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(ANS – Bonn) – Between 15 and 17 June at Bonn there was the annual meeting of those responsible for the large Missionary Offices of the Salesian Congregation. The Provincial of Germany Fr Josef Grünner hosted the event and introduced the new Director of the “Don Bosco Mission” in Bonn, Fr Clemens Schliermann.
Coordinated by Fr Václav Klement, Councillor for the Salesian Mission and Bro Jean Paul Muller, Economer General, those present responsible for the Mission Offices directly under the Rector Major were: Fr George Menamparampil (Bosconet India), Fr Mark Hyde and Mr Jaime Correa (New Rochelle), Fr Pierlugi Zuffetti (Missioni Don Bosco in Torino), Fr Agustin Pacheco (Misiones Salesianas, Spain) and Mr. Nelson Penedo, Deputy Director of the Bonn Mission Office which provided the hospitality for the guests.
According to the Agenda: each one spoke about the work undertaken during the previous twelve months. Some topics were also decided on for the Seminar for Provincial Mission Offices to be held in Bonn between 26 and 28 November. Fr Stanislaw Rafałko, from the Missions Department, presented the online database (SMS - Salesian Missionary Solidarity), which will be functioning in the second half of the year.
Two particular examples of good practice emerged from the reports.
In the last four years the two organisations in Bonn - the “Don Bosco Mission Office” 42 years old, and the NGO “Don Bosco Mondo”, with 26 years of activity behind it – have improved their structures and synergy emphasising the Salesian identity. The impetus of the 26 General Chapter, “starting afresh from Don Bosco”, strongly motivated the 31 lay collaborators of the Office increasing their sense of belonging to the German Province and interest in the Congregation. Salesian formation, creativity and a professional approach created a model environment. Fr Schliermann, the present Provincial Economer of Germany, will officially begin his mandate as Director of “Don Bosco Mission” on 15 August.
The Mission Office in India, active for three years, has already acquired a variety of experiences in the whole South Asia Region: through the formation of Salesians and their lay collaborators in all the Provinces, optimising local resources (economic, structural, human) and developing new methods of collecting funds in the public schools and social awareness campaigns among the students, such as for example, “Nine is mine” a programme for student scholarships. The Mission Office has close contacts with various national agencies; at present it has benefactors in 25 of the 28 States in the Republic of Indian. The two branches (“Bosconet”, a lay organisation, and “Bosco Aid Trust”, a religious organisation) are already registered for reduced taxation.
The meeting in Bonn strengthened an awareness of the need for missionary solidarity as an economic resource for the Salesian mission: formation and synergy in some parts of the world which need greater attention: such as Haiti, Sudan, Nigeria, Eastern Europe,…