One year long journey of Don Bosco Jubilee Year (2014-2015) helps us to re-discover
the roots of Salesian apostolic consecrated life. Few days ago we have also started the
Year of Consecrated Life (2014 Nov 24 – 2016 Feb 2) announced by Pope Francis
during the memorable encounter with the Union of Major Superiors (Rome, November
2013). It’s a three-fold invitation for: (1) renewal of (our) consecrated life; (2) make more
visible the life witness and service of consecrated men and women in the Church and (3)
invitation to young Catholics to consider consecrated life option.
Few days ago I have completed almost five months-long animation visit around ‘Our
Region’ (= East Asia – Oceania). It was a wonderful time of reconnecting to old friends,
appreciating the growth of Salesian Charism and sharing the specific challenges faced in
each of ten provinces and four delegations of the EAO Region. I was deeply impressed
by the vocation recovery, by youth ministry re-launching, by missionary availability of
many confreres, by a strong movement during the preparation and celebrations of Don
Bosco Bicentenary in each province. As the main challenge I would like to mention the
need of more Salesian personal spiritual guides in each province.
In November we had two very meaningful and important regional meetings –
delegates of Youth Ministry and Formation with the respective General councilors – Fr.
Fabio and Fr. Ivo. I was able to participate in both events (first in Australia - Lysterfield
and second in Korea – Seoul).
When we try to live more authentic Salesian life, we could admire and imitate the
numerous Saints of the Salesian family, especially those directly connected to our Father
Don Bosco. During the Formation of formation guides (Seoul, November 13-16) one
morning was chosen the liturgy of St. Joseph Cafasso. It was a challenge for me, but then
I realized that this figure of Don Bosco’s spiritual guide might be a good companion for
us during the whole period of six years! Indeed at the end of the GC27 the twenty six
EAO delegates recognized very strong need to prepare more Salesians as spiritual guides!
Saint Cafasso was just 4 year senior to Don Bosco, he was his regular confessor for 20
years (1841-1860), he guided the newly ordained priest to keep in touch with the cry of
the migrant youth in streets and prisons Turin. The influence of Cafasso on Don Bosco’s
life and mission is enormous. At the beginning of the Year of Consecrated Life the figure
of St Joseph Cafasso might be very inspiring. The guidance offered to Don Bosco speaks
loudly about the Salesian ‘DNA’. Let’s accept two questions shared in the formators
formation meeting in Seoul: Who is my Cafasso? Where is my prison?
With Don Bosco I wish you a Good night!
Fr. Václav Klement, SDB
EAO Regional councillor