Samoa-Fiji-New Zealand, 28 September 2022 -- We thank God for blessing the Pacific Delegation (Samoa, Fiji and New Zealand) new with Salesian Consecrated Vocations.
At the present, we are fortunate to have 14 confreres in different stages of formation before ordination to the priesthood.
2 candidates for the aspirantate are now living with the community at Alafua. Hopefully, we may have a few more by the end of the year.
Three candidates did 12 months of Aspirantate (2020) and 12 months of Pre-novitiate in Alafua (Samoa) in 2021. Having completed 12 months of Pre-novitiate, they were sent to Suva (Fiji) to prepare them for the Novitiate outside the Pacific Delegation. They are now doing their novitiate in Vietnam. Recent news from Fr. Joseph Phuoc, who is here for Visitation, told us that the three of them are loving it. I hope and pray for the three of them. I intend to visit them when I go to Vietnam for the Salesian Youth Ministry meeting in November.
There are four temporary professed in their Practical Training in Samoa and Fiji, (2 at Alafua, 1 at Salelologa and 1 in Fiji), Two temporary professed who completed their Practical Training in Samoa in 2020, started their theological studies via zoom in 2021, and, since March 2022, at the Pacific Regional Seminary. They will be taking the Year 6 courses in Term 2, 2022.
On 13 November 2021, Br. Atonio Lealea was ordained deacon in Fiji, and has since been fully involved in pastoral ministry at our new parish in Fiji and helping with the completion of the youth centre. He is now in Samoa preparing for his ordination on 12 November, 2022.
During the visit of the Provincial Council team in 2022 in Fiji, Br. Peter Minh Duc Nguyen was ordained deacon (19 March), and Br. Peter Anh Vu Nguyen made his Perpetual Profession on 20 March. Deacon Peter Minh Duc’s ordination will be on 4 December in Fiji. His family from Vietnam will be coming for his ordination.
There are two Samoan deacons finishing off their studies in Australia. Hopefully, their ordinations will be at the beginning of next year.
If all goes well, the delegation will soon be gifted with 4 new priests. And hopefully, by the end of next year, three more will be ready for diaconate ordination. We are working hard to get vocations from Fiji and NZ. With our new parish and a new Youth Centre Hall now in full operation, we hope to attract local vocations.
We give thanks to the generosity of the Rector Major and the Vietnam Province for sending missionaries to help our newly-developed delegation. And what is our Way Forward?
First: Our main focus is to promote vocations. We use such activities as SamBosco/BulaBosco/KiwiBosco (SYM gathering) for vocation promotion in the Pacific.
Second: Each of the 4 Delegation communities develops its own “Come and See” program suitable for the local context. Personal invitation is also quite effective.
Third: Personal Accompaniment and in depth thorough assessment of potential candidate is crucial. We journey close with their families, too.
Also lay vocations in the Salesian Family are growing. We continue the monthly gatherings of the Salesian Cooperators in Samoa. There are new members joining! Their delegates gives an input on the Cooperator's Project of Apostolic Life (PAL). We are also trying to raise some funds to help out students who attend our schools, those who can't afford to pay.
Don Bosco Past Pupils are doing quite well under the leadership of Mr Mane (Principal of Alafua DB Technical School). Most of the DB Past Pupils are now involved for the development of the school at Alafua. We try to start a new Centers of Salesian Cooperators and DB Past pupils also in the island of Savaii (Samoa). Our energetic Fr. Mosese will be the next Delegate and we are sure he will take care of these Salesian Family Lay groups.
As regards vocations from New Zealand and Fiji, we are still praying for a good start, both for the Salesian consecrated vocation, as well for the lay vocations in the Salesian Family!