Prenovitiate of Hsipaw
By Fr. Bosco Ai Lian Thang, SDB
Hsipaw, Myanmar, 2 August 2016 -- The fast changing face of our fast opening country is reflected also in our pre-novitiate. We are seven Salesians - 4 Priests, 1 Brother and 2 Clerics in practical training in our community located in the Northern Shan State, in the town of Hsipaw. Only 10 years ago there were some 40-50 prenovices in our two year course of the prenovitiate – but this year we have just 5 second years and 6 prenovices in the first year.
Our parish of Don Bosco (with 100 families and 5 stations) and Pre-novitiate in this small touristic town were started 26 years ago. It’s a good environment – location where our candidates are having good opportunity of strengthening their academic formation, especially English and together with the exposure to the 40+ boarding boys (parish compound is few minute walking distance from the pre-novitiate) and also completed with a manual hard work in the nearby Salesian agriculture field.
Nowadays the prenovices are not coming much directly from the Anisakan Aspirantate as before, but from many different directions – most of them from Kachin or Chin background, this year almost half of them from Yangon, one from Wa region. Among the 16-17 years old prenovices hopefully few will to join the Novitiate in our ‘Motherhouse’ in Anisakan next May 2017.
During the recent extraordinary visitation we realized the opportunity of our community to contribute to the growth of vocation culture in our province with sharing of vocation stories and talk about the need of vocation ministry. Probably we can’t do like before, when we just waited when the boys will come and will join us. The materialistic environment and weaker family support of vocation does make impact on the young Catholics of Myanmar already. So we continue to pray to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and try to develop new creative ways how to wake up!