North Vietnam, 6 September 2019 -- With the start of the new school year 2019-2020, the newly approved North Vietnam Delegation is slowly taking off. With the 44 Salesians of Don Bosco (among them no less than 11 Salesian Brothers!) the 10 Salesian communities spread from Ky Anh (Ha Thinh, most southern presence) until Lao Cai (most northern presence) are mostly parish settings trying to develop some response to the needs of the young people in this large part of the country.
Among the current Salesian confreres only very few were born in the North, thus finding themselves in a true missionary environment, needing to learn the local traditions, customs and also some ethnic dialects of minority groups. The Catholic parish communities in the North are proud to be descendants of the martyrs (most of the 117 Saint martyrs of Vietnam and thousands of not officially recognised martyrs were living in this part of the large country).
On his first round of informal visitation the first Delegate, Fr Thomas Aquinas Tuan, was able to appreciate the creativity and enterprising spirit of his confreres, who are humbly contributing to the education of young Catholics and non-Catholics too with many after-school activities, faith education and oratory experiences. The contribution of the large number of Salesian (religious) Brothers is highly appreciated in this rather strongly clerical Catholic culture.
Together with the other EAO delegations of the Pacific (Samoa, Fiji and New Zealand, 30 SDBs), Pakistan (12 SDBs), Cambodia (23 SDBs) and Mongolia (12 SDBs) this newly started Delegation helps the Salesians to leave their comfort zone in long-established areas and move towards the 'peripheries' whiich Pope Francis speaks of.
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