Goodnight prepared for the GC28
China Province, 4 May 2020 — I believe one of the common experience we have is the Six-Year Road Map received from the Rector Major. In the case of China Province, it is the period 2018-2024. After receiving this proposal from the Rector Major, I with my council immediately made reflection and planned how to benefit from this 12-point proposal.
We are making a lot of effort to balance the ministry of animation and governance in this barely more than a year of open communication, dynamic discussions and comprehensive treatment of issues within the province and beyond. We dialogue with confreres as regards their difficulties, expectations and hopes.
We envision a province with more stable fraternal communities, creatively faithful confreres in living the Salesian Charism thus become inspiration to members of the Salesian Family and young people to discern and follow their vocations.
In my first canonical visitation, emphasis is given to the Salesian Communities and situation of confreres. Exhorting and requiring confreres to return to their own communities, to be reminded by our Constitutions. During my second canonical visitation, I focused on how the confreres are involved in the youth Educational-Social-Pastoral ministry entrusted to their community.
Presently in this vast country, we have 115 Confreres and 4 Novices; among these, there are 39 missionaries (11 based on agreement – temporary missionaries) coming from 13 different countries. Really, intercultural integration is both opportunity and challenge for us. Thus proper interpretation and living of the Salesian charism is much more needed in our context.
After my two rounds of canonical visitations, I could say that 2/3 of our communities are living the spirit of communion very well with satisfaction. On the other hand some communities have not yet reached even regular meeting of confreres.
We continue the vocation camps in all province territories. In the Delegation the local young confreres are very much involved in promoting vocation, as well as the members of Salesian Family. Although we do not have in house aspirants right now in Hong Kong, the Aspirants In-charge is following up young people especially on weekend basis. We continue to pray for good vocations.
We have been sending young confreres to prepare themselves and help the province in the formation of confreres (among them Fr Antonio, Fr Martin, Fr Carlos, Br. Bosco and others). We also put premium on the different qualifications of confreres not directly connected with formation but enhance and enrich the formation of confreres for the mission in the field of social work, human sciences and education.
As the Church, the Congregation and the Civil Law require high standard of transparency and accountability, through the effort of the Provincial Economer and his team, we are reviewing our administrative and financial operations. The annual or even more frequent meeting of Economers for proper operation and functioning of community administration is being put into place.
We need to speed up appropriating our resources among the Salesian Family members to have a kind of Salesian Family Formation Team, capitalizing on collaboration and networking. There are already minute steps, like sending a Lay Mission Partner for Salesianity Course, future re-running of the local Salesianity courses for teachers and Salesian Family Members.
We are dealing with certain attitude of confreres regarding on-going formation. Many confreres acts like after initial stage of formation the formation process is also completed. This is coupled with aging confreres and multi-tasking, thus we are really facing great challenges in this area. Of course we have the quarterly meeting and annual retreat as part of on-going formation, but the real battle is in the daily life as essential part of on-going formation. Strengthening of the quality of initial formation that leads to proper transition towards on-going formation is our way of moving forward.
Fidelity to Salesian-Bosconian Charism, is our way of living out the Gospel, in more than a year of my ministry of service as provincial and even before, this is the comprehensive meaning of what we are doing, thus, reaffirming this relation of communion with the Rector Major and his Council. A little sign of this fidelity is the concrete translation of Salesianity Materials. Recently through the great effort of Fr Pedro Leong, Social Communication Delegate, we finished the Chinese translation and publication of the Salesian Family Charter. We also set up the Translation Committee headed by the same Delegate.
The animation visit of the 10th Successor of Don Bosco, Fr. Angel Fernandez to all territories of our Province last August gave emphasis on hope and on Don Bosco of today. The theme of his Strenna this year (2019) – So that my joy may be in you (Jn 15:11) Holiness for you too. He visited the mission territory of the Salesian Proto Martyrs (Made in China) Sts. Versiglia and Caravario. In the same province he heard the heroism and fragrance of holiness of Fr. Gaetano Nicosia, who devoted all his life to serve needy patients (lepers) or brothers as he used to call them. He died at age of 101. He became a symbol of hope for many.
The Rector Major had also the opportunity in Hong Kong to anoint our confessor of faith, Fr. Paul Fong (80th Anniversary of Profession) on his death bed. Fr. Paul Fong, is the first Chinese Salesian Rector and was imprisoned for 37 years after the communist takeover. Fr. Paul passed away in the hospital on August 16, 2019 at 17:44; while the Salesian Family is having Holy Communion in the Mass presided by the Bishop Emeritus of Hong Kong Joseph Cardinal Zen (70th Anniversary of Profession), concelebrated by the Rector Major and other Salesian priests.
As the Rector Major shared with us, Don Bosco is in paradise and now we, all of us here, are the living embodiment of Don Bosco today for the whole Salesian Family and for the individual youth and for the youth of the world.