By Fr. Peter Myo Khinh, SDB
Mandalay, Myanmar, 27 July 2016 -- Our community was the first during the extraordinary visitation 2016. During past 3 days we had a good time with our Regional Councilor. Time of sharing, time of dialogue and time of looking together for a vibrant future of the Salesian Charism in Mandalay.
Indeed when our presence (Don Bosco Youth Center) started in 2005 there were no clear plan how to restart after a long break of 40 years our typically Salesian presence. Thanks to the more favourable situation in our country we were able to open in 2012 a humble small scale Vocation Training Center for the youth at risk (3 months course with 20 trainees), now already with 300 Past Pupils and batch n.16. And finally two years ago with the help of the World Vision we started our street children work (residential care) for some 30 children and youth from Mandalay (former royal city with some 400 street children around). And we are glad to register the first Salesian NGO 'Friend of Youth' for this Youth at Risk work in Mandalay.
We are grateful for the growth our community, now already with 4 Salesians (three priests and one practical trainee) and we are joyfully witnessing to the local Church Don Bosco's Way of living. Every week we are committed also to the Prison ministry and minister to some 10 religious congregation in the city upon their request (recollection talks, confessions and Masses).
Of course we have also many dreams how to develop our Salesian presence - the house chapel is being finished, the projects for a larger Vocation Training Center and more quality care about the street children. Also the first steps to start first Salesian Family groups are being considered.
Yes, many things changed from 1939 when the Salesian reached Mandalay as their first presence in Burma. Also many things changed since 1964 when our school in Mandalay was nationalized. Now we hope to make more visible the concern of Don Bosco for the Youth in Need and Youth at Risk. We firmly believe that the poor young people 'will save the Salesians' as our Rector Major is telling us quite often!