SALESIAN ANNUAL VOCATION CAMP - INDIAN STYLE
Every year in most of the Salesian Provinces of India during the month of May is organized a wonderful vocation camp. Not just 2-3 days as we are accustomed in most of EAO provinces. It's a very joyful, overhelming Salesian family spirit experience. Usually most of the 70 or 100 participants are eager to join the Aspirantate soon.
Interesting news is from the TIRUCHY (INT) province:
John the Baptist directed his disciples to Jesus and they followed him. Like Don Bosco, a promoter of vocations, the Salesian priests and brothers in our provinces promote vocations to our congregation. Many priests, religious, parents, relatives and friends direct young souls to our Salesian Congregation. The vocation promoter too goes to many of our Catholic institutes in our province to address the Catholic students and to make them know about Don Bosco, Salesians and the Salesian mission in the province, in the nation and in the whole world.
Youngsters who wish to follow Don Bosco as a brother or as a priest is given a first-hand experience of Salesian life and Salesian ministry in the vocation camp organized as “come and see” programme. There are two one day camp during the year and one 20 days camp organized in the summer.
Those who express their desire to become Salesians are directed to the Vocation Promoter, who visits their houses, chats with them and examines them. He has a regular follow up and they all are brought together in the ‘come and see’ vocation camps and further followed up in apostolic schools, aspirantate or in the pre-novitiate.
The vocation camp, organized in the summer is a 20 day programme packed with animations, fun, learning, games and prayer. The students are made known about the different facets, mission and Salesian life in the province and in the whole world through animations by priests and brothers from the different commissions of the province, from the different missions of the provinces and from various other houses. They are also introduced to live among their peers packed with activities, games, competitions and classes where we can see them in team work.
The vocation camp isfilled with events that would give them a spiritual experience. Starting with the morning prayers, Eucharist, Rosary, personal prayer, meditations, and other animated prayer moments the camp would be a living spiritual experience. The sharing of their own personal vocation story and preaching by the visiting priests and brothers would also add beauty to their spiritual experience.
Adoration and recollection (preparation for happy death) are for many a first-hand experience of Don Bosco spirituality. The first class of the day would be handled by the vocation promoter, who would animate the students about Salesiana and Religious life. There are also Catechism classes which would give the students basic knowledge about bible and basic Catechism.
The students are given intellectual training through Spoken English and Grammar classes. The 8th standard students are also given basic Mathematicsclasses. There arequiz competitions and all the students are trained to memorize the English prayers. There are study times every day for an hour and the students are also given reading practice for 15minutes every day. The intellectual ability of the students can be seen with the marks that they scored in the final examinations.
The students remain active all through the vocation camp programme with the various events. The day starts with exercises in the morning soon after they rise. The afternoon break of 45 minutes for their recreation is marked with games. Everyday games make them alive and active. The special event of the camp in which they could exhibit their physical ability and competence isthe Sports day organized during the camp.Their human dimension like living together, sharing, helping, etc. are all lived out in moments of living together, eating together and other moments of games and competitions. Conferences and other instructions are aimed at the growth in human dimension.
Each day is marked with a special event. It includes, Singing competition, Dance competition, Fancy Dress competition, Drawing competition, Skit competition, Night Olympics, Marian Nite, Don Bosco Nite, Bible Quiz, Jesus Nite, Camp fire, etc. The students will have enough fun, joy and enjoyment during the camp fire and other activities. They exhibit their talents, skills and intelligence during the competitions and other activities. The Picnic, the outings and walk, the treasure hunt, etc add colour to the Salesian enjoyment and joy.
The camp students of “Come and See – 2016” (May 02 to May 22) expressed that they experienced joy and love during the camp. It was vivid in their faces. They radiated joy and happiness all the time. I feel that the vocation camp team with the help of the confreres in the house had succeeded in giving the students an experience of Salesian life and joy during the camp. We experienced God’s guiding hand and our Lady’s protection all through the camp.
Br. Paul SDB