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By Soccom Korea

Seoul, Korea, 14 April 2024 -- On 13 April, more than 300 people from various Salesian Family groups gathered at the Salesian Provincial House in Seoul to celebrate the Salesian Family Spirituality Day. The celebration was led by Fr Joseph Phuoc, who is making an Extraordinary Visitation to the Korean Province in the name of the Rector Major, Card. Angel Fernandes Artime.

In his opening greeting, Fr. Timothy Choi Woncheol, Provincial, said, "This year marks the 70th anniversary of the presence of the Salesian Family in Korea. When we look at its history, we discover the abundance of the Lord's salvation will and love for the youth of this land. Based on that history, may this be a time of unity and love for each other refining our attitude as a Salesian Family and dreaming of tomorrow."

In his congratulatory remarks, Fr Joseph Phuoc, EAO Regional and the Extraordinary visitor to the Korean Martyrs' Province on behalf of the Rector Major, said, "The Salesian family is optimized for youth in need. The greatest thing we can do to help them is to plant joy in their hearts and in their lives because we Salesians are always joyful." in wishing the Salesian Family who gathered together an abundance of joy. He added, "The concern and affection of the Rector Major and the General Council are with the Salesian Family in Korea. I hope that during my visit, I will be able to meet as many Salesian family members as possible and share their joy and life story".

This was followed by an in-depth lecture on the Rector Major's Strenna prepared by Fr Chang Michael. He briefly summarized the 50-page Strenna commentary, clearly explaining how we should approach the bicentennial of the 9-year dream. In particular, as a conclusion, he offered two words, "hope" and "possibility," to help us try to apply them in concrete reality. He said that the strength to overcome the current situation, where lamentation is prevalent, comes from hope and that faith and love work synergistically with hope. Also, he emphasized that being grateful for the small possibilities we have, not neglecting them, and constantly nurturing hope is the first step to dreaming of today.

This was followed by a lecture on the 70th anniversary of the Salesian presence in Korea, with the title "The Educational Role of the Salesians in Korean Church," prepared by Fr Moise Yoon Mangun. He reviewed the educational efforts in the early history of the Korean Church and shed light on the background and process of the Salesians' entry into Korea through the lens of education. He then briefly reviewed the history of the Salesian family's technical and literary education. In conclusion, he presented a new approach that is gradually being implemented, the so-called outreach education, which calls for a change of paradigm, and pledged that Salesian education, with its 70 years of history, will continue to be a valid alternative to Church education in times of crisis.

This was followed by exhibitions and participatory programs prepared by each Family group. Salesian families present in Korea, including the FMA, Caritas Sisters of Jesus, VDB, ADMA, SYM, and Cooperators, presented their history and the activities that they are currently focusing on, as well as various programs that were fun for the participants.

After lunch, a lecture entitled "Lay Initiative in the Spirit of Don Bosco" was given by Dr Petra Lee Jinok(Don Bosco Youth Ministry-Spirituality Centre). In accordance with the historical background of the Korean Church, where lay initiative is unusually strong, she examined what it means for lay people to carry out Don Bosco's mission in the modern world. And emphasized the need for efforts to raise the quality of lay people and to overcome clericalism in order to share responsibilities with consecrated individuals. By respecting each other's unique vocations and striving to work together, she said, we can become a Salesian Family that dreams for ourselves and inspires young people to dream of hope.

Each group then met to discuss what our pastoral and charismatic dreams should be as we look beyond 70 years to 100 years.

Gathered together, the Salesian Family offered all the joy of the day to God in a final Mass presided over by the Provincial. In particular, the day marked the second anniversary of the death of Fr Robert Falk, who gave his all from the very beginning of the Salesian presence in Korea, planting the dream of Don Bosco in the heart of youth. He invited everyone to pray for his eternal rest in Don Bosco's Garden in Heaven.

In his homily, Fr. Joseph Phuoc said, "In the 200 years since Don Bosco's dream, many dreams have followed, and the Salesian family in Korea has participated in one-third of them. Let us not forget that God loves young people more than we do, and Don Bosco also loved our young people more than we do." Sharing his deeply personal experience that God calls and continues calls to build His kingdom, even in the midst of desperate circumstances that led to the departure of many Salesians due to the communication that immediately followed his first profession, he urged the Korean Salesian family to prepare, beyond of the 70th anniversary, to the 100th anniversary with hope as with more trust in God.

The Salesian Family Spirituality Day 2024 concluded with a commemorative photo of the Salesian Family, who was touched by the celebration of Don Bosco's dream.


 

 

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