The seminar was animated by Fr Michael Mikaerurappu Haruyama, Provincial Vicar, and by Fr Okamoto Daijiro, from the Social Communication team of the Province. The event began with a prayer, followed by a welcome address by Fr Jacob Hamaguchi, Provincial of the "St. Francis Xavier" Province of Japan.
Fr Hamaguchi first thanked the Salesian Family for all the effort put into setting up the seminary in these difficult times. In his observations, he insisted on the need to change one's perspective in looking at what surrounds us, giving an example: when a plane hovers in the sky and we look below us, we see nothing but clouds, not realizing that the real beauty lies above us. Similarly, if we go from self-centeredness to altruism, we can arrive at a new perspective, which we never imagined to fulfill.
It is thus in the midst of a total lack of hope that the Lord comes to "make all things new" and, instead, gives us new hope. In the light of this reflection, Fr Hamaguchi invited the seminar's participants to welcome change, to change their perspective or outlook, and to embrace the hope that comes from the Lord.
At the end of the speech, the members of the Salesian Family then shared their experiences and gave testimony of how they are living the pandemic, expressing what their wishes and hopes are.
Finally, Fr Paul Tamura, Director of the Salesian Formation House in Chofu, near Tokyo, highlighted the key points of the Strenna 2021. He recalled that in the face of the pandemic and other situations that cannot be forgotten - wars, terrorism, trafficking of human beings, slavery and crime - hope "is something that runs in our veins and makes us grow in faith."
It is therefore necessary to have the same hope that Don Bosco had when, during the cholera epidemic, he invited the young people of the oratory to assist the sick.