Provincial Chapter CIN
By Fr Rhomel Mendoza, SDB
Hong Kong, 27 April 2019 -- The Carthusians and, I guess also the Camaldolese, have an ancient saying: “We have never been reformed, because we have never been deformed.” But for us Salesians, we are not living a monastic life, but a very active religious life, always in contact with the youth with the changing times of the society in the world. Throughout these times, we are not exactly “deformed” but we must properly respond to the needs and signs of the times. And so the Salesians of China Province, like other provinces had their Provincial Chapter this week April 21 – 27, 2019. This is to answer the question given to us “What kind of Salesians for the youth of today?
This provincial chapter for the 1st time was held in the studentate in Shaukeiwan, Hong Kong island. For the past many years, it was held in the retreat house in Cheung Island. We believe that this is rather significant. In this same way that the General Chapter 28 in 2020 will be held in Valdocco, the Provincial Chapter of China Province was held in the Salesian Missionary House built in 1939, where great things began.
Just to give everyone basic statistics of our chapter… there were 28 delegates, 3 of whom are former provincials and three(3) 1st time to join the chapter. The oldest member of the chapter is 84 years old and the youngest is only 33 yrs. old. The average age of the chapter members is 61 yrs. old. Two lay-mission partners were also invited to join the chapter.
The chapter members come from the whole China region: Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan. And since we did not have a real common language, written documents were all in Chinese, however, interventions were made in Cantonese, Mandarin and English.
The proceedings of the whole chapter went on very smoothly… however, the longest time spent for discussion and the one that had the most number of interventions was the topic on “Priority of the Salesian mission among today’s youth.” The discussion centered on the need for greeter and deeper knowledge and understanding of the youth whom we are serving today.
The China province itself is facing many difficulties… the vastness (even in terms of land territory) of its mission, the aging of its confreres and dire need of more personnel. However, during this provincial chapter, there is a palpable feeling that no matter how difficult the road ahead is, we shall never give up, we shall continue to listen to the call and cries of the poor youth among us. After all, our province is under the patronage of Mary Help of Christians, so what do we have to be afraid of?