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We are in the same boat (Mark 4:35-41)

By Philip Yu, ASC
World Councilor for the EAO Region

Hong Kong, 2 April 2020 --

Dear Salesian Cooperators, sisters and brothers in Don Bosco:

Greetings of Peace from Hong Kong and a big hug of Jesus for all of you!

No doubt we are all in the same big boat of the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) which continues to spread around the world. I’m sure we do the same thing as the Apostles, waking up Jesus and asking him “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” (Mark 4:38)

Pope Francis in the homily of 27 March 2020 during the celebration of the blessing to “the city and the world” (Urbi et Orbi)W reminded us that we are on the same boat, in which Jesus goes with calm, serene and confident in the Father. In this time of Lent, it is an urgent call to conversion to choose the essential, to act with co-responsibility; whereas “prayer and silent service are our victorious weapons”. And the importance of going on to the same boat carrying Jesus Christ is not to wreck but to awaken and enliven our faith because “Jesus is risen and is living by our side”. Thus, as Pope said “The Lord asks us and, in the midst of our tempest, invites us to reawaken and put into practice that solidarity and hope capable of giving strength, support and meaning to these hours when everything seems to be floundering… By his cross we have been saved in order to embrace hope and let it strengthen and sustain all measures and all possible avenues for helping us protect ourselves and others. Embracing the Lord in order to embrace hope: that is the strength of faith, which frees us from fear and gives us hope.” Remember we are assured of the intercession of our Most Holy Mother, walking strongly with Her hand in hand as requested by the Virgin Mary of Fatima and with powerful Help of Christians, praying the Holy Rosary, embracing the Cross, we can win this battle and yet take care of each other.

The style of action of the Salesian Cooperators, inspired by the Salesian Spirit (PAL-Regulations, Chapter III Art.11), invites us to be like Don Bosco:

  • Practical and enterprising
  • Untiring and creative workers
  • Uninterrupted and profound interior life
  • Faithful to his spirit and attentive to reality
  • A sense of the concrete
  • Discernment of the signs of the times and with a spirit of initiative push themselves to give appropriate responses to the needs of the youth in the territory and in society
  • Constantly ready to verify and to readapt the response
  • To accompany actions with an attitude of contemplation
  • Recognize the mystery of God’s presence in everyday life and the face of Christ in the brothers and sisters

Here are some suggested actions to continue living the Gospel in the middle of the Pandemic crisis, which may be good for local centres, provinces or the Association:


  • Discerning of the signs of the times in light of the Gospel, Magisterium, Strenna and PAL.
  • Reaffirming our faith in Jesus Christ though the Exhortations of Pope Francis.
  • Rediscovering true affection and creativity for family and center coexistence.


  • Accompaniment and closeness to all members of your own Center.
  • Attentive to the needs of the ones we serve.
  • Promote the value of life, taking care of ourselves and caring for others.


  • Devotion to Mary Help of Christians through consecration to the Virgin Mary with the prayer of the Rosary
  • Strong moments of prayer
  • See this experience as a holy opportunity, beginning with conversion.

In addition, these practical actions may help us move forward actively:

  • Follow the protocols of the health authorities such as stay at home.
  • Make the information available to those who are lack social network through personal calls.
  • Hygiene habits
  • Via network, accompany and support the Salesian Cooperators and/or neighbors living alone or following health recommendations.
  • Via network, take part in all possible liturgical celebrations, in a liturgical and family environment.
  • Pray for the sick people and for the Pope’s intentions through the Holy Rosary.
  • Help anyone in need, with food and necessary medicines, not to panic or cause shortages.
  • Where possible, hold Local Center meetings and Council meetings by online means or by telephone, not forgetting for those non-regular attendees this could be a valuable experience of communion.
  • Keep in touch through online meetings or phone calls.

In summary, attitudes that can help us strengthen our vocation include (1) Closeness, (2) Solidarity, (3) Companions, (4) Forecasters, (5) Trust in God, and (6) Creativity.

WE ARE ON THE SAME BOAT with Jesus. Let us hand over our fears to Him so that he can conquer them. Like the Apostles, we will experience that with Him on board there will be no shipwreck and He bring serenity into our storms. Let’s also entrust ourselves to the maternal protection of Mary Help of Christians. “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven.” (Mt 6:10)


Sincerely yours in Don Bosco,

Philip Yu

World Councillor/EAO 2014-20






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