PrevPrev Article

NextNext Article

Larger Font Smaller Font Up Down Go comment Print Attachment
Views 237 Comment 0


Interview with Fr. Leo Choi – temporary missionary in Australia

By Fr Leo Choi

Engadine (Sydney), Australia, 19 November 2019 -- My name is Fr. Leo Sungkyu Choi. I originally belong to the Province of Korea and was sent 3 years ago to Australia-Pacific province (AUL – Mary Help of Christians) to the multi-cultural Salesian community of Engadine, Sydney. Here I serve as an assistant priest at St. John Bosco Parish in Engadine and as chaplain in the St John Bosco Primary school. Since 2016 the KOR and AUL provinces signed a temporary agreement about my ministry here, that will be renewed for another 3 years.

How has your Salesian vocation journey been so far?

I first met the Salesians in my Salesian high school (Gwangju) who inspired me to follow the Salesian vocation and I then chose to follow Don Bosco in the religious life. After completing my practical training (Korea) and theological studies (Manila), I had an opportunity to study in Melbourne under the supervision of Fr Frank Moloney, the prestigious Scripture scholar and also a former Provincial of Australia. Then I returned to the province of Korea and worked in the Formation House for 4 years before I was sent here to Engadine. It is not common for an order priest to serve in a parish in Korea. Thus, this is a valuable pastoral experience for me to have as a Salesian.

How do you find yourself in the Australian society and Church?

Australia itself is a well-functioning multicultural society with ethnic and cultural diversity. This applies to Australia-Pacific Salesian province as well. Some Salesians were sent from different provinces, some from overseas and some were born here in Australia or in Samoa. For this reason, the Don Bosco formation house located in Melbourne could be a cradle that brings up religious leaders who are capable of serving others with various cultural background, since they experience within our international community many confreres from different countries. It is a great and unique opportunity for young Salesians with diverse background to study and work closely together and to learn how to work in harmony within an international environment.

What is your life and mission in Engadine-Sydney?

I’m living in a multicultural community of four Salesians coming from Australia, Malta, Korea, Netherlands and Vietnam. Our community is entrusted with a Valdocco-like variety of mission fields – Parish, Primary and Secondary school, Youth Centre and Sports Club, Dunlea Boys and Girls Home; with adjacent FMA Sisters community (now with 3 novices). Among my ministries is the pastoral care in the Primary school campus, as assistant priest in the parish as well other casual ministries in the mission of my community. Since there is also a large Korean Catholic community in Sydney (with Caritas Sisters of Jesus), I’m able to enjoy a ‘bit and piece’ of my home culture and food at times!

What are the challenges of your life in Australia?

Australia-Pacific province is being well exposed to an international environment and open for Salesians from all over the world. Having said that, there are certain limitations, too.

First, there is a language barrier. English is the widely spoken language of the Australia - Pacific province. Therefore, acquiring English is a necessity for those who carry out pastoral care here. Fortunately, many young Salesians are used to speaking English as this language is well taught in many countries. Nevertheless, English could be a roadblock for many foreign Salesians who are not fluent in English. However, this is not something that they should be afraid of. Based on my personal experience, this challenge can be gradually overcome as time goes by with one’s attitude, patience and constant effort.

Secondly, there might be a cultural conflict. It can be difficult for us to accept differences of others. The moment we recognise and accept the differences, we can recognise the diversity of those differences and become mature through the experience. “There is no such thing as right or wrong, there only is difference.” This famous quote encourages us and leads us to a fuller community life.

Would you encourage other EAO Salesian to come across to Australia?

My final comment is related not only to Australia-Pacific province, but also to all Salesians and the Church worldwide. That’s the fact that the number of vocation is declining in some countries. There could be many different reasons behind this but the fundamental reason lies in the fact that our lives may not be a very attractive example for the young people.

When we live a joyful, happy and evangelical life, and when we live a life with the same charismatic passion of Don Bosco, vocation will come knocking on the door of the Salesian Society. Why is this true? This is the very reason why I became a Salesian!


NB: Fr Leo is one among the 20 'mobile Salesians' present in some EAO provinces as temporary missionary, due to mutual agreements between two provinces (3-5 years): like others in Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, Australia, PNG, Solomon Islands or in the Philippines. They come from Korea, Vietnam, India, Timor Leste, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Related news article

AustraLasia 4139 (II) Communion of communities in Hamamatsu - Japan (Fr. Higa)

AustraLasia 4137 - Learning to be a missionary - Japan (Fr. Ambrosio)

AustraLasia 3949 (II) Another mobile missionary for Japan (Fr. Andrea Chang)



Maximum Attachments : 0Byte/ 15.00MB
Maximum File Size : 15.00MB (Allowed extentsions : *.*)

  1. 5419(V)_Reflections on my International Postnovitiate Experience

    ALA_5419 By Cl. Conrad Vamilat, SDB PGS, 13 July 2020 -- As a formation option of our PGS Vice-province, after our first profession we were sent to Canlubang, Philippines for our two years of postnovitiate formation. Certainly, our philoso...
    Date2020.07.13 CategoryPGS Reply0 Views72 newfile
    Read More
  2. 5419(IV)_How does your community celebrate 11th of each month?

    ALA_5419 By Fr. Pedro Sachitula PGS missionary animation PGS, 13 July 2020 -- During the last few decades the 11th of the month has become a symbol of missionary animation day. Since 2009 the 11th of the month has become a special occasion...
    Date2020.07.13 CategoryPGS Reply0 Views33 newfile
    Read More
  3. 5419(III)_Special Annual Retreat amidst lockdown

    ALA_5419 By Fr. Ambrose Pereira, SDB Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, 12 July 2020 -- Amidst the corona virus pandemic, confreres of the Salesian Vice-Province of Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands gathered for their annual retreat at the...
    Date2020.07.13 CategoryPGS Reply1 Views45 newfile
    Read More
  4. 5419(II)_How do the Past Pupils of Don Bosco communicate?

    ALA_5419 DB Past Pupils Magazines and Newsletters By EXDB EAO Region, 12 July 2020 -- The 150th Jubilee Year (24 June 2020-2021) of the Past Pupils of Don Bosco offers a good opportunity to get to know the largest but actually not as well-...
    Date2020.07.13 CategoryEXDB Reply0 Views39 newfile
    Read More
  5. 5419(I)_Seminar on "Laudato Si'" and "On Teaching Catechism"

    ALA_5419 By THA SC Bangkok, Thailand, 12 July 2020 -- On 11 July 2020, the Commission on Catechesis of the Salesian Family in Thailand organized a seminar on the theme "Laudato Si'" and "On Teaching Catechism" at the Provincial House, Krun...
    Date2020.07.13 CategoryTHA Reply0 Views56 newfile
    Read More
  6. 5418(II)_One more Oratory, in Chofu - Tokyo

    ALA_5418 By Br. Phuc Hai, SDB Vietnamese missionary in Japan Chofu, Japan, 11 July 2020 -- “Run, jump, shout but do not sin”. These are the words that Don Bosco told the young people when they came to his first Oratories in Turin. We try ...
    Date2020.07.11 CategoryGIA Reply0 Views191 file
    Read More
  7. 5418(I)_DB Simbu Technical College: end of first Semester

    ALA_5418 By Fr. Angel Sanchez, SDB Kumgi, Papua New Guinea,10 July 2020 -- The Educative Pastoral Community of Don Bosco Simbu Technical College wrapped up the First Semester of the School Year with a Thanksgiving Mass. A group of students...
    Date2020.07.11 CategoryPGS Reply0 Views63 file
    Read More
  8. 5417_Our ‘New Normal’: Aflame with Missionary Zeal!

    ALA_5417 A Missionary thought for the 11th of the month By Fr. Alfred Maravilla, SDB General Councillor for Missions Rome, 10 July 2020 -- Dear friends, We are still reeling under the effect of COVID-19. In the northern hemisphere July is...
    Date2020.07.10 CategoryRMG Reply0 Views57 file
    Read More
  9. 5416(II)_EAO Representative of DBGA appointed: Ms Taichi Miranda (FIS)

    ALA_5416 By Fr Savio Silveira Provincial IMB Mumbai, India, 9 July 2020 -- Two years after the grassroots movement of Don Bosco Green Alliance(DBGA), as a fruit of the GC28, the DBGA makes another quality leap with representatives of each ...
    Date2020.07.09 CategoryEAO Reply1 Views271 file
    Read More
  10. 5416(I)_Playing musical instruments is like loving my formation process

    ALA_5416 A Birthday reflection By Salesian prenovice Benjo Ian Mangila Canlubang, the Philippines, 9 July 2020 -- We can't imagine the Salesian Oratory without music. One of the Filipino candidates to Salesian life shared on his birthday a...
    Date2020.07.09 CategoryFIN Reply0 Views58 file
    Read More
Board Pagination Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 ... 347 Next
/ 347