In fact, three years after the opening of the Indonesian Vice Province of St Louis Versiglia (INA) in 2018, and following a serious discernment process, the first community of two Salesians accompanied by their Superior, Fr Andrew Wong, have reached Flores Island - a long-awaited new frontier in Indonesia.
Fr Andrew Wong reports to the 10th Successor of Don Bosco:
“Dearest Fr Angel, I want to inform you that on October 01, 2021, the feast of St. Therese of Lisieux, we arrived in the Island of Flores, Diocese of Ruteng, City of Labuan Bajo. We begin the first Salesian presence on this island that you asked us to establish since 2018. Bishop Siprianus Hormat and his diocesan priests have welcomed us with great fraternity. I ask your blessing and prayer for the two confreres we are sending this time. Their names are significant: Fr Petrus Tukan and Fr Paulus Rarasta.”
Frs Peter and Paul greet all Salesian Family members:
“We thank you for your prayers and attention. Now we are here, trying to do some good for the youth in Flores Island. At the moment we are still settling down, looking for a suitable residence in Labuan Bajo.”
Labuan Bajo is a small town in the western-most part of Flores island (6,000 inhabitants), a fishing and tourist spot, gateway to the nearby Komodo National Park (Komodo dragons) with a lively Catholic community and minor seminary for the Ruteng diocese.
Flores island is the 10th most populous after Java, Sumatra, Borneo (Kalimantan), Sulawesi, New Guinea, Bali, Madura, Lombok and Timor and is also the 10th largest island of Indonesia. Among the two million population (2020), due to Portuguese colonization, it has a predominantly Catholic population divided into three dioceses (Maumere, Ende and Ruteng). A good number of Indonesian Salesians were born on this island located in the Eastern part of their large country.
The Vice Province of Indonesia (70+ SDBs) has only one community outside Java Island in Sumba. The expansion to Flores was a long-term dream already indicated by Fr Egidio Vigano (7th successor of Don Bosco, 1978-1995).