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PC 2019 Reflection

By Fr. Ronilo Javines, SDB

Legazpi, the Philippines, 3 May 2019 -- A few weeks after the World Advisory Council on the Salesian Mission for Marginalized Youth or Youth at Risk in Rome (March 24-29), one the two EAO participants shared his integral reflection during the Provincial Chapter 2019. Fr Ronilo Javines, FIN (Rector of Legazpi Don Bosco community). His inspiring sharing was among the appreciated moments of the FIN Provincial Chapter held in Batulao Retreat House (April 29 - May 3).

Learning from the 20 SDB and Lay mission partners global group sharing

  • The story telling filled out the flesh-and-bones of concrete poverty and suffering of the young people where we find Salesians in so many different situations
  • The presence of some elderly Salesians who are still active in the ministry to the poor is truly inspiring... 'For you I am ready to give even my last breath!'
  • The presence of some lay mission partners demonstrates that many lay really embraced the very spirit of Don Bosco like the consecrated SDB.
  • Many creative ways of sharing the Preventive system of Don Bosco among the non Christians and non believers shows the universal reach of our charism.
  • The Lectio divina and Eucharist celebrated in Don Bosco rooms made us listen to Don Bosco himself to 'save the souls also today' amidst new challenges.
  • The presence of SDBs in the EU (Brussels) or UN (New York) during the World Consultation shows the giant leap undertaken by SDBs in social work.

Points of convergence and the Prophetic Call

  • To serve marginalized youth, good intention is not enough. This ministry should be complemented with professional competence.
  • We are called to identified the root causes of poverty and marginalization and confronted them, empowering the young people by educating them on their rights.
  • Young people should be formed, instructed and educated not only as beneficiaries but also as protagonist and collaborators in our mission.
  • Social teaching of the Church should be presented as our method of social transformation.
  • Emphatic Listening with the poor and the suffering; we need to learn how to weep in front of suffering young people.
  • There is a call for a community discernment to identify the peripheries around us, while 'walking together'
  • There is a need for networking and collaboration at provincial and international level to be more effective in this ministry.
  • We need a formation program to develop among the young Salesians the spirit of generous service and volunteerism.

Reflecting on the past 50 years in working for the marginalized youth in the Philippines

  • Since 1970 the Salesians have begun to be engaged among the urban poor people with our presence in the slums (Tondo-Manila and Pasil-Cebu)
  • The Street Children and Youth Migration phenomenon followed since the mid-80s (Cebu- Don Bosco Boys Home, Manila-DB Pugad and Ampon migrants)
  • Institutionalized street children service produced 'Tuloy sa Don Bosco for street children' since 1995 and Pugad in Makati in 2001.
  • The Out-of-school Youth and literacy problem with unemployment produced the TVET (18 vocation training centers) now as DB One TVET Philippines
  • Extreme poverty at the rural settings (Go rural since 1998) with a Calauan DB 'community development in the new periphery of relocated city poor people.
  • FIN province established in the provincial chapter 2016 the 'Commission on Social Concern' that animates our social response for the poor youth.

Main elements on choices of Salesian Social Works and Service in the Philippines

  • Focus on marginalized Youth and their families with research based programs and projects (need of the PDO)
  • Highlighted Education and Skills-Training-for-Work: game changer and key-player in Poverty alleviation.
  • Anchored on Holistic process and perspective: the Preventive system of Don Bosco as expressed in the Framework of total human development
  • Consolidated fruits of Dialogue, Assemblies, Congresses and many Provincial Chapters in decision making, to respond to emerging social issues.
  • Institutionalized networking and coordination at the province, inter-provincial and national level.

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