Port Moresby, PNG, 30 June 2018 -- We seven Melanesian Salesians had an encounter together with the Provincial of the PGS Province Fr. Alfred Maravilla, SDB from 27th-30th of June at the Provincial House Port Moresby, PNG. I was very happy that I was part of the group discussing how the Salesian charism could be inculturated in the Melanesian culture.
The three days of discussions and interactions centered on how we, Melanesian Salesians, con root the charism of Don Bosco in this part of the world. We realised that our Melanesian values, worldview and cultures are the soil on which our Salesian charism can take root, grow and produce more abundant fruit.
It was a first of its kind experience for us Melanesian Salesians which helped us first to become more aware of our need to grow in the critical appreciation of our cultural values in order to discover what elements of our cultures are of the Gospel and what are not, which of these elements are compatible with our charism and which are not and, in the final analysis, what needs to be maintained, healed, perfected or even rejected.
We are aware that this ‘melanesianess’ is the special gift that the Salesian Society is awaiting from us. However, our discussions and reflections made us realise as well that rooting Don Bosco’s charism in Melanesia is a slow and continuous process that demands patience and discernment accompanied by critical reflection and prayer.
We also acknowledge that as locals there are elements of our values and cultural practices which sometimes we do not fully perceive. Hence, we are grateful to our expatriate confreres who journey with us and help us to discover our blind spots. This is why both Melanesian and expatriate Salesians of our Vice-Province all have a contribution to make in inculturating Don Bosco’s charism.
We concluded this first encounter by taking up the commitment to live faithfully our Salesian Constitutions as the first and necessary step in inculturating Don Bosco’s charism in Melanesia.
On the final day we celebrated the Eucharist in the Avior Haus aspirantate followed by an enlightening dialogue with our 14 college aspirants and a fraternal meal the Melanesian way!.
We look forward that this be an annual event as a way of accompanying us in this lifetime journey of making Don Bosco’s charism grow and bear fruit in Melanesia.