EAO Salesian Cooperators Workshop (III)
Sihanoukville, Cambodia, 27 May 2019 -- At the end of our 4 days Formators Workshop I’m reflecting on the fruits and wisdom for the future path of the Salesian Cooperators in our EAO Region and especially in Japan. We (Japan) were only a small group, but comprising one FMA Delegate, one SDB Delegate, ASC provincial coordinator and another ASC provincial council member.
Surely, there was very valid and fruitful long term preparation for this Workshop involving many Delegates and Salesian Cooperators with their interview and publishing of the ’50 Interviews related to the Formation of Salesian Cooperators’ (160 pages) representing the whole picture of the large variety of EAO Salesian Cooperators. Moreover, during our stay within the Don Bosco Hotel School in Sihanoukville we experienced the very positive experience of communion and fraternity among the 58 participants from 11 different countries. Personal attention, interaction with the students and staff, continuous involvement of the 6 SDB of local community and their 8 lay missionary volunteers will be not forgotten back in our provinces.
All participants, especially our team from Japan were enriched by a new awareness about the importance and urgent need of quality inspiring formation. Maybe their first fruit is this strong conviction and it’s already a promising treasure.
For us it seems that the variety of good practices from large province with hundreds of Salesian Cooperators like Philippines or Korea) would be not very useful due to the diversity of cultural and ecclesial context (not even 1% of Catholic population in Japan) and number of Salesian Cooperators (Japan with 14 Centers has only 130 members).
Each ASC province has its own specific traits that might be not very relevant for the others. And each EAO province needs to find its own concrete way of making happen a good formation, according the ASC World Guidelines published in 2015.
We realized the need for formation that communicates not only ‘knowledge of Salesianity’ but shares the joy of living the spirit of Don Bosco. And we find the reflection (by the EAO Regional Councillor) about the origin and growth of each Salesian Cooperator vocation based on the 50+ interviews to be quite valid. It grows through attraction, communication and sharing, made fruitful through the working of the Holy Spirit according to each of the personal vocation growth ‘stages’.
In our province group (no.1 in the conference hall) the following points were highlighted:
- Formation is truly a personal affair, depending on each individual's growth.
- Formation requires encounters that produce inspiration.
- Already the relationship with the young in our apostolate is a source of formation
- The very interesting ‘musical inspiration’ lesson offered by Dominic (Thailand). Indeed, music, songs, dance, motion are helpful in creating a very conducive environment. The formation atmosphere determines the communication and communion approach among the members.
- The importance of integrating the ‘Salesian Family Identity Charter’ (2012, Fr. Chávez) in formation
- The proposal of looking for experts in youth matters also in our ASC formation emerged strongly
- Within the new Formation Guidelines (2015) we discovered the importance of human formation.