Ten of the 11 EAO provinces were present (with only AUL missing), including participants from Mongolia, Indonesia and Cambodia Delegations. Some of the participants had already attended the first Seminar Workshop in 2017 and the positive response attracted more SDB and Lay people.
The fellows were enriched and inspired by the presence of the largest Lay Mission Partners group from Thailand and appreciated also the encouraging presence of their provincial Fr. John Bosco Theparat during the first week. Another 4 Lay Mission Partners from Papua New Guinea (including one Salesian Cooperator), Lay and Salesian Cooperators from FIS province also took part. The variety of cultures was highlighted by the presence of Fr. Nathaniel from Nigeria, and this year the largest contingent of 9 Salesians from Vietnam - Mongolia province.
The careful preparation and assistance by the organizers from DBCS - Rinaldi community - was very much appreciated. On the weekends, an outing to the historical center of Manila and knowledge of some Salesian settings in the Philippines capital was organized.
The presence of the EAO Regional Councillor, Fr. Václav Klement (May 10), was an inspiration and an eye-opener and offered a good opportunity for interaction. In his brief ecouragement he shared:
The result of the world-wide survey about the 'Spiritual accompaniment of young Salesians' (UPS - Rome, 2018). It is rather interesting that compared to other six SDB regions, EAO confreres are sustained in their vocation more by the personal knowledge of Don Bosco and the Constitutions (1st - 70%). The present scheme of 3-year Salesian Studies Workshop may follow the model of Quito (Ecuador) Inter-regional ongoing formation center. Since 1974 the Latin American Salesians developed Salesianity workshop level 1, 2, 3 (three weeks in Quito every year) concluding with level 4 as a one-month long pilgrimage to the Holy Places of Don Bosco in Piedmont - Italy. The expected fruits of these Salesian study workshops is to form a new generation of Salesians and Lay Mission Partners who would eventually become Salesianity formators for the younger SDB generations and other Salesian Family members and Mission Partners.
“We return to our home province with some concrete fruits of ready-to-use modules for Salesian pedagogy formation (practical trainees, Salesian Cooperators, SYM or teachers in our schools), with the Diploma and strong desire to come together again for the 2019 course in Paranaque! We were able to touch the heart of our Father and Founder,” said Br. Bernardinus Mei, SDB, one of the participants.