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Interview with Provincial delegate for missionary animation

By Fr. 'Ding' Jose Armando Cortez, SDB

Philippines (FIN), 18 November 2020 -- Editors' Note: For the past few years many of us were impressed by the 30 day 'Salesian Mission Month' in the FIN province. We can access testimonies of Filipino missionaries on a daily basis on the FIN website and SNS, attractively presented. Interest in this is behind the interview with the FIN provincial delegate for Missionary Animation, Fr. Jose Armando Cortez - simply Fr.'Ding'.

You have been celebrating the Mission Month from 11 Oct-11 Nov for some years now. What was your motivation?

In the FIN Province we celebrate the Salesian Mission Month on October 11-November 11 so that the days will coincide with each of the Filipino Missionaries we are praying for in our Prayer Circle (we pray and highlight a missionary starting from October 11th which is a Missions commemoration and culminate on November 11th which is the anniversary of the first Don Bosco Missionary expedition in 1875. The whole November is the Mission month for most of our settings here in FIN. It is celebrated with EPC Mass of the setting.

What do you learn from the daily sharing of Filipino Salesian missionaries?

I came to appreciate more the persons of our Missionaries because they were given the opportunity to tell us their work, their struggles, and their invitation to go to the missions, in a one minute video. If they are not able to send their message, I was able to research their life and their mission which I shared in the 'home-made' music video. I put some notes on the photos I got from their Facebook accounts. I myself am very much inspired by their generosity so much so that I formally asked the Lord to help me discern if I have a missionary vocation at the start of the mission month. I also got to interact with several of the missionaries through Zoom or Google Meet and talk to them.

What is the feedback during the Salesian missionary month?

From the missionaries one feedback was from Fr Noel (Indonesia): "Congrats and thanks for that beautiful video on our missionary story (Fr Padilla and Fr Villafuerte). I had goosebumps seeing it. It was for me both a moment of deep gratitude and examination of conscience! Mabuhay ka padre... God bless you more... Viva Don Bosco!"

Others were telling me how grateful they are that their stories and reflections were heard from them personally and that they were affirmed in their work. They are also grateful for the prayers we said for them. It also validates our work and our efforts to make our Province aware of WHO missionaries are and not just to talk about their work.

How is your provincial missionary animation team made up?

I am constantly helped by our Salesian Lay Volunteers (SLV). Although I personally edit the videos, the young SLV members are a plus factor.

What is your dream at the end of this Salesian missionary month 2020?

My dream is for more of us Salesians SDB to go to the missio ad gentes – ad vitam (for life) and also to see more of our Lay Missionary Volunteers. We are preparing one for Cambodia but she is already a bit old. We can connect with the Cagliero Project (AUL - Australia & Pacific province) so that they may help us in our Lay Volunteers going for the mission and also our Province to accept lay volunteers from this SLV group.

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