This year, 27 religious participate in the formation course: 24 are Salesians of Don Bosco, 5 of whom received the Missionary Crucifix during the 149th Salesian Missionary Expedition, and three are Daughters of Mary Help of Christians. They come from all five continents and are all already somehow missionaries: some already have several years of mission ad gentes behind them and there are those who are already dealing with real "missionary" situations and contexts even in their countries of origin.
The course is led by Fr Martin Lasarte, member of the Department for Missions at the Salesian Headquarters. It includes in-depth modules on various topics: from the deepening of psychological dynamics to spiritual accompaniment, from Salesian missionary holiness to interculturality, from the mission in relation to the care of Creation to the mission lived in predominantly Islamic contexts, and more.
"So far the most appreciated intervention was that of Fr Amadeo Cencini on faith, based not only on dogmatic truths, but manifested through the experience of life with God, in the suffering and joys of everyday life," said one of the participants, Fr Jaroslav Vracovsky, a Salesian from the Czech Republic, already active in the pastoral care of his country and now a missionary in Mongolia for the past three years.
"Although I have been involved in the formation of lay missionary volunteers for a good 10 years, this course here in Rome is opening my eyes to many inner realities, on spirituality and other motivations," adds Fr Vracovsky. Moreover, the atmosphere of prayer and sharing among the participants is very much appreciated: "Sharing with some confreres is very enriching, and the five days of silent retreat at the beginning of our course have also been fundamental."
Another of the participants, Fr Andrew Tin, a Salesian from Vietnam, of the Mongolian Delegation, added: "I just want to thank God for giving me the opportunity to be here, to get to know Don Bosco and our Salesians all over the world better! It is such a beautiful feeling and an experience that I could never fully express! And seeing the attitude and how much some older confreres still do, with whom I cannot even speak for the difficulties of the languages, I understand that it is better to live a life of fidelity to God, rather than a life of success."