(Pope Francis, The Joy of the Gospel – Evangelii Gaudium, n.272)
October is the month of the Missions and of the Holy Rosary! For all of us living in the missionary region of East Asia and Oceania it’s a special time to pray the Rosary in order to strengthen the missionary culture in our community.
I’m sending this Good night talk just few days after the 145th Salesian missionary expedition at Valdocco, Turin. Among the 12 new missionaries of 2014 there are five from our Region (one from Indonesia, Korea and the Philippines and two from Vietnam). As the exchange of gifts is going on also 3 of them are being sent to our Region (Br. Raphael from Swaziland to Hong Kong, Br. Harsha from Sri Lanka with Br. Peter Khai for the delegation Papua New Guinea – Solomon Islands). Welcome to our Region!
On the Feast of St. Therese of Lisieux, the Patroness of the World Missions, I’m sharing my innermost ongoing meditation on my journey: ‘Without a solid missionary culture building and daily missionary commitment the Church and our Congregation has no future!’
We are very grateful for more than 150 Salesians who were sent out of EAO provinces as missionary ad gentes! Last month while visiting one post-novitiate I was caught by surprise, when among the 5 formators and 20 brothers seven of them shared with me one by one their missionary dream! Thanks to God for this healthy Salesian environment! We pray for new, solid and numerous missionary vocations among the young confreres! But they are just the tip of the missionary iceberg!
As Pope Francis shares in his Evangelii Gaudium: “If we want to advance in the spiritual life, then we must constantly be missionaries! The work of evangelization opens up spiritual horizons and makes us more and more sensitive to the workings of the Holy Spirit… a committed missionary knows the joy!”(EG n.272)
If we are serious with our constant ‘going out of our comfort zone’ – we would foster missionary groups in our youth Centers, parishes and schools (Tondo-Manila junior catechists), we would pray often for the missionary vocations, we would ask missionaries to share their motivations (as in monthly bulletin of missionary animation - Cagliero11), we would try to live the initial proclamation of Jesus Christ in everyday ministry (as witness the three catechumens in Hua Hin school), promote the missionary volunteers (as Cagliero Project in Australia or Salvo Project in Cebu). How much would I wish to meet in each local community these and many other genuine expressions of missionary culture, of daily commitment community as radical disciples and missionaries of Jesus! Good night!