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More than 700 of them in the EAO Region

By Our Own Correspondent

EAO, 28 June 2019 -- “I invite everyone to look to the Heart of Jesus and imitate its truest sentiments” - this is a recent invitation from Pope Francis to the Catholic community worldwide. For us Salesians, the month of June is the time of special attention to the Sacred Heart of Jesus as well a prayers for our candidates and young Salesians. Fr Carreno's hymn (O Cor Iesu Sacratissimo) is among the common heritage of many EAO provinces!

Indeed, each vocation journey starts with the attraction to Jesus, to Don Bosco through some specific human mediation of family spirit, attractive mission, concrete witness by some Salesian Brother - Priest or even attraction to the figure of Don Bosco himself. We can touch this experience in our Aspirantates. Do you know how many Salesian Aspirants there are in the 23 countries of the 12 EAO provinces? And what is your personal contribution to the build up of a vocation culture?

Currently we estimate some 700 or more aspirants. Although their age and life situations are very different - from Junior high school students in Thailand, Timor Leste or Japan, to the military service aspirants of South Korea, from the public College student aspirants of Vietnam up to the Don Bosco College aspirants of the Philippines.

All of the 30 different small or large Aspirantates are the place for the first steps to explore and discern the call of God. In some provinces it takes 10 years from the Aspirantate to reach the Novitiate. Thanks to those hardworking Salesians in vocation ministry every year we accept some 50-60 new novices. In June 2019 we are grateful for the gift of 52 novices: CIN-4, FIN–1, FIS-5, INA–6, KOR–3, PGS-2, THA-2, TLS-18 and VIE-11 novices.

Some the Salesians who accompany the aspirants, share: "Now, our 100 aspirants are working 'full time' for the summer youth camps in many places. The other 80 aspirants continue their study during summer vacation. As you know, every first week of July, we are preparing the 'Vocation Direction Week' for the fresh graduates of the senior high schools who are about to enter the University. Through this week we try to help their discernment as possible new (College) aspirants." (Ben Cat-Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam). From Chofu-Tokyo, Japan Fr. Daisuke writes: "Now we live together with three young University aspirants, who are longing to become holy Salesians. Our small Aspirantate 'community' is composed of one Vietnamese, one Filipino-Japanese and one Japanese young man, so we are quite inter-cultural family. And I'm glad to share, that two of them have started recently their Prenovitiate period. They live together as a family, with joyful spirit in the school of Don Bosco. Please, pray for us!"

On the Feast day of the Sacred Heart we remember in a special way all Aspirantates around our EAO region: Alafua-Apia (Samoa), Aberdeen Technical School (Hong Kong), Canlubang and Lawaan (Philippines), Lahore (Pakistan), Yokkaichi and Chofu (Japan), Sumba (Indonesia), Venilale - Comoro Dili - Fatumaca (Timor Leste), Chiang Mai - Hua Hin - BanPong - Sampran (Thailand), Phnom Penh (Cambodia), Anisakan-Nazareth and Thibaw (Myanmar), Seoul-Gwangju-Military service (Korea), Bomana - Port Moresby (PNG) and Henderson (Solomon Islands), Ben Cat and Dalat (Vietnam).

Sacred Heart of Jesus, May your Kingdom come!

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