The reflection meeting took place from 27 to 30 June at the Provincial House. The long days of debate focused on how the native Salesians of Melanesia could have the charism of Don Bosco take root locally. What emerged was that the values of the Melanesian cultures and society were a terrain on which the Salesian charism could indeed take root, grow and produce abundant fruit.
"It was a first of its kind experience for us Melanesian Salesians," said the young Salesian cleric Conrad Vamilat. "It helped us first to become more aware of our need to grow in the critical appreciation of our cultural values in order to discover what elements of our cultures are of the Gospel and what are not, which of these elements are compatible with our charism and which are not and, in the final analysis, what needs to be maintained, healed, perfected or even rejected."
From the meeting, it also emerged how the culture of Melanesia was a special gift that the Salesian Congregation was waiting to receive, but via the debates and reflections, it emerged also that to have the charism of Don Bosco take root in Melanesia would be a slow and continuous process, one which required patience and discernment, accompanied by critical reflection and prayer.
Another important element was the acknowledgement that those born and raised in a given reality were not always able to fully perceive all aspects of their own culture and traditions, why the value of the presence of Salesian missionaries and of the Melanesian Salesians who resided abroad was emphasized, they who, on returning to their homeland, could shed light useful for the inculturation of the Salesian charism.
Looking to the future, the participants of the meeting pledged to live faithfully the Salesian Constitutions as the first and necessary step for the inculturation of the charism of Don Bosco in Melanesia. And on the last day, as the culmination of the seminar, there was the Eucharist and sharing a fraternal meal, in the traditional local style, with 14 young aspirants.
Finally, to encourage the flowering of the charism in the region, plans are to repeat this meeting every year.