Focus 2007

CIAO - FIN15-10-2007

Project: CIAO Youth Camp Asia
Date of foundation: 10-13 August 2007
Place: Canlubang, Philippines
Province: FMA Provinces in East Asia

The Idea

CIAO is an acronym which stands for Conferenza Inter-Ispettoriale Asia Orientale, the Italian form of the Salesian Sisters' Inter-Provincial Conference of East Asia. The Conference had made a decision to hold a youth camp for young people which would focus on the idea of 'life as a gift', a way of further highlighting the 2007 Strenna of the Rector Major, 'For a true culture of human life'.
The camp was a four-day event involving nearly 400 participants from 11 Asian nations: Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Myanmar, Cambodia, East Timor, Vietnam, Thailand, Japan, South Korea, China (Hongkong, Macau, Taiwan), Philippines.

The theme developed

The CIAO Camp took the biblical icon of the boy with five loaves and two fishes (Jn 6:1-13) as its theme for promoting commitment to solidarity and a celebration of life in joy and faith, as a way of responding to today's negatives of hatred, war, cynicism. Leaders were drawn from the Salesian Sisters, lay mission partners, and Salesians SDB (especially from Hong Kong). Sr Alicia Fulgencio FMA, Provincial Superior of the Philippine-Papua New Guinea Province formally welcomed all those taking part at an opening Eucharist which was celebrated by Bishop Joel Z. Baylon, the chairman of the Philippines Episcopal Commission for Youth. Representatives from the FMA General Council, Srs. Wilma de Souza and Maria del Carmen Canales, were also present.

The young people and their activities

All youth participating were divided into six groups, each named 'life' in one of the six Asian languages represented. The largest of the foreign delegations came from China. Each group and each delegation from one or other Asian nation expressed itself through its own language and culture.

Each day saw a different focus and associated activities. On one day the groups explored their theme of 'encountering the source of their treasure' through a lectio divina on the boy who offered five loaves and two fishes. This was followed by simultaneous seminar-workshops on six major youth issues: Media and Communication Technology, Ecology, Inter-Faith Dialogue, Peace and Justice, Culture of Life, and Servant-Leadership. After sensitizing the participants with these issues, testimonies were given by selected speakers of different states and stages of life on their experience of gratuitous service.

On another day participants were offered the opportunity to share their experience of Jesus in a range of 'immersion' sites which included ABS-CBN and Radio Veritas-Asia for Media Group; the Botanical Gardens, Centre for Philippine Raptors, Baker Field and the Scout Jamboree Site for Ecology Group; encounter with people from different world religions in Pansol for Inter-Faith Dialogue Group; homes for the aged for Culture of Life; Salesian oratory centers for Peace Group; Gawad-Kalinga Low-Cost Housing Program for Servant-Leadership Group. The immersion experiences, for which campers were first blessed and 'missioned', helped participants identify signs of life and also the things which block life. These experiences were ultimately integrated in prayer on their return.

On the last day, they have made a manifesto that speaks of their conviction and commitment after going through this camp experience: “As CIAO Salesian Youth, we commit ourselves to be servant leaders and promoters of life by sharing our Salesian Youth Spirituality”. To realize this goal, they have drafted their strategies as a province together with the guidance of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians.

The Holy Mass was celebrated in the afternoon as the culminating activity of the four-day camp. It was celebrated by Bishop Rolando Tria-Tirona, OCD, DD (Bishop-In-Charge of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conference, Office of the Laity and Family Youth Desk). In his homily, he challenged all the young people to live their camp’s theme, “Life: A Treasure Received, A Treasure to be Given to the Full”.

A “Barrio Fiesta” dinner and thanksgiving celebration followed which showcased the cultural heritage of each CIAO nations. Sr. Alice Fulgencio thanked the presence and participation of Sr. Maria del Carmen Canales and Sr. Wilma de Souza together with the different CIAO delegates by giving them some gift tokens from the Philippines. They in turn expressed their gratitude to the Philippine Province for hosting the first CIAO Youth Camp. With high Salesian Spirits, they closed this beautiful experience with the singing of CIAO Youth Camp’s theme song, “With SYS We Can Make It” composed by Ms. Lea Dasigan, FMA’s lay mission partner.