By Mr. Mitsuhiro Tateishi
Tokyo, Japan, October 16, 2015 - I’d like to share my personal experience and awareness on the 5th Statutory World Assembly of the Past Pupils of Don Bosco, was held at the Salesianum in Rome, October 3-6. See article in Bosco.Link
On the 1st day, after the opening ceremony, we listened to the report on these past 5 years from the members of the Presidency. Especially, Fr. Jose Pastor Ramirez gave us a talk which was both candid and rich. I think his reflections will be very helpful for our examining the activities and organization in each federation.
At the end of the 1st day, we had a good time in the “Intercultural evening”. We exchanged souvenirs, took photos and danced together. We, the representatives from Japan, wore a kind of kimono coat with a picture of Don Bosco in Ukiyo-e style and did some promotion for the Manga “Coraggio!!".
The joyful noise when Past Pupils of Don Bosco come together is the same everywhere in the world!
To know each other
On the 2nd day, we listened to reports from the Regions which were followed by presentations on the characteristics and activities of about 30 federations. At world level, Don Bosco’s Bicentenary became an occasion to re-enforce the ties among the Past Pupils and with the Salesian Family.
In the Asian Region, despite political turmoil, poverty and difficulties regarding education, the Past Pupils are playing a vital role in schools, vocational training and financial support. The “Business Clubs” which enhance exchange and help the youth to find jobs are active in many countries.
From East Timor, which will host the Asian Congress next year, an impressive number of 50 participants came, showing the fervor of the Past Pupils in their country.
From Japan, we reported on how the National Federation was founded in May, about the schools and their respective alumni associations, how we intend to enhance exchange among ourselves and to support young people, and we invited all to visit us in Japan.
To follow the Gospel
In the morning of the 3rd day, the participants took part in the Eucharist at St Peter's Basilica in the Vatican, presided over by Bishop Enrico dal Covolo SDB.
This day, 5 October, was the feast of Blessed Alberto Marvelli, a Salesian Past Pupil.
The gospel reading was of the parable of the “Good Samaritan”. We were reminded that Don Bosco was someone who rushed to the side of those who had fallen in their journey, to help them, to accompany them.
To place hope in the young
In the afternoon of the 3rd day, Mr. Michal Hort (Slovakian, 37) was appointed by the Rector Major as the new President of the World Federation.
Mr. Hort, thoughtful and mild in character, who has solidly built achievements in Slovakia in spite of his young age, set clear goals for the Past Pupils.
The result of the election seemed to me to reflect the youthful Salesian spirit. The assembly seemed to be surprised, but also proud of their choice.
In the evening of the same day, the Rector Major, Fr. Fernandez gave the Good night talk in which he invited us with these words to live the Salesian spirit, "No complaining" and then "Communion, Communion"! Don Bosco’s words with which he encouraged the young seemed to resonate from the depths of my heart: “Don’t worry about failing, do not be afraid, let’s move on”.
There is no GEX (young past pupils) group in Japan... so we, the Japan Federation, will try to build up the GEX group. I think it is very important to link SYM (Salesian Youth Movement) with GEX.
I miss you all, Let’s connect!
On the 4th day, the amendment of the Statutes was approved at last. I consider it to be a meaningful amendment which responds to the Rector Major’s call to face the new times, while treasuring the spirit handed down from Don Bosco’s time, respecting diversity, and looking towards deepening ties.
This was followed by group discussions in which we shared about the current situations and issues in each country and on how we should respond to these issues. Those of us from Japan were in the same group as Croatia, Malta, Hong Kong and Thailand. It was a meaningful meeting, sharing concrete situations and exchanging ideas for solutions. There is need for us to cooperate with SDB, work together with SYM and enhance communication among our federations. It is demanding work, but if “places of communion” such as this congress are realized, the “Salesian movement” will be such an interesting platform.
Dear Past pupils in Asia, I’m looking forward to seeing you in East Timor next year!
I think it will be great if we could participate in various Regional assemblies of other countries as observers….so that we can visit various countries and schools, and meet many Past pupils.
Mitsuhiro Tateishi - Secretary, Japan Federation of Salesio Alumni Associations (Social Communication Secretary, SDB Japanese province)