Auckland, New Zealand, 6 May 2019 -- On the Feast day of Saint Dominic Savio (6 May) all four Salesians of the Auckland community (still living in two locations - Massey and Avondale, Rector Fr Mosese Tui) came together for prayer, meal and sharing. Four SDBs from four different backgrounds - one Indian Salesian with many years in Africa, one Vietnamese with Korean experience, another Indian with 40 years of Pacific experience and one Samoan with experience of Australia, Fiji, Samoa and now in New Zealand. Ten years ago our first presence in Auckland was started and now is a good time to ask 'How is our Charism being shared in this country with multi-cultural and multi-religious population?'
During his three full days animation visit, our Regional Councillor, Fr Klement, had a good insight into our community dynamics and helped us to think about the dynamics of our charismatic growth in the future.
First of all we watched, after abundant lunch, the 2019 Strenna Video about 'Holiness For You Too'. With the Pacific wisdom we appreciated especially the direct body language of the Rector Major, who speaks with deep conviction, strong and contagious enthusiasm. Fr Angel means what he says, he bring us to the origin at Valdocco, when he prays in front of the casket of Don Bosco. In this way we are connected to the roots and so we can look to the future with hope and new energy!
In our sharing about the Salesian future in New Zealand we acknowledge that we are still only few (already lost one Salesian priest who joined the diocese) and not yet very much known in the local Church. The first part was about how to attract or bring possible new Salesians to Auckland; even temporary missionaries would be of great help! We recognize that is not so easy to stir up the interest of our parish youth regarding the Salesian vocation. Even in the Auckland seminary there are only three major seminarians (Vietnam, Myanmar, Korean origin).
Then we pondered on the Pacific Delegation support for our youngest presence in the Pacific. How to bring the multiple resolutions of the First Pacific Assembly (January 2019) into practice? There are challenges of communication, strengthening the effective animation and governance among the 3 countries: Samoa - Fiji - New Zealand. Even collecting the wisdom of the elders during past 40 years would be a great help for the future generation - so we encouraged Fr James to write down his experience.
Last but not the least we shared the theme of stronger community life in the present situation - we are meeting only once a week between Avondale and Massey and are still without a decent community house. Economic solidarity, budgeting and transparency were part of community building issue. Each one of us is working with all possible strength for the parish population and for the youth, but we recognize that our community life does not sustain us enough.
Auckland is the youngest presence in the Pacific (2009). While Samoa celebrates its 40th Salesian anniversary and Fiji its 20th anniversary, here in New Zealand we are still trying to find our way, how to root our charism in the people of God made up of so many different nationalities, cultures and religions. Saint Dominic Savio, pray for us!
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