BANDEL, (C.M. Paul) – The Salesian province ofVietnamcould be numerically the fastest growing province in the Salesian Congregation. Over and above, the province also tops the list of provinces sending the highest number of Salesians to missions ad gentes.
Last Saturday (23 June), at the tri-monthly recollection held at Bandel I met cleric Joseph Cosma fromVietnam. Currently he is studying Bengali language for three months in Krishnagar after which he hopes to start work in Don Bosco mission at Utrail, Netrakona district in Mymensigh diocese,Bangladesh.
“He is a jolly good fellow; he is picking up the language (Bengali) quite fast and well,” says Rector of Don Bosco Youth Centre Fr K.T. Thomas assuring that Br Cosma will do well as missionary in Bangladesh.
Asked about the secret of the current spurt in the number of vocations in a country that has recently begun to experience civil freedoms, Br Cosma says, “it is very simple. First reason, we were a province that has been long time served by overseas missionaries. Second, we feel our duty to pay back the missions generously.”
“Over the years we noticed that, the more missionaries we send abroad each year, the greater the number of new confreres we have,” said Br Cosma who spend few months studying English language in thePhilippines.
He explains further saying, “in my batch of 2010, we were 22 students of Philosophy. Ten of us opted for the missions. Last year (2011) there were 32 students of philosophy and 22 applied for the missions and 17 were selected and commissioned to be missionaries.”
Explaining the way how candidates get to choose their particular missionary destinations Br Cosma says, “each year the philosophate gets a list of countries where the missionaries are urgently needed. We have no option to choose the country we like to go. It was the Rector at the studentate that decided where each one went.”
Br.Cosma who is in the second year of his practical training, will shortly complete his three month stay to learn Bengali and is eagerly looking forward to join former mission superior Fr Francis Alencherry and confreres in Bangladesh.