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By Fr. Antonio Takei, SDB

Norijiko (Lake Nojiri), Japan, 12 August 2019 -- Lake Nojiriko is located in the town of Shinano, Kamiminochi District, Nagano Prefecture (Northern Japan). The 47th Bible Camp has been conducted in this beautiful natural setting of mountains and lake between 8-12 August for the elementary school boys and is currently underway between 13-17 August for the junior and senior high school students coming from many dioceses inJapan.

This year we welcomed 68 boys between 10-18 years of age and the camp saw the involvement of many Salesians as leaders and staff; Salesian priests, Salesian brothers, post-novices, aspirants and Salesian Cooperators as well. So we can feel the Family spirit which is a key characteristic of our Salesian charism, where everyone feels at home, feels genuine affection, receives respect, is jointly responsible for the common mission with evident mutual trust.

The theme "Holiness for you, too " (John15:11) has been taken, after the 2019 Strenna by the Rector Major. The participants from various parts of Japan (Kyushu, Shikoku, Kansai and Kanto area) have been invited to reflect on their own vocation to be holy as our God is holy under the theme 'Holiness for you, too!' during the reflections on the holiness theme provided through the life of our founder, Saint John Bosco, as well as Saint Dominico Savio and Fr Cimatti. The youngsters were also reminded that holiness does not make them less human because “this is the will of God, your sanctification” (1 Thess 4:3).

The program of the vocation Bible camp always offers the boys many chances to encounter God, such as the Eucharistic celebration, the Rosary prayed in common, many different group works, presentation of reflections, recreation, mountain climbing, morning meditation and the well-prepared celebration of the sacrament of reconciliation.

Looking back on the past period of 46 years over which we have been conducting this Bible Camp, we should also acknowledge many Salesian priestly and Salesian brother vocations as fruit of this camp. We pray that this year, too, some of the dozens participants accompanied by the young Salesian Aspirants, Postulants, Brothers and Priests will be awakened to God's call.

Thanks to God who calls young people in many very different ways – also through the Bible camp. Thanks to Fr. Honda (first Japanese SDB provincial) who had this great inspiration 47 years ago to start the Bible camp at Nojiriko!

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