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From Magone Home Aftercare Program

By Bro. Louie Domasian, SDB

Cebu, the Philippines, 3 March 2019 -- It was more than a week since Salesians, on series of events, visited Magone Home. What is so special about this place? If I am not mistaken, this is only one of the few, if not the only facility in the country that provides an aftercare program for the so-called Children in Conflict with the Law (CICL). What is ironic in here is that the CICL has become once again a by-word, an interesting topic and story by the media and even by the ordinary people due to the move by the Congress and the Senate to lower the Minimum Age of Criminal Responsibility (MACR). People became frenzy about it. It was out in the television, talked over the radio, debated by the taxi drivers together with their passengers, and above all posted in the social media. Yet, only a few dare to work and be involved on it. For us in the Magone Helping Team, joining the bandwagon of debates and discussions may have entered our mind but in the end we have realized that, as we would say, “it doesn't matter if he is 12 or 15 years old. If a child needs to be saved then we will be there to help.”

The visit of certain Salesians of Don Bosco in the month of February, the month of love, was highlighted by the visit of Fr. Vaclav Klement, SDB. He is currently the Regional Councilor of the Salesians of Don Bosco for the East Asia-Oceania Region. What even made the visit more wonderful is that he is making it in the name of the Rector Major, the 10th successor of St. John Bosco. That visit was not just an ordinary come and go event by people who have seen the center. True as it is, people from different walks of life would come and visit, but they would only come to see the facility and not the people living in it, particularly the Magone Boys. The boys were not just happy to see Fr. Klement but they were awed and felt that Don Bosco was alive and present with them.

What greatly impressed the Magone boys was that Fr. Klement accepted their invitation to visit their quarters since they will be preparing a meal for him. Although it was not in the community schedule, he visited, dinned and spent time chatting with them. The time may be short but for the boys he visited, it was like a movie played in slow motion, it was a foretaste of heaven.

One of our boys handed me a supposed to be reflection paper or a journal regarding the visit of Fr. Klement. A reflection that we intended to see if they have understood the importance of that visit. But instead of the intended format, what he gave me was some sort of a letter that expresses his gratitude about the visit. Allow me to share the unedited reflection-journal-letter of one of our Magone Boys:

    “Sa imohang pagbisita sa lugar nga diin maayo ang among kahimtang kay gibati jud ko ug kalipay ug kung wala ko masayop, mao pud ang nabati sa akong mga kaigsuonan ngare sa Don Bosco. Pipila palang gani ka adlaw sa atong panag-uban kay mabati jud nako nga murag ingon na niana kadugay ta nga nag uban kay sa imohang trato nganhi kanamo kay susama pud sa mga nagmahal kanamo.”

    Fr. Klement, dakung dungog kanamo nga nakaila ug naka meet ka namo, ug ang kamingaw namo sa among pamilya natambalan sa dihang nibisita ka kanamo. Proud pud kaayo ko kay nakaila nako ug nakig-uban kanako ang dili yanong tawo, ug nahibalo ko nga usa ka nga enstrumento sa Ginoo ug ni San Juan Bosco nga gipadala kanamong mga batan-ong nga adunay pangandoy.

    Ug sa imo pang gina-ingon nga dili ka maka adto sa langit nga wala ang mga batan-ong imong gihigugma, mao pud ang anaa sa akong huna-huna, dili pud namo makab-ot kung unsay naa namo karon kun dili tungod sa tabang sa mga Salesyano. Daku ang akong pagtuo nga dili lang unta kini ang last natong panag-uban kun dili mao pud ni ang sinugdanan sa atong panag-uban.

    Salamat sa imong pagbisita, dako kaayong bili kanamong mga CICL ang imong pagbisita. Hinaut pud unta nga imoha pung mabisita ang ubang mga CICL nga batan-on nga dunay pangandoy, haron sila pud makabati ug kalipay sama sa among nasinati sa dihang nibisita ka. Thank you Fr. Klement.”

    (In your visit to our place wherein we are taken cared of, I felt happy and if I am not mistaken, my brothers here in Don Bosco felt the same way. Even if we have only encountered one another for few days, I felt that we knew each other for a long time already because the way you treated us is the same with those who love us.

    Fr. Klement, it is our great honor that we have known and met you, and the pain that we felt because we missed our family was healed because of your visit. I am also very proud that I was known and had an encounter with someone of great importance, and I know that you are an instrument of God and of St. John Bosco, that was sent to us young people who also have dreams.

    And with what you have told us that you will not be able to go to heaven without the young people you love, that is what I was also thinking, we would not be able to achieve what we have now if not because of the Salesians. I firmly believe that this will not be that last time that we will be together but rather the start of our journey.

    Thank you for your visit, your visit was of great importance to us CICL. We hope that you will also visit the other CICL, those young ones who also have dreams, so that they too will be able to experience the same joy that we have felt when you visited us. Thank you Fr. Klement.)

It may have been years since Don Bosco and Mickey Magone had an encounter in Turin but for the Magone Boys it was just like yesterday. Don Bosco visited them. The Regional Councilor in the name of the Rector Major did not only visited them but spent time with them. A wonderful encounter that would truly make Don Bosco happy and proud.




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