World, 18 February 2023 -- Just a few days before starting the 40-day Lenten journey towards Easter, each SDB local community is called to make a common resolution for how to focus their Lenten path of prayer - fasting - almsgiving. Usually we point at giving up some food items, then sending that amount of money to a current humanitarian crisis or similar.
Today, we are happy to share a creative suggestion from the SUE (Province of St Philip the Apostle, Eastern USA and Canada, Superior: Fr Timothy Zak) regular newsletter no. 222 (February 16, 2023), that may inspire some other Salesian communities or provinces during the upcoming Lenten season:
"...Ash Wednesday is next week. Communities are deciding their Lenten penance. Some will agree to simply repeat what was done last year. As we recall the celebration of the 125th anniversary of Salesians' arrival in New York, I would like to propose this Lenten practice: Every SDB spends 10 percent of his time working for vocations. That’s about 40 minutes a day. Many SDBs take 20 minutes a day to pray the Rosary for vocations, but what about the other 20 minutes?
Maybe you could ask all the liturgical ministers at all the Masses you attend about their vocation. Perhaps you might share stories of the Salesian holy men and women and highlight how they answered God’s call. Maybe you could accompany a weekly Bible study group and focus on the call narratives. Perhaps you can meet weekly with young people who are using To Know and To Be Known: a Prayerful Journey Into God’s Word and Mission for My Life, a discernment journal available from the (SUE) province vocation office. The Spirit is creative. This Lent, we can give the Spirit time and space in our lives to find creative ways to help others grow in their vocation."
To be a Salesian of Don Bosco, means to be part of the second largest Catholic religious congregation for men, with more than 400 novices around the world every year and in many countries the SDB are counted as the most numerous religious family. This reality might affect many Salesians simply 'don't care about vocations' or just pray a simple 'prayer for vocations' or being happy with a busy 'province-wide vocation director' who 'should care'.
Within the 1500 Salesian confreres in the 23 countries of the East Asia - Oceania region (EAO), there is plenty of room for 'vocation ministry' for each and every Salesian: telling his own vocation story, sharing inspirational models of different kinds of Salesian vocation (religious, brothers, priests, missionaries, secular institute, committed lay, catechists or youth ministers). What is your personal contribution to the Salesian Vocation Culture?