The following is a Good Night talk presented by Fr. Joseph Nguyen Thinh Phuoc, Regional Councillor for East-Asia Oceania
First of all, I would like to request you to pray more for the patients of Covid-19, all over the world. Among them, there are also Salesians, Salesian sisters and members of Salesian Family - May God bless them with quick recovery so that they can return to their daily services to the poor youth.
This month, as in the recent ones, I am performing my duties through my connections with Salesians in this East-Asia Oceanic region, attending online meetings and emails.
I know, as you know, communication online seems good in this period of social distancing. Yet, our heart wants to be near to each other as we are one in a family. With hope, let us pray that the pandemic will be over soon.
October is the month dedicated for evangelization. As you know very well, the Salesian Congregation founded by Don Bosco, has been and always will be for evangelization.
This is not just a symbolic gesture taken by Don Bosco in 1875. It is fact that as soon as the Congregation was officially and completely recognized by the Universal Church through the approval of its Constitutions, Don Bosco sent his missionaries on the first expedition to Argentina.
The first missionaries to Argentina, pictured with Don Bosco. They were led by Fr. Giovanni Cagliero - where the Cagliero Project draws its name from!
This first expedition was orchestrated, we could say that, was orchestrated as gloriously and solemnly as possible to put in flame the spirit of missions among our Salesian Family, Salesian priests and brothers, Salesian sisters and Salesian Cooperators.
The expedition was indeed a declaration of Don Bosco to the whole Church and to his spiritual sons and daughters of generations to come: Our Family is for missions, for the frontiers, for the peripheries, for those who seem to be out of the existing realm of the structural Church.
The Church is for evangelization, the Salesian Family is for evangelization. Yet, as a spiritual Family within the Universal Church, in this dimension, we bring in our very distinctive charism: we evangelize through education and we educate through evangelization.
I have to confess that for a number of years as Salesian, I did not grasp at the profound meaning of this statement given by Fr. Vigano, the 6th Successor of Don Bosco. Now it has been explained rather clearly in the Salesian Youth Ministry: Frame of Reference. Let me quote a paragraph:
The Salesian understanding of evangelization is motivated by a holistic concern. It is followed by an educative concern for the growth of the person in all aspects. Education is the human activity where we present the Gospel and where it acquired its typical shape.
This anthropological approach leads us to understand better how the different areas of Salesian education are happily marked as wholesome humanism and transcendent dimension. (Frame of Reference, p. 67)
Youth gatherings such as OzBosco are the perfect example of fully fledged Salesian Education!
Our evangelization itinerary begins with ordinary and actual existence of people, in particular the young whom we meet in our family settings, our neighborhood, through our contacts and relationships with one another as friends, teacher-students, mentor and mentees ... in our playground, classroom, laboratory, musical gathering and then, in our schools, vocation training centers.
Our zone of contact with the young is the fertile ground for evangelization, provided that we learn how to engage in it.
May God bless our spiritual, moral and even physical efforts as we are continuing the legacy left by Don Bosco to us as evangelizers of the young