EAO Good Night Talk (76)
Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
01 July 2020
Dear confreres and members of the Salesian Family and friends,
Greetings to all of you from Vietnam. I am still “locked down” in Vietnam, since the Italian Embassy has not yet opened for Visa applications. I regret the fact that I cannot be present with the Rector Major and his Council, interacting physically with them face-to-face, which would be the best way. You know that the General Council is having its Summer Sessions.
Fortunately, with modern technology I can attend the daily meetings online. In such a way I have begun sharing in the real life of our Congregation as the Rector Major and his Council interact with local provinces and communities through their reflection, discussion and acts of governance taken for the good of the specific provinces. Maybe you have read the news of our Congregation through ANS (Agenzia iNformazione Salesiana): among the more important news, we have welcomed new provincials/superiors of provinces/vice provinces who have been appointed, and also confreres in charge of various areas of our Salesian services at the congregational level. Among them, with great joy, I would like to mention and ask for your prayers for the new superior of the Vice province of Papua New Guinea, Fr Gregorio Bicomong from the Province of the Philippines North, Bro. Dominic Nguyen Duc Nam, from the Province of Vietnam, who is the new Delegate of The Rector Major for the Salesian Cooperators and Past-Pupils Associations. Let us pray for them and collaborate with them in their new ministries.
My initial assessment is that those meetings have been very spiritual and formative for me. In just a few months I have been obliged to open my heart and my mind to the worldwide Salesian Congregation, with specific confreres, new territories, various services offered to poor youth. Our Congregation has so much potential.
One of the great resources we have, the first of them we might say, are the individuals themselves! Who can translate the Salesian charism into services if not the Salesians, the Salesian Cooperators, our friends of Don Bosco, the past-pupils, lay people in our parishes? Allow me to make some suggestions for all of us:
1- Learn more about Don Bosco, his spirituality and educative approach. Indeed, his educative and pastoral approach to the young is so very much relevant to now. Reading Part 3 of the document on Young People, Faith and Vocational Discernment, we see the ways that the Church wants the young to be accompanied by pastors and educators: “One is outreach, the way we attract new young people to an experience of the Lord. The other is growth, the way we help those who have already had that experience to mature in it.“ You see how Salesian this teaching is!
2- Make Don Bosco known in whatever circumstance we are living and working in. In particular, the young in our oratories/youth centres, schools, parishes. They are the ones who will continue the Salesian mission in the near future.
3- Let each of us make the effort to invite one, two or more people who are attracted to Don Bosco to take part in our journey with the young. Each encounter, whether it is in classroom, on the playground, on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp, is indeed an opportunity. New non-traditional ways of contacting the young and lay people the ‘word in the ear’ [parola nell’orecchio] as Don Bosco passed on to us are open to us in our new Oratory circumstances. As sons of Don Bosco, let us grasp these opportunities as new resources. We will go ahead as God and the Church expect from us.
May God bless us all.
Fr. Joseph Nguyen Thinh Phuoc, SDB
EAO Regional Councillor