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By Fr János Andrásfalvy, SDB
Delegate for formation (UNG-Hungary)

Parañaque, Philippines, 22 August 2019 -- "I am very glad to be here in the Salesian House which was named after Steven (Istvan) Sándor, our beloved Hungarian blessed Salesian Brother. As I have heard the notice that in the Philippines there is a house called “István Sándor” I proposed in the provincial council that we, Hungarian Salesians, should send our brothers to the Philippines rather than to Guatemala (Not only because of the shorter distance: Manila 8141km Guatemala city about 8524km!).

The Hungarian brothers, Gábor and Áron, felt welcomed and helped in many things since the beginning, since May 2018; they felt good even in matters of food. For example, there is almost always bread and milk.

They had some difficulties in tackling culture(s) and the educational system. At the same time these are good opportunities to grow in flexibility, to have a broader view, and to understand and appreciate the difficulties of the missionaries in Hungary even more. There are plenty of positive aspects in society and culture that make them reflect on certain social issues never faced before. Additionally, they know better the strengths and the weaknesses of their own culture.

The difference in culture is surely a challenge in the community, too. The communication of the Hungarians that is direct and somehow concentrated on problem-solving may be strange to the members of the community.

It is a very good thing being with so many brothers together. And they appreciate the time spent together such as the prayers, meals, outings. Unfortunately, the structure at the moment does not help to live a more intensive community life.

They were very happy because of the Scripture classes (DBTS). Not only did they acquire more knowledge but also, they felt helped in their relationship with the Word of God and with the Lord himself. However, they mentioned some subjects that could have given more knowledge.

The perpetuandi course is a very good opportunity. We hope it will help Áron to prepare himself for final vows.

Our Hungarian brothers felt that the apostolate was especially useful as well as the moments when they visited the various Salesian settings, because they could see how the confreres can apply the charism and how the people accept it. They noticed that there is greater involvement of the laity in the life of the Church. Also, the summer apostolate was very useful for Br Áron, who was involved in it.

It is interesting for them to see how another province is working with recollections, formation days and the big events of the Salesian Youth Movement.

As a suggestion we would appreciate having more Salesian subjects and going deeper into them, if it is possible, and also to have discussions on the figure of the Salesian Brother. It might help the brothers if they had more feedback and clearer requirements of the subjects because of the learning process and preparation for the exams.

I hope that these years of Salesian formation for the brothers will be very useful for the whole Salesian Family in Hungary and on all over the world by enriching every year more and more the specific aspect of the Salesian Brother."

At present the Blessed Sandor community (Rector Fr. Arnold Sanico) has 4 formators (3 priests and one Salesian Brother) and 21 Brothers coming from five different Salesian Regions and 13 SDB provinces (3 from Africa-Madagascar, 2 from North & Central Europe, 1 from the Mediterranian, 2 from South Asia and 13 from the EAO region).

Thanks to the Patron Saint of this formation house, the relations between Hungary and Paranaque (EAO!) are growing year by year! Last year the provincial economer of Hungary (Br. Geza) and this year the formation delegate of Hungary (Fr. Janos) took part in the Curatorium meeting and personally experiened the environment of this largest Salesian Brothers' community of the Salesian Congregation.

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