The FIS province is slowly growing since it was established in 1992: There are 114 professed Salesians (25 of them still in initial formation) and 3 novices, who are spread around five islands of the Visayas and Mindanao (14 communities in the Philippines) and with two communities the Pakistan Delegation (established in 2015). The average age is 46 years.
Most of the apostolic works are open to Don Bosco's preferential beneficiaries, youth in need and youth at risk (9 Vocational training centres, 3 Boys homes, Magone house). This large mission embraces almost 13,000 children and older youth, not counting the 20,000 youth and adults who pass through the Don Bosco retreat houses annually. Salesians involve more than 1,300 lay mission partners and numerous other members of the Salesian family (more than 200 Salesian Cooperators, hundreds of ADMA members and Don Bosco Past Pupils, VDB, Damas Salesianas and also 3 FMA communities).
Besides the personal talk with each confrere (special questions about personal spiritual accompaniment, Cafasso-style) there was ample opportunity to listen to hundreds of youth leaders, lay mission partners and Salesian Family members who are contributing to the education and evangelization of the young.
The entire visitation was characterized by preparation for the Filipino National Youth Day in Cebu (April 23-29) with more than 10,000 youth from all dioceses and with more than 400 Salesian Youth Movement delegates. The Visitor also participated at the funeral of one Salesian, Fr Luis Badilla, and was able to meet the bishops of Cebu, Mati, Borongan, Dumaguete and Bacolod (Bishop Patrick Buzon, SDB).
During last two days of meetings the leadership of the FIS (Provincial Fr Godofredo Atienza) gave thanks for the numerouss sign of growth - in new vocations, in reaching out to more marginalised youth, in qualification of the confreres and the works (esp. TVET - Training Centres), in formation and involvement of lay mission partners and especially for the vocation and missionary culture growing in the province, like the 'SALVO' (Salesian Lay Volunteers) shaping our mission. With a serene outlook the rectors also shared their main challenges and needs - to growth in spiritual accompaniment, in more systematic formation of lay people and in strengthening the sense of belonging to one provincial community.
Due to geographical location and trust in Don Bosco, the province receives continuous new invitations (like the most recent to Cagayan de Oro in Mindanao or to Hyderabad diocese in Pakistan). There is also a strong need for ongoing reshaping of our presences to guarantee a clear charismatic mission to the young.
The visitation was interrupted due to various East Asia - Oceania regional events: Annual meeting of EAO provincials (KOR - Seoul, March), EAO Salesian History Conference (THA - Sampran, February) and province-level events (FIN new provincial consultation, CIN province and VIE province short animation visits).
Thanks to the efficient FIS social communication office and collaboration of many confreres, there are more than 25 news articles on Boscolink (www.bosco.link) shared during the visit in the 14 canonical communities. After the recent Provincial Chapter (March 2019) the whole provincial community is looking to the future with hope and commitment.