EAO Good Night Talk (69)
1 December 2019
Thank you, Pope Francis for your visits within our region!
Dear Friends and Salesian Family members,
Receive my heartfelt greetings from Tokyo, just a few days after the memorable visit of Pope Francis to Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Tokyo. Japan was already the 5th country of our region visited by Pope Francis after Korea (2014), Philippines (2015), Myanmar (2017) and Thailand.
Amidst the worldwide turmoil of violent civil protests in all continents, the growing number of local wars, we are glad to witness the humble but powerful moral authority of the successor of St Peter for world peace. We are happy and humbly proud, that our Salesian family was much involved in both apostolic visits: in the social communication of Japan – production, comments on mainstream media (Fr. Abe, Mr. Okawa, Fr. Sekiya), in the music and liturgical animation (choir of Caritas Sisters in Nagasaki and Tokyo; marching band of Thai Salesian schools), in the preparation and animation of youth events with the Pope (Bangkok and Tokyo). Last but not least, the Pope’s cousin, Argentinian missionary in Thailand, Sr Ann Maria Sivori, FMA as the official translator between the Thai King and Pope Francis. And we may ponder the numerous available YouTube videos of these two visits. But a simple question remains for all of us:
What fruits will remain after these wonderful days of Pope Francis in our Region?
Pope Francis spoke volumes through his empathy, personal interest in the marginalized in society, and for victims of our highly competitive and of times ‘merciless’ society. He was not talking to Catholics alone but to all Thai and Japanese people. And the way he was ‘teaching’ was through a very loving attention to the people. He touched the hearts of all. The Pope’s visit was a time for Catholic-minority students to “revive their own faith and for other non-Christians to think about what Christianity is”.
One of his homilies is a magnificent missionary lesson and inspiration for all of us: “…mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, whom the Lord wants to give us and who are absent from our Sunday table (= all those who are poor and suffering, for whatever reason, from being a victim of human trafficking to being enslaved by drug addiction, to facing exploitation because of material need). All of them are part of our family, they are our mothers, our brothers and sisters!” He is simply calling for missionary hearts who can see their faces, their wounds, their smiles and their lives and make them experience the merciful balm of God’s love that heals their wounds and pains. Pope Francis challenges us with his consistent call to become missionary disciples and discover and recognize with joy the faces of all around us as one human family.
Be inspired by the Successor of St Peter and Past Pupil of Don Bosco, Pope Francis! Hopefully in 2020 also Timor Leste, Papua New Guinea (maybe also Indonesia) will be on his travel list!
Fr. Václav Klement, SDB
EAO Regional Councillor