Philippines. On 2 April 2022, the 3rd Online Festival of Vocations of the Salesian Family took place with the slogan: “Homebound, where love remains in the embrace of God”. “Homebound” means “returning home”; the event is a proposal to find in the Salesian Family a home where you can always return and stay with Don Bosco, to share his dream and mission for young people, remaining forever in the embrace of the Father.

The meeting took place online via Zoom and Facebook, due to restrictions caused by the pandemic. More than 1,200 were registered from various points in the archipelago and outside the Philippines.

Since 2019, the event is annual and is a collaborative project between the Vocation Animation Team of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians of the Province of St. Maria Domenica Mazzarello (FIL) and the Salesians of Don Bosco of the Province of St. John Bosco (FIN), with the active participation of a Commission of the Salesian Family.

The aims are to help young people to discover and discern their vocation and to make them aware of the ten Groups of the Salesian Family present in the Philippines, with the hope that they will consider them in their vocational choice and appreciate the great Family of Don Bosco and the mission of education and evangelization of the young. This year, the FIN Province hosted the Festival, coordinated by Fr. Jayson David, SDB, Vocation Animator.

Fr. Alfred Maraviglia, SDB, General Councilor for the Missions on an extraordinary canonical visit to the FIN Province, welcomed the participants. He said that everyone has a vocation to discover and that Don Bosco indicated the way to live the call of the Lord in a specific lifestyle, that of Salesian Spirituality, lived today by the Groups of the SF according to their own specific Charism. These ways, although different, all lead to holiness. He then encouraged the young people to take advantage of this opportunity to get to know the SF Groups and to have the courage to discover the call of the Lord. He concluded with an invitation, “Join the Salesian Family, stay with us, grow with us as we walk together the path of holiness shown to us by St John Bosco.”

The identity and the Charism of each of the SF Groups in the Philippines were presented through the videos prepared by the FIN Vocational Pastoral Team and by various Groups of the SF:  Salesians of Don Bosco (SDB), Volunteers of Don Bosco (VDB) , Association of Salesian Cooperators (ASSCC), Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (FMA), Association of Mary Help of Christians (ADMA), Volunteers with Don Bosco (CDB), Sisters of Charity of Jesus (SCG), Damas Salesianas Association (ADS), and Past Pupils of the FMA and the SDBs. Between one presentation and another, there were quiz games.

This was followed by a session in the virtual rooms in which the participants had a guided Lectio Divina and sharing on the Gospel passage of the Multiplication of the loaves by Jesus (Mark 6: 30-44), prepared by “D’Word”, an online catechesis service for young people by Don Bosco Seminary of Parañaque City, coordinated by Sr. Janis Mia Aguirre, FMA, Head of Vocation Animation of the FIL Province.

130 facilitators of the different groups of the SF, including 27 FMA and 3 Postulants, prepared themselves to animate the 127 sharing groups, accompanying the participants to understand that it was prayer and the abandonment of Jesus that nourished His vocation of ‘care’. In fact, Jesus did not only work miracles, but He took care, participating in the pain of the people, showing solidarity with those suffering, sharing their experience of crisis.

The animators encouraged the participants to grow in prayer and abandonment, to overcome indifference, to be generous in sharing their gifts – the 5 loaves and 2 fish – to become caring people, capable of entering into the pain of others, to be present, to provide for their nourishment, learning to draw out their best.

At the end of the evening, the Festival ended with prayer and sharing in the assembly. The next day, the participants were distributed among the various Groups of the Salesian Family according to the interest expressed through an online survey, where they continued the accompaniment in vocational discernment.


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