East Asia – Oceania Region & Vietnam Province animation visit 2014

Welcome home!


Missionary postnovitiate of Blessed Michael Rua!

After more than 1 year from the recent animation visit in Dalat, I'm here for two short - intense days of visit again.  Dalat is the only house in the VIE province, which was not confiscated. It's a vibrant environment where the youth of the Oratory, Aspirants (both high school and university), local parishioners and the 50 SDB strong community are mixing in a admirable way.
All of the 100+ Salesian missionaries of Vietnam are 'product' of this house, most of them left their homeland just few weeks after graduation of the postnovitiate studies.
As usual, the conference was among the highlightes of the day. After an interesting sharing (AM time) with the formators about the challenges of formation (cultural gap among the young SDB and formators is widening, influence of the social communication culture, weakening of faith,  different way of living the vows..) i got few hints for the PM conference.


Pointing on the Salesian super-power India (short brickfield video from New Delhi, made by the Mission Office) where the mutual influence of the major number of poor youth around the world (more than Africa) and now the n.1 number of Salesians in India, the hint on our future was clear. Without the poorest among the young people, we have no future. Like Project Africa was the blessing for us 35 years ago, now the move in all provinces towards the street children, child workers... is our path to the future.


What is the radicality of our consecrated life? Living wholeheartedly for God, for brothers and for the young? How can we check, if we are living the radical witness to the Gospel? This second point of the conference was the main issue - we reached quit naturally the SPIRITUAL ACCOMPANIMENT (directrion) challenge. Some highlites - withouth a third person (God and myself in the examen of conscience is not enough, easy to cheat or being not aware about my real life).
A strong words of Pope Francis: "We have too many, really too many 'HALF WAY PRIESTS' and religious who fail to imitate Jesus" was an opening to many question received from the 35 young brothers:  
Who can be my spiritual director? (batchmate, rector, any experienced SDB priest or brother) What are the main qualities of a good spiritual director? ( trustworthy person to whom I can open fully my heart - as fundamental condition; person who has experienced spiritual accompaniment by other spiritual director; experienced in Christian life - interior life. The history of Vietnamese province, where Servant of God, Fr. Majcen was the first novicemaster and excellent spiritual guide to many (Vietnam and Slovenia until 1999) is a reminder about what we have probably lost over part 40 years (1975). What can be important - helpful from my personal side? (live with a personal project of salesian life, read some useful books like the Introduction to the devout life of St. Francis de Sales, or Spiritual diary of St. John XXIII, wiriting regularly a spiritual - interior life 'diary' - to verbalize the movements of my sould and heart.


What it the East Asia - Oceania Region (in the light of the GC27) - shown some slides of the GC27 life and EAO participants. Indeed the TOP 2 topics of the EAO provincial regarding HOW to become MYSTICS in the SPIRIT were chosen (10/10 provinces: Deepen personal experience of God and 7/10 Work on the personal spiritual direction in the province. Being young, our Region has many potentials, but need especially to invest into solid preparation of Salesians (this is probably the difference with the other two young and growing Regions - Africa&Madagascar and South Asia).
I'm grateful to God for the many simple personal interactions with the brothers (present also AFW Nigeria missionary on holiday, two of Brasile missionaries waiting for new visa release and one Brother still waiting for his Pakistan visa.
Mamma Mary, Help of Christians, protect and guide this wonderful communityto be more deeply disciples and missionaries of Jesus!

* * *

Formation commission
XH, May 11, 2014 - 2 PM - 4 PM
Participants: Provincial, Am, Phuoc, George, Ahn, Binh, Chinh, Brother (10 SDB)

1. GC27 formation issues (EAO top choices: 8/14 related to ongoing formation) 
2. How to live radically Gospel-inspired life? Need of basic tool: spiritual direction...
3. Learn the moral from the departures of our confreres (or low motivated SDBs)


Q - spiritual direction? many talks in the past, no improvement! (political will, some SDB prepared, province - wide drive to help all perpetually professed to be guided and guide)
Q - qualified teachers not enough! philosophy + theology for our big province
      and ongoing need for qualified formators
Q - Our situation: we have not qualified rectors as spiritual directors. If we are not prepared, we can't practice it. How can we prepare our rectors to be a good spiritual directors?
A - Personalization of formation (self-transformation, spiritual guide).
Q - Recent extraordinary visitation (2011) - provincial long term planning. How to guarantee this? (SWOT, OPP, plan + realization + evaluation)
Q - Planning mentality, who does implement it, who is in charge? no evaluation system?
Q - Secular companies they have planning mentality - without evaluation they don't sell, don't profit. I studied seminar on planning (products evaluated, feedback sheet - based on it, they improve. We have no system to evaluate the product' - infidelity on what? close, exact observation (we don't interpret well, only doing). Need to be frank about this!
Q - Will of the province - SDB should have a radical approach to the Gospel, Word is the foundation (3 vows). From the formation perspective we think about age gap, education background. We can set up the goals, but who will implement? Our destinataries are changing (life style). Subjects are living in an ongoing changing situation. Could we have any plan, direction? Ex - we open the VTC, but the youth is not eager to accept our way of education. We are getting angry, upset, loosing loving kindness - not practicing PSDB. We need to prepare people to this new youth culture. Not only finishing courses, but our brothers are not psychologically prepared to faced this issues? To live radically...

EAO sharing - what can VIE offer + what could VIE need?
VIE province offer

- Already asked by Fr. Cereda to share among the Salesian Center of Studies (Torino), but so far no concrete move happened (but we believe, it's possible) XH
- share personnel
- resource persons for talks, resources sent to other province (FIN) teachers, formators
- personnel for migrant ministry (GIA, CIN - Taiwan, KOR)
- interesting experience from KOR, migrant workers ministry (helpful for personal growth of the respective SDB). Why dont' we choose more SDB for this ministry (5-10 years) - Cross cultural experiences; growing solidarity and mutual support, learning among our provinces. KOR - why dont' they send some confreres here (100.000 workers), intercultural community?
- Without a good formation we might not have in near future many SDB to offer!

VIE province needs

- To prepare our personnel in different fields (also future missionaries)
- FIN, Radio talk show (Fr. Nolasco - Drans) = need to consolidate this experience
- English camp in Vietnam (continues with FIS help - every June- July)
- Psychologist from other EAO provinces (SDB care foremost; already some in need) and no psychological test for our candidates (aspirants, prenovices).  FIN - Mon (counselling), FIS - Ronel (Master) 'Mental block' in our province (after initial formation, who send our confreres - they don't want to study further?
- Good director of formation house (father) - heart offered to the confreres (Italy). We learn from their life-example was our precious experience. Send our rectors to learn abroad.
- Formators should live together as brothers (basic, central point). We need 'too busy rectors in formation houses, taking care about diocesan or external (30% maximum!)
- Need to form vocation guides (courses for formators), sometimes strong character formators destroy the effectiveness of our formation.
- Education is not a strong point of VIE Salesians: many (strong faith+) zealous Salesians without a solid professional pedagogical experience (missing in our formation, SDB are note aware deeply about children, youth psychology). How to harmonize these two elements?
- How to make our Province more open to the EAO region: need of exchanging teaching resources (from THA, KOR, FIN-FIS)

NB - Ongoing communication between the Regional Councilor and the Formation commission (if necessary) encouraged ( on white board

Follow up - emerging points

1. Need to prepare long term provincial specialization plan (formation as priority)
2. Education - pedagogy field seems be the urgency for YM field preparation
3. Formation of formators (vocation, spiritual accompaniment, team work)

Formation commission members (Fr. Am - head commission)

1. Fr. Joseph Le Anh (Novice Master):; (Ba Thon)
2. Fr. Joseph Bình Phạm Thanh:; (Kor)
3. Fr. Joseph Phuoc, Nguyen:; (dalat)
4.Fr. Joseph Vinh, Nguyen:; (theology)
5. Fr. George Phung, Nguyen:; (prenov)
6. Brother Chinh, Nguyen:; (VTC)
7. Fr. Peter Chinh, Pham:; (sc)
8. Fr. Joseph Tai, Vu: (theology, Italy)

* * *

VIE – animation visit 2014, May 11

Provincial Council


1. GC27 brief sharing
a. GC as an ‘event’

- personal experience (insight, discovery, ongoing formation..) 3 SDB
- new relationship between persons and provinces (exchange, missionary, links...)
- sharing – receiving material, experience, GNT presentation (first really digital GC!)
- Language (first – English liturgy), importance of translation - interpretation (5 languages)

b. GC as a ‘spirit’

- Word of God at the Center (daily liturgy, sharing, movement!) + Evangelii Gaudium (Francis)
- Discernment process as the way of living (see – judge – act: listen – interpret – way ahead)
- Deeper insight into the SDB world dynamics (center shift from Europe to Asia+Africa+America)
- Elements 'key words' highlighted very often: radical witness, visible sign, clericalism, 

c. GC as ‘document’

- Final deliberations (economical commission, SF, 6 sector synergy and coordination...)
- Final document (Work and temperance) - Mystics, Prophets, Servants (concrete lines of action, EAO!)
- Message & interaction with Pope Francis: 3 point (Work&Temperance; Poor youth centered; Together)
- Conclusion talk of the Rector Major, Fr. Angel Fernandez Artime (7 strong, concrete pointers)

2. East Asia – Oceania Region & Vietnam Province

- Regional workshops (last 4 days): EAO vision-mission, offer/needs) Continue with Council, Rectors!
- Letter of the Regional councilor EAO-002 (6 year period 2020 and project of RM, sharing PPL)
- 2014 Animation visit: 10 Provincial council meeting (RM – extraordinary visit letter)
- Communication - English: Facebook-EAO, Bosconet, AustraLasia link, Good Night Talks 

3. Provincial Councilor (role and spirituality)

- Contribution to the government and animation of provincial community
  (model of consecrated life, wider vision – study, reflection, discernment criteria + reality)
- Spirituality: good listener, fidelity to Salesian Charism (Constitutions, GC27 guidelines)
- Mentality: ongoing reflection ’How can we inculturate Salesian Charism here/today?‘ (Team Visit)

4. Vietnam Province - pointers to the future (mirror on our conversion journey... focus)

- Letter of the Rector Major to Vietnamese province (2005, 2011) - matter of evaluation
- Regional councilor: bridge between the RM&Council and the Vietnam/Mongolia province (information)

Sharing with the full provincial council (XH, May 11, 9 AM - 11 AM)

Provincial + Vicar, Econ (Secretary) + 4 councilors (Quang, Chinh, Hien, Am) = 9 SDB

- GC27 followed closely ANS news, AAlink, final document is already? SC
- Present need of the youth, formation? (Formatino)
- EAO help to follow the GC27? How to make it more effective? SC
- Poverty witness in GC27? (personal witness, necessary tools PDO)
- Numbers down. Vocation promotion? Vocation culture (YM)
- Translation? Even from ITA to ENG? (Provincial)
- SF detached from GC27?
- More 8000 cases dispensed. and we here?

Consultation for the new Provincial
- Provincial Chapter, Consultation - personal contribution is important (October 1-10, 2014)
- SWOT after the PC 2013 (based on this, help us with some questions)
- Consultation 4 questions (+Letter of the RM): sent us as soon as possible (quality preparation) 

EAO sharing (TOP 2)

offer from the VIE province + need/receive for the VIE province (10:30 AM)

1. Offer

- personnel - confreres (5)
- as young province with vocations, personnel well prepared;
- new ways of aspirant promotion (going down)
- the best confreres offered as missionaries
- vocation promotion experience and ministry

2. Need

- To prepare our young confrere
- Finance in order to develop many works
- Long range planning of the province,
- Help to foster the planning mentality - local level (rectors)
- Formation of formators
- Formation of young confreres (more experienced)
- Solid administration & finance autonomy (money, learn to organize the financial system)
- Learn from other provinces how to accompany better the boarding aspirants.
- Specialization in the Province (not only Italy, other languages)

Q - What is real need?

- Help us to qualify our confreres (formation and YM)

EAO request

- closer correspondence and collaboration (EAO regional circular / GNT)
- EAO newsletter (share our needs) and coordinate it within the Region (Chinh)
- Vietnamese missionaries (