KOLKATA, (C.M. Paul) – Among 45 new Salesian missionaries undergoing preparations for the 143rd batch of missionaries to be commissioned on 30th September 2012 are nine missionaries from India. The Indian delegation includes 5 priests, 2 brothers and 2 scholastics from seven of the 12 provinces of South Asia region. There are no missionaries from the following five provinces: Calcutta, Mumbai, New Delhi, Panjim and Colombo.
Leading missionary contributor this year is the Vietnam province which has 18 missionaries (1 priest, 2 Brothers and 15 scholastics). This is in spite of the decreasing membership trend shown in the statistics (In 2011 they were 300 while in 2010, they were 309). The runner up position goes to Slovak province with 3 missionaries.
“The majority of the Salesians discover their missionary vocation ad gentes by meeting another Salesian missionary,” notes Mission Councilor Fr Vaclav Kelment.
The Orientation Course for New Missionaries – from September 5 to 30, 2012 helps prepare new missionaries “with adequate tools to enter into a new culture, become part of a new people and develop the personal attitudes of openness, respect and trust so that their missionary presence may be effective, humble and discreet,” says course coordinator Filipino Fr. Alfred Maravilla, SDB.
The course held in Rome-Pisana and at the Salesian holy places around Turin consists of anthropological-cultural, missiological and Salesian elements.
At the missionary commissioning ceremony in the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians – at Valdocco on September 30th the Rector Major will hand over the traditional “missionary crucifix” to each candidate.
From the time of Don Bosco since the first missionary dispatch in 1875 about 11,000 Salesians were sent from the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians in Valdocco, Turin.