After the morning prayers and Eucharistic celebration (in memory of Blessed Artemide Zatti) presided by Fr. Ivo Coelho (General Councilor for Formation), the first morning session opened via the prayer offered by Br. Joe Ferrer (FIN), one of the few living participants of the 1975 Salesian Brother World Congress, and the greetings of Fr. Joseph Nguyen Van Quang, the Vietnam-Mongolia province Superior.
In the first 90-minute session, the EAO Regional Councillor, Fr Václav Klement, introduced all 180 SDBs present, including Br. Jean Paul Muller. The international, multi-generational, multi-cultural Salesian community that have come together for these 4 days was invited to strive to become “One heart and one soul” in building the Salesian family spirit regardless of language, country of origin.
In order to harvest many fruits in the provinces, the participants were given five booklets: the EAO Salesian Brother Directory (with all 215 EAO Brothers), a Prayer booklet and fruits of the last one year journey – Evaluation and reflection summary, 60+ Salesian Brother interview booklet, as well as the video clips in digital format.
Why are we here? - Main motivation for this 7th EAO Congress
- Unless we have all Salesian communities complete with at least one Salesian Brother, we need to raise the clear awareness about the Salesian vocation in two forms.
- Almost 25% of EAO Salesian Brothers belong to the Vietnam-Mongolia province.
- Continue the very fruitful tradition of holding a EAO Brother Congress every six years, since 1986 to the present.
- Discover art. 45 of Salesian Constitutions (complementarity of Salesian Brother and Priest).
- Salesian Brother presented as the best medicine to the dangerous virus of clericalism.
What did we learn during the last year-long preparation journey?
- Indeed it’s a true Salesian discernment process with all 3 steps: Listen – Interpret – Decide the Way forward, that involved hundreds of Salesians in all 23 countries of our Region.
- About 80 EAO Brothers were involved in their (vocation) storytelling through interviews
- Deepen our Reflection about Religious Brother in the Church “And you all are Brothers (Mt 23,8)” or/and on the Talk of Fr. Andrea Bozzolo (Two forms of one Salesian vocation).
- Deeply felt need to raise the visibility of Salesian Brother.
- Great need of Salesian Brother presence in SDB structures of animation and government (Reg 169).
- Discover the great impact of holy Salesian Brothers – esp. Simon Srugi, Artemide Zatti…
How can we contribute to the fruitful Congress?
- Listening to each other in any possible way – Open heart.
- Active participation in the group sharing – Sharing.
- Creativity and initiative – Suggestions and Questions.
How can we harvest fruits in our EAO provinces after the Congress?
- Share the EAO Congress experience – spirit and materials in and throughout our provinces.
- Personal- and Province-level resolution – discern and make them our journey until 2024.
- What kind of Salesians for the young people of EAO? – proceed with GC28.
- Framework of our reflection about the 5 important elements that strengthen Salesian vocation.
- WHO WE ARE? – Our awareness about Salesian consecrated identity (Do we believe?).
- ONLY TOGETHER WE ARE – Without the other, we can’t be ourselves (complementarity).
- EFFECTIVE ONGOING FORMATION within the limits of our context and community.
- SALESIAN BROTHER VOCCATION PROMOTION – foster the Salesian Brother visibility.
- VOCATION DISCERNMENT – initiation to the Salesian consecrated life (aspirant-prenovice-novices).
The 4-day EAO Salesian Brother Congress is covered by the VIE province Social Communication group (SC Delegate – Fr. Peter Chinh) with the assistance of highly professional Catholic media lay mission partners, including live streaming.