TLS Salesian Cooperators growing in autonomy and communion
Comoro, Dili, Timor Leste, 15 November 2019 -- Over the course of two distinct animation visits to Dili, Timor Leste (October 20 and November 14) the Salesian EAO Regional Councillor was able to meet the core group of the Salesian Cooperators with the Timor Leste SDB provincial, Fr. Apolinario Neto on two occasions in order to accompany the delicate phase of establishing a Salesian Cooperator Province. Since the first promise in 2006, the membership of the Salesian Cooperators has been growing in numbers, in three different centres - Dili (capital of RDTL), Venilale and Laga, with another incoming centre in the second city of Baucau.
The largest Dili centre serves as the 'mother house' and indeed is also accompanying the formation of the younger centres in Venilale and Laga (two Salesian parishes of Baucau diocese). Present membership: Venilale Centre (19 + 6 Aspirants), Dili (72 + 15 Aspirants of 2nd year) and Laga (11 members). Since last 2017 there is a steadfast growth in communion and mutual help among the 3 Centres - the two younger centres out of the capital are assisted by regular formation visits from Dili, the PAL is translated into Tetum (available on Boscolink: https://www.bosco.link/side_right/24748) and the 'main office' of the ASC in Don Bosco - Comoro (Dili) is in the final stage of construction.
There are also a few challenges that the Salesian Cooperators are facing with faith, hope and tenacity: the need for ongoing translation of ASC documents into Tetum (5 translators are available in 2019), Formation of Formators (with the respective materials and tools) and Communication (within Timor Leste and with the EAO and World level) is still to be started; some of the members are not active and economic solidarity is not yet understood by all members.
The first promise of 6 Salesian Cooperators was celebrated in April 2006, and over the ensuing 13 years there hasbeen a steadfast growth of the members and centres (numerical growth) and also growth in quality (leadership, formation, mission). The target of establishing the official 'Province TLS' of the Association of Salesian Cooperators will be achieved during the first semester of 2020, with a Provincial Assembly celebrated in June 2020, before the 10th EAO Regional Congress of Salesian Cooperators in Vietnam.
The official process to canonically establish the new ASC Province comprises the Report on the State of the Salesian Cooperators in Timor Leste (by the three Centre Coordinators), the opinion submitted by the ASC World Councillor for the EAO region (so far 7 provinces: CIN, FIN, FIS, GIA, KOR, THA and VIE) and then the juridical process in the World Executive Secretariat (Rome) with the respective vote and submission to the Rector Major. The Superior of the Association of the Salesian Cooperators would sign a Decree of Erection of the new Province.
We welcome the 102 Salesian Cooperators of Timor Leste into the wider communion of the EAO Salesian Family and pray that the process towards their more mature autonomy as a Province will bring many fruits for the Church and Youth of this young country!
Saint Callisto Caravario, pray for us! Saint John Bosco, pray for us!