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By Fr Cesar Da Costa

Rome, Italy, 14 December 2018 -- A traditional December meeting of the EAO Salesian confreres who are studying or working in Rome took place once again on Friday, 14 December 2018 at the 'Sede Centrale' or Salesian HQ in the Don Bosco room at Sacro Cuore. This time most of the 25 SDBs in Rome were present, including also the superior of PGS Viceprovince Fr Alfred Maravilla, a 'bird of passage' who was just ending his new provincial course!

All 20 participants appreciated the strong family spirit of simplicity and sharing, a typical trait of our EAO region. After a short presentation, especially of newcomers, the gathering started with Evening prayer (Vespers), followed by personal sharing from all participants and a few relevant annoucements by our Regional Councillor.

Three Salesian Brothers from the EAO provinces are now assigned in Rome at the service of the Rector Major - Br. Jess Garcia (PGS) as the economer of the St Joseph community (Sacro Cuore), Br. Hilario Seo (KOR), a member of the SC Department as in charge of the internet, and Br. Obet Narvaez as the pilgrim guide at San Callisto - for the past 9 years. There are also 4 students of theology at Gerini community (CIN, TLS and KOR), one UPS Canon Law professor (Fr. Dung from VIE) - while the rest are students in various disciplines sent by their provincials for a variety of specializations - Philosophy (3), Psychology (1), Dogmatic theology (1), Youth ministry (2), Spiritual theology (4), Classical languages (1), Liturgy (1) and Biblical theology (3).

Sharing the joys of those who are leaving soon after years of studies, sharing of challenges (language, culture, food) of the newcomers enriched the participants and help to build more bridges among our 12 provinces. At present in Rome there are confreres from 9 EAO provinces. We pray and hope that also other provincials will better understand the advantage of preparing some confreres in the eternal city.

After a good meal shared with the St Joseph community (Rector Fr. Jean Claude Ngoy from R D Congo) and with the personal attention of some members of the General Council, the confreres left for their communities at San Callisto, Testaccio, Gerini and UPS (San Tommaso, Don Rua and Don Bosco).

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