for granted that we are SDB – Brothers and Priests! Even the vocation publications are only on the paper, we need to contact directly with people of God, start to explained our true Salesian identity. When the people are looking at the Salesian Brother as the second class, when the Salesian priests speak in public ‘they just skip’ the explicit talk about Salesian Brother! When the Salesian priests are invited to seminars or other public events they could present themselves: “I’m the Salesian of Don Bosco, that means we are Brothers and Priests. And the people would be interested…. to get some information about the Salesian Brothers…”
What does sustain my vocation?
Living my Salesian vocation I’m not sustained by the mission for the young (we may work for them as any other NGO), but we are energized when we are getting closer to Jesus. We chose the Brothers way of life that is sustained by prayer. I’m whispering always always ‘Jesus help me’, this short prayer gives me unlimited help. Also the young people sustain my vocation, when you look at them with all their problem! I became Salesian Brother because of them – it’s truly my vocation to live for them.
Any suggestion for the incoming EAO 2018 Brothers Congress?
I think that all Brothers from our Region should attend the 2018 EAO Brothers Congress. Their participation will strengthen their vocation. In the mutual sharing among Brothers and Priest from many EAO provinces we know better our joys and challenges, it does strengthen our vocation. I have attended the recent (2014) Regional Congress in South Asia (Guwahati). All senior brothers who attended and shared in small groups or in the assembly their experience of consecrated life.