Participating are 80 SDB brothers and priests, FMA sisters, and several lay mission partners from 16 countries of Asia and Oceania. The whole meeting is animated by the joint effort of SDB-FMA General Councilors for the Missions: Fr. Guillermo Basanes, Sr. Alaide Deretti and their sector members: Fr. MC George, Sr. Blanca Sanchez. The Seminar's importance sees the presence of a further 3 General Councilors - Sr. Maria Assunta Inoue, Fr. Maria Arokiam Kanaga and Fr. Vaclav Klement.
The themes of each day clearly explain the dynamics: “Remembrance of the Past Journey” (August 14), “Listening to the Word” (August 15), “Listening to the Charism” (August 16), “Sharing the Mission” (August 17), “What is the Way forward?” (August 18) and “Examining our Procedures” (August 19).
Among the seminar's Special Guest speakers is Archbishop Thomas Menamparampil, SDB from India, former bishop of Diburghar and Guwahati.
The main theme of the first full day (August 15) was dedicated to personal, group and assembly reflection on the past 10-year-long journey of the Salesian Family on the Initial Proclamation of Christ. Fr. Alfred Maravilla, provincial of PGS, presented the journey of reflection on the theme of the Initial Proclamation of Jesus that has emerged since 2009 during 8 different continental and global encounters the SDB, FMA and other Salesian Family groups have participated in and discussed together.
With his talk - “At Your Word, I will let down the nets” (Luke 5,5) -, Mons. Menamparampil shared his rich personal missionary life experience, motivations and inspirations. Some of the main themes were:
- Missionary dream and tribute to the great missionaries who worked in India;
- Years of formation and work with university students;
- Training Youth for evangelization: Shillong and Bosco Bible School;
- Keeping close to the 'thinking element' in society, conference in universities around Asia;
- Services in the Episcopal Conferences of India and FABC (Federation of Asian Bishop Conferences).
The Seminar participants were deeply and visibly touched by his depth and missionary vision. His concluding words are drawn from Don Bosco Feast Day Mass reading (Philippians 3,8-9): "Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious - if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think of these things!"
The Seminar's fourth full day (August 17) was a time of 'final' clarifications about what the Initial Proclamation really means for the Salesian Family.
Most of the session was spent in 7 mixed working groups of SDB-FMA.
Some conclusions were drawn:
- Initial proclamation is not done by us. The main agent is Jesus with His Spirit. We prepare the ground, remove obstacles from His way;
- We try to identify the 'chain of attraction' that stirs the interest in the person of Jesus;
- We are called to create a favorable environment and personal relationship;
- We need to focus on the hearts of people, whether they be SDB, FMA or lay partners.
More photos are available on ANSFlickr.