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By Paul Dungca, SDB

Tarlac City, the Philippines, 10 May 2024 -- In a gathering resonating with youthful zeal and scholarly wisdom, the first-ever EAO Regional Formative Encounter of Quinquennial Confreres unfolded this week (6-10 May) at the picturesque Westwood Farm in Tarlac City. Facilitated by the esteemed Fr Francis Moloney, SDB, hailing from Australian shores and adorned with a wealth of biblical scholarship, the event stands as an estuary of enlightenment and fraternity for the young Salesian priests and brothers.

Designed as a nurturing ground for confreres within their initial five years of ongoing formation, the Quinquennium Formative Encounter, hosted by the FIN province, convened a cohort of 27 participants representing the diverse richness of the EAO region, with representatives from FIS, FIN, THA/CAM, VIE, PGS, and CIN provinces.

Throughout the week-long seminar, Fr Frank Moloney, SDB, captivated hearts and minds with his life example and spiritual guidance. Each day unfolded with a thematic focus, ranging from the evangelical consecration to the exploration of Jesus as the quintessential icon of Salesian Charism and the profound significance of the Eucharistic Priesthood. The journey culminated in a profound exploration of the Gospel of St. Mark, offering participants fresh insights and a comprehensive framework for understanding and living by the Word of God.

However, beyond the intellectual pursuits, what truly distinguished this encounter was its emphasis on communal sharing and fraternal bonding. Participants were not mere spectators but active contributors, sharing their apostolic experiences and challenges from their respective countries. The evenings were adorned with "Good Night Talks," where fathers took turns shedding light on the realities and aspirations of their provinces, fostering a sense of solidarity and mutual support.

One of the highlights of the event was the cultural tour of Tarlac City, organized by the Don Bosco Technical Institute Tarlac. This tour offered participants a glimpse into the local heritage and traditions.

Reflecting on the significance of the encounter, Fr. Edwin Ulanday, SDB, in charge of the quinquennium for FIN, remarked, "This gathering has not only nurtured our intellectual growth but has also reignited our passion for Salesianity and love for Scriptures. It has forged bonds of brotherhood that will endure beyond these formative days."

As the curtains draw on this transformative week, the EAO Regional Formative Encounter stands as a testament to the enduring spirit of camaraderie and enlightenment within the Salesian Family, echoing the timeless words of our founder, "Do good and do it well, that will be your best response to whatever challenges may come your way."







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