Dear confreres and members of Salesian Family and friends,
1-Even though there is some hope for the coming vaccine to treat the Covid virus, yet, in all countries, the Pandemic is still spreading with long-term detrimental consequences for the poor and our young people, including our institutes to serve to them. Let us continue to live up to our responsibilities as good citizens and Christians, working together to restrict the expansion of this plague and collaborate to reduces the bodily and moral as well as spiritual costs in this special moment of global history. Let us consolidate our sense of responsibility for the common good, the community responsibility for the wellbeing of our communities at different levels.
2- The Rector Major and his Council have completed their Summer Meeting Sessions [from the whole month of June to the 10th of July]. One of their tasks, entrusted by the members of the General Chapter 28, is to complete its 3rd Theme. I was not a delegate of the GC28, yet, as many of you, I followed up closely this important event, studying the documents related to it, as well as the synthesis of all contributions of provincial chapters to the GC28. In particular, I was illumined very much with those General Councillors who had participated in the Assembly themselves, and somehow, I was instructed by the present situation of the Salesian congregation on this essential theme. In fact, since 1996, the time of General Chapter 24, the direction of the whole Congregation has become more and more decisive: the spirit and mission of Don Bosco are not in the monopoly of the Salesians of Don Bosco themselves. The lay people are called to share in this spirit and mission for the better service to poor youth. This direction is now “decisive”, that means, not optative, yet, must be strongly affirmed in thinking, expressed in doing and even in structure or organization. In the words of our Rector Major, no longer can the Salesian return to the old way of thinking and doing things as if they were the boss! The collaboration must be bilateral, both way. No only the laity is called to collaborate with the Salesians, but the Salesians are called to collaborate with the laity themselves. What always remains to the Salesians is that they become the reference point of the charism for the whole Salesian Family.
I believe strongly that once the results of the General chapter 28 are promulgated, for the sake of the creative fidelity, or, in other words, to be faithful to our Salesian charismatic identity in this historical moment, all Salesians will study themselves the mentality of the whole congregation, to discern the lines of actions, and implement those necessary changes for the benefit of our services. And together with other groups of Salesian Family, we go ahead in this direction.
3- In addition, in their respective area, each General Councillor is making great effort to find some way to animate his Sector or the Region entrusted to him. In this moment of very limited mobility, many of us appeal to the use of modern technology of communication. We use online communication to learn the issues of our Sector and Region and together with those responsible, we hope to come up with our six year plan, implementing the teaching of the GC28. I have learned from my experiences is that the contribution from the grass root, the local communities and each individual is very essential to the whole community at different levels.
On my part, I am still being in the Provincial House of Vietnam, starting my task of animation in these days, with attendance to provincial events like Provincial Day, Priestly Ordination, First or Perpetual Religious Professions, with visits to local communities in Vietnam, the Delegation of the North. I did participate and still participate in online meetings with various groups of our EAO regions as well as giving online conferences to others. I hope that once the Covid is over, as soon as possible, I pledge to come to all provinces and vice provinces which so far, I know only in documents or through some confreres I know in meetings or in classes in Paranaque. Please help me in such a way that as the link between the Rector Major, his Council and the provinces/vice provinces, I could convey to them your situation, issues, problems, challenges, contributions and solutions in the most accurate and proper way.