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Three days in Vietnam - EAO Viceprovincials 2019


By Our Own Correspondent


Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, 7 October 2019 -- During their three days in Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam) the 12 Vice-provincials of our EAO region together with another 18 confreres were enriched and strengthened in their own vocation journey as well better equipped for their ministry of promoting religious discipline among their confreres. The EAO Vice-provincials and Secretaries appreciate and give thanks to both main resource persons - Fr. Pier Fausto Frisoli (Procurator General and Juridical Office of the Congregation) and Fr. Philip Lazatin (FIN, Novicemaster and FABC commission on Clergy) for their highly professional, clear and future-oriented input and inspiration.


The two evening outings to the two largest communities in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) - Xuan Hiep and Ben Cat - offered a good insight into the life and mission of the largest among the 12 EAO provinces. We were happy to share the dances and songs of our novices and theology students in Xuan Hiep community (Rinaldi, Rector Fr. Barnaba Phong) and with the Aspirants and many senior confreres in Ben Cat (Rector Fr. Peter Hoang).


What are the fruits of this first historic workshop on religious discipline? Most of the workshop participants return home with a deeper awareness of the dynamics of religious discipline and related tools, both at the psycho-spiritual level or the necessary procedures of the Canon Law. Participants pledge to study the materials received for personal updating and province animation in greater depth. A second fruit was to highlight the awareness process and animation regarding religious discipline in each provincial community, starting from confreres in initial formation.


What are the personal or provincial resolutions of the workshop participants?

  • Awareness of personal fragility that prevents one from judging other confreres.
  • Wider understanding of religious discipline, beyond juridical cases of ‘crime investigation’
  • Translation of the ‘Red Book’ (Juridical elements of SDB Administration, ed. 2005) in local languages, or at least the most relevant parts regarding religious discipline and governance.
  • Starting a province-wide process for drafting ‘Child Protection Guidelines’ with the involvement of all rectors and all confreres (not just copy-paste from other provinces). We are aware of the ‘deadline’ from Fr. Cereda (31 December 2019) set for the Guidelines. But we will focus on a sound participatory process including all confreres and lay mission partners.
  • Clearer insight into accompaniment of the various juridical cases (irregular or in difficulties) and availability of Fr Frisoli for matters arising (reply within 24 hours!)
  • Review the ‘Code of Conduct’ in each province
  • Organize similar ‘Religious discipline workshops’ in each province, based on the wealth of materials (SDB and Catholic Church) as the best way of prevention
  • Share the essential points at a Rectors meeting: like Vietnamese rectors help confreres to be more aware of their responsibility for religious discipline
  • Share and make digital materials available (Boscolink) to lay mission partners and confreres in each province.
  • Work on the preventive side of religious life discipline: strengthen sense of family and fraternity in our communities, break with the ‘culture of silence’ (abuse), share the beauty of consecrated life witness, learn more about the dynamics of addiction that limit the credible witness of our religious life.

We pray, that the inspiration, fruits of this workshop will be shared with most of the confreres in each of our 12 Provinces and 6 Delegations. We realized the enormous value of the Salesian apostolic consecrated life for the young and also the human fragility (fragile vessels) that needs consistent and constant vigilance and motivation. Yes, we recognize once again that we are first of all called to be 'signs and bearers' of God's love for the young!


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