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By Fr Savio Angelo Sanchez, SDB

Istituto Salesiano Pio XI, Rome, 19 September 2019 -- Three years after the joint formation sessions for the Salesian Family Delegates - November 2016 (Korea, Vietnam, Philippines - Cebu) that gathered together more than 150 SDB and other Salesian Family members, the Central Secretariat for the Salesian Family (Delegate Fr. Eusebio Munoz) and his team have prepared the long-awaited World level SF delegates formation, just on time before the GC28. First session of this event was held last week in Italian (Spanish, Portuguese) languages and this time (17-22 September) the 34 delegates from English-speaking Salesian world came together.

The first day of the Meeting of the Provincial Delegates for the Salesian Family began with a Holy Mass presided by Fr Jayapalan Raphael, the World Delegate for the Past Pupils. He invited everybody to be docile to the Holy Spirit so that in this Meeting, whatever is heard with the ear through the talks and sharing may touch the heart and move the hands. Almost 40 participants are taking part in these important formation sessions, with many SDB and Salesian Family resource persons involved.

The first Session began with the presentation of the program by Fr Eusebio Muñoz, the Delegate of the Rector Major for the Salesian Family. Then each participant introduced himself and spoke briefly of the work he has done or is doing in the Province. In this English Group, 14 are from the EAO Region, 8 from South Asia, 2 from Interamerica, 6 from Central and North Europe, and 5 from Africa-Madagascar. Fr Eusebio and his team also briefly introduced themselves. After the introduction, Fr Eusebio explained right away the 5 Emerging Realities of the Salesian Family found in different parts of the world today.

Before lunch, the participants divided into 5 Groups according to Region and shared the situation of the Salesian Family. The first part of the sharing was more on the reality in the different provinces. The second part was an evaluation on the animation of the Salesian Family in every Province. Each group secretary reported in the assembly the fruits of the sharing. Among other things, the Provincial Delegates were made to reflect on the strengths, positive growth, struggles and challenges, and come up with some proposals to overcome the challenges and build up the animation of the Salesian Family.

In the afternoon Session, the Charter of the Salesian Family was presented by Fr Pierluigi Cameroni, the Spiritual Guide for the ADMA and the Postulator General for the Causes of Saints in the Salesian Family. The reflection of Fr Roberto Corelli on the most significant points of the Charter of Identity of the Salesian Family was discussed and then there was a short group sharing on what was presented.

The last Session of the day was an exposition of the vocation of the VDB, CDB (secular institutes) and of the ASC (Salesian Cooperators). Fr Joan Lluís Playá, the Central Assistant of the CDB and of the VDB gave an overview of these two groups and how the Salesian Secular Consecrated Life is expressed. A VDB from Malta spoke about the specifics of their Institute and how they are trying to live their secular consecrated life in the world. There were some questions raised and clarifications made especially as the regards the “responsible or serene reserve” of the VDBs. The last presenter for the day was Mr Antonio Boccia, the World Coordinator of the Association of the Salesian Cooperators.

It is good to know that of the 32 groups that officially belong to the Salesian Family, 5 have their origin in the EAO Region: Caritas Sisters of Jesus (SCG) born in Japan; Sisters Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (SIHM) - the Sisters of the Queenship of Mary Immaculate (SQM), and the Daughters of the Queenship of Mary Immaculate (DQM) born in Thailand; and the Sisters Announcers of the Lord (SAL) born in China.

Our EAO region is fully represented in this long-awaited Salesian Family Delegates formation at the world level with all 12 provincial Delegates, Fr. Dominic Suphot (EAO regional delegate for the Salesian Cooperators). Also the presence of the new EAO coordinator for the Salesian Family - Fr. Mario do Rosario (TLS) - gives our EAO delegates a good opportunity to share, exchange and plan together. The SF plans drafted 3 years ago for the 3 year period (2016-2019) are a good point of reference for our recently appointed Delegates.

At present there are the following 16 SF groups present in our 12 EAO provinces:

  • 8 religious congregations: SDB, FMA sisters, Caritas Sisters of Jesus, SIHM Sisters, Sisters of Queenship of Mary (SQM), Sisters Announcers of the Lord (SAL), Michaelites (CSMA) and Missionary Sisters of Mary Help of Christians (MSMHC)
  • 3 secular institutes: VDB, CDB and Daughters of Queenship of Mary (DQM)
  • 5 lay groups: Don Bosco Alumni, Mary Help of Christians Alumni, ASC (Association of Salesian Cooperators), ADMA (Association of Devotees of Mary Help of Christians) and Damas Salesianas.

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