ASC EAO Region, 4 October 2020 -- For the first time in history, the EAO Region Salesian Cooperators and their delegates met online on 3 October 2020 for two hours. Mr Philip Yu, World Councillor for the EAO region moderated the meeting, attended by Mr. Antonio Boccia, World Coordinator ASC, Br. Dominic Nam, World Delegate SDB, Fr Joseph Phuoc EAO Regional Councillor SDB and 30 Salesian Cooperators and Delegates from 20 different locations.
The World Coordinator shared briefly the solidarity during the pandemic with some ASC (Angola, Nicaragua etc) and introduced with a few slides all 11 ASC regions (members, aspirants and centers). Aside from the almost 30,000 promised members, the highest numbers of Aspirants are in the regions of Interamerica (USA, Canada, Mexico) with 816 and in Spain-Portugal region (603 aspirants).
Most of the time was dedicated to sharing the present situation and ‘Laudato Si’ environment action in each province. The large variety of situations made it really very interesting. From tree planting with young people (Samoa), Laudato Si awareness campaign (Korea), No trash policy in SF meetings (FIN), stop the use of plastic bags (GIA) to reforestation action (TLS). Since 4 October is the last day of the ‘Season of Creation’, all participants were encouraged to continue the path of Don Bosco Green Alliance in their ordinary activities.
Among the common traits is also a constant growth of new ASC vocations: in Samoa at present time some 15 Aspirants are almost ready for their promise, Vietnam province is excited to receive a promise of 51 young Cooperators (Oct 4).
Br. Dominic Nam has prepared an enthusiastic message (full text on Boscolink). Starting from the short message of Fr. Joan Lluis Playa (Delegate of the RM for the Salesian Family), he has developed three points on the daily miracles of solidarity, mission going beyond our activities and a strong sense of communion in the Salesian Family to be really the salt of the earth and light of the world:
“Thank to this blessed technology we can still be in touch and get closer to one another. It allows us to reach out to many people. With just one click, we can see thousands of meaningful works done in different parts of the world. It is true that miracles happen everyday before our eyes…. People who make miracles happen everyday, are members of the Salesian family all over the world.
…We also can ask ourselves the same question as SDB during their Chapter 28: “What kind of Salesian Cooperators for the youth of today?” How should we live our vocation actively and how do we share the mission with the Salesians? Also in Valdocco we have our model, the first lay cooperator, Mamma Margaret. She cooperated with her son until her last breath. She dedicated her life totally for the salvation of the poor youth. Sometimes we confuse mission with work, with activities. Instead, mission is a response to God’s call; it consists in bringing God to people, people to God and bringing people to Creation to protect the Nature…
… My dear Salesian Cooperators - eco-friendly Salesian Cooperators - with your unique identity, your presence in the Salesian mission, in your working place and in the world. You should have a strong sense of communion with the other members of the Salesian Family. You commit yourselves to the same mission to youth and to ordinary folk in a fraternal and united way. (PAL art. 6) and art. 16 says: “Salesian Cooperators know they are “in intimate solidarity”with the society in which they live and for which they are called to be light, salt, and leaven”.
Also the new EAO SDB Regional Councillor Fr. Phuoc raised the spirits of the participants with his clear message about reciprocity of relationships within the Salesian Family, where we need each other: Without the Salesian Cooperators the SDBs can’t keep their identity and also without the support of the SDB our Salesian Cooperators would not be able to live fully their Salesian lay vocation in the world.
Among the 35 participants all 8 EAO SC provinces (CIN, FIN, FIS, GIA, KOR, THA, TLS and VIE) were present, together with some other groups (not yet established as provinces) like Mongolia, Samoa, Singapore and Myanmar. The meeting was a good chance to welcome many new Delegates – Fr. Lourenco Neves (TLS), Fr Bosco Park (KOR), Fr Noby Tamura (GIA), Fr Peter Niphon (THA). Also the ‘solemn’ presentation of the newly born Timor Leste province by their Coordinators and the presence of 4 FMA delegates (CIN, FIN, TLS, THA) was appreciated a lot.
Looking forward, probably this kind of EAO meeting is not the last. Although we missed some members (Cambodia, Indonesia, PNG, Solomon Islands and Pakistan, Australia, New Zealand) and not all the technical glitches were solved immediately – this first online meeting is a breakthrough for bridging distances in the large EAO region.
Next EAO Regional Congress was the last point of the agenda. Indeed due to the Covid19 restrictions also the EAO Salesian Cooperators missed their July 2020 Congress in Vietnam. Mr. Antonio Boccia announced that due to the pandemic the World Council will bring some guidelines for all 11 Regional Congress around the world during their incoming meeting on Oct 17, 2020.
The EAO Salesian Cooperators made a history with this meeting. Now they are even closer than before, for some of them just ‘one click’ distance to far away lands. We wish the communion among the 2500 Salesian Cooperators in our Region will grow step by step.