Interview with Fr Achile Loro Piana
Tokyo, Japan, 8 January 2019 -- A further interview with a Salesian Delegate to the Cooperators, this time from Japan.
What makes you happy as the Salesian Cooperator Delegate?
Obviously, what makes me happy as the Salesian Cooperator Delegate is the chance to come into contact with people who love Don Bosco and share his values. Their lay Salesianity enriches and completes my religious Salesianity. I feel happy when I see that the Cooperators understand that their vocation and life is the realization of Don Bosco's dream. Since the beginning of the Valcocco Oratory he had wanted many people to help him in his work for the young. I have taken part in four EAO regional congresses and two World congresses of the Salesian Cooperators Association: meeting Cooperators from all over our EAO and from around the world is a marvellous experience.
What helps the Salesian Cooperators grow in their vocation?
I think that what makes Salesian Cooperators grow, especially where their vocation is concerned, is a clear idea and healthy practice of the principle of autonomy. The delegate will show understanding, provide good input and words of encouragement, but they themselves have to walk toward their objectives and goals. And this can also be said about finding new vocations. The vocation of the Salesian Cooperator will grow and strengthen in proportion to their commitment to their concern for the vocation of others.
What are the major challenges in the vocation growth of the Salesian Cooperators?
Obviously the challenges vary according to provinces. In Japan the fact that a good number of Salesian Cooperators are no longer young creates many challenges. The implementation of a Salesian Cooperator’s vocation and mission varies according to age. The challenge is a twofold one: the first would be to help the “no longer young Cooperators” to find the way to live their vocation and the second would be to help the young ones to live the project of life.
How do you prepare yourself as Delegate to the Salesian Cooperators?
Praying for them is the first step in preparation. The next step is to deepen my knowledge of the spirit of Don Bosco and Salesianity in general. I try to get news about the Salesian Family both at EAO and world level that I can share with them: I realize that that is especially profitable for those who are not familiar with the internet.
What kind of exchange among the EAO Salesian Cooperators do you dream about?
Involvement in EAO regional meetings is very good and helpful, but there are other kinds of exchange, like that of the two Filipino Cooperators who were recently warmly welcome by Cooperators from the Yokkaichi and Osaka group.
What do you expect from the 2019 EAO Formators Workshop in Cambodia?
I expect the presentation of broad guidelines for formation that can be put into practice depending on the different situation and scale of the provinces.
How do you put the four pillars of formation into practice?
I think it is important to make good discernment, through dialogue, to find out what we can do and what we cannot do, what is relevant for us and what might be secondary in our context and situation. We have an excellent “Guidelines and indications” book for formation. I think that for the Japanese Cooperators it is very important to deepen their understanding of Chapter One where the Human, Christian and Salesian dimensions are well presented and explained.