Interview with Bro. Jose Luis, ANS Director
K'Long, Vietnam, 8 August 2018 -- Today is the arrival day of the 7th EAO Salesian Brother Congress participants to K'Long near Dalat City, Vietnam.
Thanks to the loving care and dedication of the Vietnam-Mongolia province organizers (Coordinator Bro. Dominic Nam - celebrating today his Feastday), with other 12 small groups of Brother involved in the logistics of the Congress, everything is 99% ready for tomorrow. Also the 19 SDB prenovices spent one whole week in cleaning and decorating the large house and compound of Don Bosco Retreat Center.
Among those already present in K'Long is also Bro. Jose Luis Munoz, since 2013 the Director of the International Salesian News Agency ANS, based in Rome, Italy. A short interview before the official opening of the 7th EAO Congress.
How was your journey with Don Bosco?
I get know Don Bosco since my school age: from KG until Grade 12 I have studied with the Salesian in Santiago de Chile - capital of Chile (Latin America). Then I received the invitation to become Salesian. In my novitiate met the figure of Br. Zatti and my novice master asked to make the first profession as candidate to the priesthood, but one year later I have asked already to renew my religious vows as Salesian Brother.
Chile and Argentina Salesians have a long history. What can we learn from it?
The I have asked to join the Argentina South province (before Bahia Blanca) because I was enchanted by Patagonia missions, as the first Salesian missionary territory since 1875. And until now Patagonia is a territory with many poor young people and also indigenous minorities. I have been working in the Soc. Communication, first as an IT teacher in the Don Bosco schools in Buenos Aires. This province made a long journey to entrust the apostolic works to the lay mission partners, about 10 years ago, as the real appreciation of the lay people present, felt so important for the effective Salesian mission. Our lay mission partners with the family life witness in the school Educative Pastoral Community bring very charistmatic contribution. In turn the SDB can dedicate more for the animation, closer to the youth and many lay mission partners are involved in administration.
Your journey as Salesian committed to the field of Social Communication?
I was send from Chile to study at the UPS (Salesian Pontifical University in Rome) the specialization in Social Communication (1988-1991) and earned a Licentiate in SC. It was the start of Social Communication for me, although before I was interested about this field. I'm deeply convinced that we need to be more open to this still new and very important field for Don Bosco. After working always in the schools and formation, later on I became involved in formation for Social Communication.
What makes you happy as director of ANS news agency?
The most happy makes me to understand the global vision of our Congreagtion, through the daily news arriving to our ANS office. I'm meeting daily various aspects of Salesian experience I didn’t know before. I understand that we SDB in all five continents are always very creative and finding new ways to be close to the young and DB is greater than you can imagine!
Before coming to Rome - ANS office - for me Bosco work meant just a school and oratory, but now I believe that wherever are the youth in need, Don Bosco is also there. His Salesians are effectively present among the street kids, in the prisons, in the digital playgrounds, in the universities - it makes me very happy! And it’s a gift, that not all Salesians could nourish.
NB: ANS agency means today a large team of 3 professional journalists, there 3 SDB staff in the office and 5 translators and many other correspondents or collaborators around the world.
Your expectations from this EAO Salesian Brother Congress?
For me it’s a special Brother Congress call to deepen the figure of Salesian Brother in our new socio-cultural context. In EAO region the work of Salesians is very much different from the other regions, very rich on a variety of cultural context. For the Salesian Brother this is a very special chance to act.... This Congress might to enhance the figure of SDB in these news multi-cultural and multi-religous contexts.I was impressed by the rich variety of personalities here in the EAO even before starting. And this 2018 EAO Congress might become strongly inspirational experience for other 6 SDB regions around the world. And I’m full of expectation, I would like to learn. I'm glad and happy for the invitation!