By Viet SocCom
K'Long, Vietnam, 4 December 2023 -- Regular formation days for Salesians aged 50-60 of the Salesian Province of Don Bosco Vietnam opened on the afternoon of 29 November at the K'Long Retreat Center and ended on the afternoon of 2 December. There were 36 participants in all.
Before the main reflection guide by Father John Baptist Phuong Dinh Toai, MI, was an introductory day with a sharing by Father Provincial Barnabas Le An Phong on the importance of ongoing formation basing on anthropological and ecclesiological aspects. Following the sharing of the Provincial, Father Joseph Do Duc Dung, Provincial Councillor for Formation, developed the topic "Credibility of the Internal forum" based on the instructions of the Church and the Congregation, which is a special thing relevant to Salesians in the ministry of spiritual accompaniment.
Under the guidance of Father John the Baptist Phuong Dinh Toai, the participants reflected on their life experiences and identified challenges to living fully their vocation in the reality of human existence, which is to live a specific vocation in the interaction with the environment, with people, and with one's age. This topic of reflection is named "Our times - Challenges and opportunities". The animator of the regular formation course initiated reflection from verse 1, chapter 3 of the book of Ecclesiastes: "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven", to lead into anthropological understandings, the psychology and spiritual dimension of age.
He also took the participants to identify common crises, as well as common physical and psychological illnesses in Priests and Religious: sexual deviation, difficulty in long-term interpersonal relationships, depression, drunkenness, substance abuse, money problems, which are related to the roots: isolation, chronic anger, background of personality disorder, spiritual superficiality, disorder gender, the influence of the internet on chastity and community, pastoral relationships.
From here, to take care of their mental health and live their vocation to the fullest, participants are guided to look back at the past, what remains unresolved with the potential to reappear; At the same time, drawing on contemporary writers on spirituality and consecrated life, participants are brought into the heart of a life of prayer and fraternity that takes advantage of the potential of middle age to bear spiritual fruit and charity.