Don Bosco schools connected for anniversary opening

Friday January 29, 2021 |
Don Bosco schools connected for anniversary opening

Kep — The annual celebrations of Saint John Bosco in Cambodia, marked this year the start of a special event for the history of the Salesians in the South East Asian kingdom: their 30th anniversary. As January 31 this year fall on Sunday, schools included the traditional Colour Games of Don Bosco for this Friday January 29. Inside the program, performed in the five schools of the SDB (Poipet, Kep, Battambang, Sihanoukville and Phnom Penh), the Salesians included the official opening of the 30th Anniversary Countdown to 24th of May 2021.

However, due to covid19, it came the idea to connect all the schools through the Google Meet platform. It became a meaningful moment, when the five academic communities made of children, youth, teachers and Salesians, joined around computers, screens, sound systems and full WiFi to see each others and pray together for the three purposes of the 30th anniversary of Salesian presence in Cambodia: unity of the mission, thanksgiving and vocational promotion.

The program, coordinated by the Social Communication centre in Kep, started at 8:30, though the connection was established minutes before to ultimate technical details. The Khmer song ‘Oh Don Bosco’ (ដុនបូស្កូអើយ) was played in Kep, while the academic community of Phnom Penh offered flowers to the Don Bosco statue in their campus. Then, every school led a short prayer before Br. Roberto from Sihanoukville gave the explanation of the logo, motto and Don Bosco pilgrimage image:

The logo

The logo is done on a pin gear wheel structure meaning our work started with technical education.

The colours are the ones of Cambodian flag meaning education in all school levels.

In the middle is the number 30 in Khmer that is also similar to Angkor Wat towers, the heart with Don Bosco means educating to the heart with love as Don Bosco did.

The motto

Here am I. Send me!

It is an invitation we may hear when we part take in Don Bosco mission.

The Don Bosco Cambodia Pilgrimage Image

We go back to the early starting of the new third millennium on 21 January 2003 getting ready for the feast of Don Bosco in our Don Bosco school in Poipet. We see group of children not all of them are smiling but curious to see the new statue of Don Bosco with children very similar to them. In the picture we see Mr. Hector and Ellen, who are great benefactors of don Bosco in Cambodia. Bruno and Catalina, volunteers who started the Don Bosco presence in Poipet together with Cambodian teachers and leaders. The statue was cast in Thailand by a Don Bosco past pupil, Mr. Sarawut. There are also some visitors interested in the project of Don Bosco in Cambodia.

Don Bosco is living among us!

Children are the inspiration God is whispering to all members of Salesian family. The inspiration becomes a call to the children themselves as well as to anyone coming to know and willing to share any talent in the wonderful mission of educating young people by living in a family spirit following Don Bosco footprints.

Children, leaders, teachers, trainers, volunteers, visitors, Benefactors, past-pupils and Salesians (as we can see in the picture) as well as all other members of the Salesian Family are cheerfully answering the call every day under the loving eyes of Don Bosco. “Send me!”.

Prayer of Blessing

Fr. Roel Soto led the prayer for the blessing of the Don Bosco Cambodia Pilgrimage Image that will go from school to school during 2021:

God our Father, you sent St John Bosco 30 years ago to be a father, teacher and friend of poor children and youth in Cambodia. Starting from two Salesians the work has spread and the family of Don Bosco has grown bigger year after year. Thank you for this grace.

We ask you to bless(+)this portrait of Don Bosco which will go to each Don Bosco School. Let it remind us, members of the Don Bosco Educative Pastoral Communities and members of the Salesian Family, of our humble beginnings.

Let it keep our hearts burning with love for Don Bosco as we educate and form the poor and marginalized children and youth. Let it challenge us to continue the mission of Don Bosco with love and dedication, even to offer our lives for this mission. This is what you call us to do. Here we are. Send us.
This we ask you through Christ, Our Lord. Amen.

At the same moment, Fr. Mark Yang blessed with water the image of Don Bosco in Poipet.

The online ceremony that included the participation of more than 1,000 children, youth, teachers and Salesians, concluded with the words of Fr. Roel:

“Let us celebrate the 30 years of Don Bosco’s Presence in Cambodia with gratitude, with love and with hope.
I declare our 30th year anniversary celebration open.”