Hua Hin: 27 September 2010 — Over 100 Salesians, Salesian Sisters, Salesian Cooperators, friends of the Salesians, Religious men and women, Priests and lay Catholics have gathered at Hua Hin (Thailand) for a three day seminar on the Gospel of Mark, delivered by Fr Frank Moloney, the Provincial of Australia, and a well known biblical scholar (in his former life!). As well as the presence of Thais, there are Salesians and Salesian Sisters from the Philippines, Japan, Cambodia, Vietnam and Myanmar. Fr John Bosco Dheparat Pitissant, in the final months of his term of office as Provincial of the Thai Province, has worked hard to gather this significant group for an important moment of biblical formation for the EAO Region, and its many friends. The program has been organised and is facilitated by Fr Monthon, a newly ordained Salesian Priest who studied Theology in the Australian Province. The network is tightening!
It is hard work. There are no less than four one and a half hour session of lectures, questions, and further discussions each day – in typical Thai hot and steamy conditions. Fr Moloney has outlined the overall structure and theology of the Gospel of Mark that he has called “a singular and formative inspired voice from the early Church’s story-telling tradition.” Most of the first day has been spent in these overall reflections on the Gospel, its context and its structure and theology. However, in the final session today, Fr Moloney began a close reading of the Marcan text. The group has read carefully what he calls the “prologue” to the Gospel of Mark (1:1-13), and the first section of the story itself, which he calls “Jesus and the Leaders of Israel” (1:14-3:6). The attendees follow with great care. An instantaneous translation into Thai is provided by Sister Petra, PBVM, a Thai member of the Perth Province of the Presentation Sisters whom Fr Moloney first met in Australia more than 30 years ago. The network further tightens! Exhausted but excited by this first day, we are all looking forward to “the rest of the story.” Once this group has finished, another group will take its place. By the end of the week, almost 200 people will have been exposed to this important moment of biblical formation in the EAO Region.
In an indication of the advancement of social communication across the region and the Congregation, Fr Moloney’s presentations are streaming live on the web page of the Thai Province and will eventually be reproduced as a DVD for all who are interested. The print media is also moving into action. Fr Moloney’s recent book, A Friendly Guide to the New Testament, is also prodding practical-minded Salesians from this multicultural and multilingual region to action. The book was written to further educate and form Catechists and Religious Educationalists. The representation of the Japanese Province has asked about the possibility of reproducing this attractive book for a “first-time reader of the New Testament” (from the Preface) in Japanese.