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By Fr. Lucas Naw, SDB

Thibaw (Hsipaw), Myanmar, 31 August 2019 -- The young Vice-province of Mary Help of Christians (established 2004) of Myanmar decided, during the Provincial Chapter 2019, to reshape the Aspirantate and Prenovitiate stage of initial formation. At present there are 24 candidates (first year 16 and second year 8) in Thibaw 'Don Bosco Aspirantate in Hsipaw accompanied by 6 Salesians (five priests and one practical trainee). Although the social situation around Thibaw has not been very peaceful this year, our Aspirantate program is going well.

At present, in accordance with the 2019-2020 EPC of our community, our 24 Aspirants are accompanied through daily classes (Mon-Fri), every day until 3 p.m., with a focus on human formation, English language proficiency (reading, listening, vocabulary, writing, grammar), Salesianity - Preventive System, Catechism, Vocational orientation and exposure to the Salesian Mission (boarding house attached to our Thibaw parish, summer catechesis, Bible sharing, PC classes and especially regular exposure to the youth ministry in our parish).

The current two year course will be soon reshaped, following the Provincial Chapter 2019, into a 4 year course, whereas the first year would be residential in Hsipaw (Thibaw), followed by two years in apostolic communities with the summer vacation study at University and concluding with fourth year again in Hsipaw (Thibaw). Since 2018, our province made a choice to send our candidates to the inter-provincial Prenovitiate and Novitiate in Lawaan, Cebu (FIS province).

We are happy to welcome into our midst two Filipina missionary volunteers (SALVO) who just arrived yesterday, accompanied by our Provincial, Fr. Charles Saw from Anisakan, after two month exposure in Yangoon. Their presence will enhance the English language program of our candidates.

The vocational landscape of our country is changing very fast and also our Salesian Vice-province is trying to follow the signs of our times. And we are happy that this year no fewer than 9 first year Aspirants are coming from our Nazareth House in Anisakan (grade 7-10), with solid intellectual preparation and Salesian experience. Since our community has no Salesian Brother, we try to use the many materials produced during the EAO 2018 Salesian Brother Congress - like personal interview or video clips. Among the 24 Aspirants are not less than 5 who are searching about their attraction to the Salesian Brother vocation.

Our MYM Viceprovince has 66 professed members this year and 3 prenovices in the Philippines (Lawaan, Cebu-FIS). We try to contribute with our effort and closer personal accompaniment contribute to the vocational culture revival in our provincial community!

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