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EAO Provincials - Seoul 2019, Day 1

By Our Own Correspondent

Seoul, Korea, 5 March 2019 -- The first full day of the East Asia - Oceania Provincials and Delegates meeting in Seoul, March 4 was characterized by the spirit of personal sharing among the participants and with a good chance for personal renewal, just before the start of the Lenten season 2019. Morning Eucharist was celebrated by the EAO regional councillor. In his homily he focused on our need to leave our comfort zone, the powerful inspiration of the Salesian Mission Day 2019 (African Refugee Mission), and Don Bosco's warning about the temptation of an easy and comfortable life.

As usual, the whole morning was dedicated to personal sharing, this time with a special touch about the human fragility experienced in many ways by numbers of provincials personally, through health problems and personal difficulties of their confreres. All present, i.e. 12 provincials, five delegates and two general councillors contributed to the sharing.

And the whole afternoon was dedicated to the recollection, inspired by the Rector Major's Strenna Video 2019 watched together with the text and shared before the Eucharistic adoration and time for the sacrament of reconciliation. The highly appreciated Strenna 2019 video help to inspire the following sharing:

  • One provocative question: Do you have holy young people around you?
  • Fruits of holiness are always visible, touchable and very concrete - we are invited to find them in our life
  • This Strenna is very simple and easy to memorize: Holiness For You Too! - It makes it easy to share and live in our communities
  • Appreciate the connection between the 2018 and 2019 Strenna: We listen and accompany the young on the path of Holiness
  • This Strenna seems be the first response to the GC28 question: What kind of Salesians for the Young of today?
  • When the Rector Major speaks about holiness in the context of the train station, he shows us the opportunity of holiness in our daily life
  • Holiness means first of all JOY - but there are many hardworking Salesians who don't look very happy, maybe even empty
  • Sometimes the wrong image of holiness keeps youth far from holiness: goodness of heart
  • Had Don Bosco not immediately published the life of Dominic Savio, we would be missing our roots

The large provincial house in Seoul (7 story building) also hosts the History Exhibition of 60 years of Salesian History in Korea. During the first evening Rosary, the participants also watched a 10 minute presentation and walked around the historical - charismatic items of the exhibition. Together with the nearby Don Bosco Youth Centre community (Rector Fr Marcello Baek) and the football field (for the Rosary at the end of the day) it made everybody feel at home, in spite of the 10 degrees Celsius fresh temperature of Seoul.

Like last year in Dili, East Timor, also this yea, there is a group of young Salesians in formation who are praying together with their Provincials and Delegation superiors. The three new novices in Korea (since January 2019) and the only Japanese novice Arakawa (first profession on March 25, 2019) are serving the meeting and also enjoying the inter-cultural sharing in English. The councilor for formation, Fr. Ivo Coelho, arrived in the late evening from Sri Lanka to animate the provincials over the next two days.

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