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By Fr. Eli Cruz
CDB Ecclesiastical Assistant

Canlubang - Philippines, 2 December 2020 -- A few days before the first profession of the CDB (Con Don Bosco = With Don Bosco), Salesian (Men) Secular Institute, we are happy to share the wisdom of their Ecclesiastical Assistant, former FIN provincial, Fr. Eligio Cruz, who has journeyed from the early days in 2014 with a growing group of a few young Bosconians.

How and when have you been inspired to launch the CDB vocation?

After my term as FIN Provincial in 2014, I was inspired to form the CDBs for the following reasons:

  • The FIN Provincial Chapter 2013, while it “sees the urgent need to work with young workers or professionals… also “recognizes that it is at a loss as to the new models of apostolic interventions.” The CDBs respond to this urgent need.
  • For the bicentenary of the birth of Don Bosco in 2015: What can give more lasting significance is the re-birthing in the Province of the avant-garde idea of Don Bosco about the ‘Extern Salesian’ which he presented in the 1860 Constitutions.
  • In the year of consecrated life in 2015: The Salesian Family has a unique vocation to offer through the professed CDBs who “by vocational choice live as laymen in the world… to enliven reality from within…” (CDB Constitutions, 6).

What did you learn from your interaction with the first CDB candidates?

  • There are male past pupils and lay mission partners that are waiting to offer their lives in the Salesian consecrated life while living in the world and with their families. They did not know such a vocation was possible before.
  • The first aspirants received a Salesian education in their younger years, which speaks of the lasting influence of the SDBs on their spirituality and sense of mission. But they want this expressed in their own fields of secular work.
  • The SDB must learn to adapt to their own secular life, for example, work schedule, corporate values and secular mindsets, in terms of times and topics of formation. And so the SDB becomes both a spiritual and a cultural animator.

What do you expect from CDB to contribute to the Salesian Family charismatic wealth?

  • Enrichment of the Salesian vocation by going back to Don Bosco’s vision of extern consecrated lay Salesians
  • Reaching out to young professionals and young workers directly like “field hospitals in the midst of battle” that the confined life of the SDBs restricts
  • Witness to an evangelical life lived in the world with the Salesian spirit."

At present there are 1200 VDB (Volunteers of Don Bosco - Women) and 80+ CDB (Volunteers with Don Bosco - Men) around the world. Within both SDB Asian regions, the CDB vocation has so far developed only in the Philippines, while in Vietnam they are just starting.

Your prayers and concern is appreciated: would you like to become another Assistant to the Secular Consecrated Salesians? Welcome!

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