Interview with a young observer
in the General Chapter 28: John Nguyen
By John Nguyen
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam 1 April 2020
What is your dream for Salesian (SDB) formation?
I believe that the SDB formation will bring a general program in training on the Identity and Orientation of Salesian young people. Particularly, the Handbook of Formation Salesian Missionary volunteer is appropriate to Vietnam youth. I really hope I could acquire some valuable guidelines on how the parishioner can be formed. My dream is that SDB formation would be an encouragement as well as a motivation to Salesian youth on the way to holiness.
What are your dreams for the shared mission with SDB and young people?
I have learned a lot from the Salesians whom I have met in my life by their strong practice of Christian faith and devotions. They are exemplary in their apostolic zeal, and specially they are warm, and care about the lives of young people where they live. Without doubt, where there is a Salesian there is certainly a strong pastoral predilection for the youth.
In addition, I think that young people should have more opportunities to become apostles for others by offering their talents and passion of apostolic services. Also, we want to say optimistically that we are young and lay people who have wonderful chances to do so in many different ways. We are working together with many Salesians who are always distracted by organization and arranging activities. What we need from them is a spiritual guidance for our apostolic initiatives and activities as well as for our life of faith. However, they do not have time to do so. Why do the Salesians spend a lot of time doing what other lay people can do well, meanwhile they skip things where no-one else can take their place? We expect the Salesian Brothers and Fathers to be spiritual guides, nourishing the Salesian way of inserting values of Gospel in the education - pastoral works!
I am dreaming of one day when all members of Salesians family would share mission together, and we would witness the values of the Gospel in selfless service and solidarity.
What is your dream for Salesian community/personal life witness?
We continue to make Don Bosco’s dream come true. I wish that every member of the Salesians family would always live the Salesian Spirituality, to bring an authentic love for the poor young people and continue to be animated by the spirit of “Da mihi animas”.
What did you feel in the holy places of Don Bosco?
When I was an altar-boy in my Parish, I was taught a lot about Don Bosco and Saint Dominic Savio who is the patron saint of all altar-boys. I have never imagined I was able to reach the holy land of Salesians and also the birthplace of Don Bosco. That experience will inspire myself to be better as a son of Don Bosco. That was an amazing and unforgettable experience ever!
Your experience talking to the GC28 young observers and EAO delegates?
When I came to Valdocco, I felt like coming back home because of the warmly welcome from Father Rector Major and from Salesians from all parts of the world, most of the 222 Delegates of the GC28 General Chapter. It was a privilege to be able to encounter with Salesian Mission globally and had an opportunity to connect with my fellow youth from distinctive parts of the world. I recognized how diverse of the Salesian family is. I hope that my experience talking to the General Chapter 28 young observers and EAO delegates would help me understand more deeply about how beloved I am, and how responsible I have to be as the son of Don Bosco.
What are your expectations for the path the Salesians will take after the General Chapter 28?
Generally, I pray for every plan and especially for the GC28 expectation in the next 6 years, I honestly desire that GC28 will help all parts of Salesian family come closer with Jesus. On the occasion of the feast of St. Don Bosco, he sent the annual message of the Rector Major to all Young People around the world, and he said: “The most precious thing are not the schools, nor the sports facilities, nor the universities, nor the oratories, nor the reception centers. The most precious thing we have is Jesus Christ, who conquered us and made us fall in love.” Most importantly, we also hope the Salesians teach us how to obtain that value.
Thank you and God bless you all.
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