On Saturday, April 26, the 7th floor of the provincial house in Seoul saw a big celebration of the Salesian Family spirituality day 2014 with the title of 'Let us draw upon Don Bosco’s experience', the theme of Strenna 2014.
The atmosphere was started in understated, given the ferry disaster 10 days ago, which killed more than 300 people, almost of them young students who were on an educational trip. All of Korea is feeling this loss very deeply.
But this year, there were many special guests at the Salesian Family Day. Fr Vaclav Klement who was elected as General Councillor for the EAO Region flew in from the Cooperator's meeting in Manila. The Superior General of the Caritas Sisters of Jesus, Sr Apollinaris Shimura Yuriko with her Vicar and two more General Council members, on canonical visitation to the three provinces in Korea, also attended the celebration. About 600 people attended from the Salesian Family groups, such as the SDB, FMA, SCG, SSCC, VDB and SYM members too. The crowd included co-workers and a good number of benefactors of the various works.
The day started with a prayer accompanied by a beautiful presentation of Don Bosco's life prepared by the Seoul province of the CSJ. The outgoing provincial, Fr Stephen Nam, greeted all present: "As the last event of my job as provincial, today I invite all of you to explore and share Don Bosco's spirituality. We are preparing for the 200th anniversary of his birth. We have looked at his story and his pedagogy over the last two years, and now we focus on his spirituality. Even though ferry disaster clearly tells us that we live in a society where we are not able to effectively protect young people who are in danger, we have to imitate Don Bosco's life as a good shepherd. He dedicated and sacrificed himself totally for the young."
A short story on Don Bosco's spiritual experience played by SYM members, and a conference on the same theme by Fr John Jeong, the novice master, followed.
The original program for this day had envisaged family entertainment and games after lunch, but given the national sadness at the recent disaster, all game programs were removed. Instead they watched the video of the new Rector Major's address to the Salesian Family after his election. Fr Marcelo Baek, just appointed as vice provincial, then spoke about 'Pope Francis and the Salesian Family'.
During the Mass, the core of family spirituality, there was a special event for the whole Salesian family in Korea, the installation of the new provincial, Fr Stephen Yang. He proclaimed the 'Credo' before the General Councillor, Fr Klement who encouraged new provincial with these brief words: "Your experience of participation in GC27 will help you in giving of your best in the government of the provinces. We also have great encouragement from the Pope who told us not once but three times to go out to the peripheries, sending our best people there." Also he gave a special gift from Rome to the new provincial, a wrist watch with Don Bosco's on it, as a symbol of "work and temperance, 24 hours working for the salvation of the youth", as he explained.
The new Provincial's first words were: “In the mission for the young, specially those most in need and for the benefit of the confreres and the Salesian Family, I am ready any time with the grace of the God. I will not give up, never escape! Please join with me as a Salesian Family and help me in realising Don Bosco's charism in our society, for the salvation of youth.”