Immersion in the Pre-Novitiate
Cebu, Philippines, 15 December 2018 -- After my college aspirantate in the PGS Vice-Province I was sent to join the inter-provincial Pre-Novitiate Formation Program in Cebu (FIS) where I journey with other pre-novices from other EAO Provinces. As part of this program we were sent two by two for eight weeks to six different Salesian settings in the FIS Province. I, a Papua New Guinean, was sent with a Filipino pre-novice to Don Bosco Youth Centre (DBYC) in Pasil which is a parish, youth centre and a training centre. Through this immersion experience I had three main realisations which strengthened my vocational choice to the Salesian life.
First, my Salesian community experience made me realise that to be a happy Salesian priest or brother who is working and living in a community, one must cultivate the art of humility, mutual acceptance, good communication skills and relationship as well as the capacity to sacrifice one’s own motivations and ideas for the common good of the community.
Second, my experience of accompanying different organised youth activities in DBYC Pasil made me realise that Don Bosco’s charism and the Preventive System of education are helping a lot of young people around the world. The two days of retreat with the trainees at the Don Bosco Retreat House, Mantalongon and the inter-DBYC celebration in Cebu gave me the chance to be with the young, especially playing with them and praying the rosary with them which gave me that inner joy even though I was tired.
Third, I developed self-confidence to share my talents with the young. I was able to recruit students for the musical animation of the weekly school Mass and taught them new Mass songs. I was told that it has been sometime that students played the guitar to animate the school mass. I also managed to teach Futsal to the boys which was something totally new for many of them. During our farewell program I received many thank you letters for teaching them a new game that they can play if there are not enough basketball courts available in DBYC Pasil. This gave me a great sense of fulfilment.
Looking back at my immersion experience, I am truly grateful because it gave me a new perspective in my Salesian vocational discernment. It reminded the words of Jesus that those who want to follow him must give up everything, family, properties and friends but will receive a hundred fold in return.