Manila (Philippines). From 20 to 22 November 2020 the second Vocation Festival of the Salesian Family took place online. The event, which saw the presence of about 500 participants connected from various parts of the Philippines, was coordinated by Sr. Ravena Dominguez, Daughter of Mary Help of Christians of the Province of St. Mary Domenica Mazzarello (FIL), and by Fr. Jayson David, Salesian of Don Bosco, referents for Vocation Animation, with the collaboration of the members of the Salesian Family.
The first edition, hosted by the FMA, took place in November 2019 at Don Bosco School of the FMA in Manila, with more than 300 young participants from the FMA and SDB Houses. The Vocation Festival of the Salesian Family is an experience of synodality in which the various groups of the SF are well represented and actively involved in the planning and during the days of the event.
The objectives of this meeting are: to help young people discover and discern their vocation; present the ten groups of the Salesian Family present in the Philippines; deepen knowledge of the Salesian Family and its educational and evangelizing mission.
The online mode, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, is an opportunity to reach young people in this time of lockdown to live together the spirit of the Salesian family and to share with other young people. Following the slogan of the event: “#FOREVER, I will remain with Don Bosco” – recalling the decisive choice of Fr. Cagliero – the figures of the Salesian Family were presented as those who have found happiness in serving the Lord by living the Salesian Charism.
The SDB Vocational Animation Team of the North Philippines Province (FIN) coordinated the Festival in collaboration with 22 FMA and other members of the Salesian Family. Each day, three or four groups of the Salesian Family were presented to the assembly through videos and online interviews. This was followed by online sharing in 59 small groups in ‘virtual rooms’.
Fr Bobby Roxas, SDB, Delegate for the Salesian Family of the SDB-FIN Province gave the opening talk on the first day, presenting the Salesian Family. Then began the presentation of the Groups: Salesians of Don Bosco (SDB), Volunteers of Don Bosco (VDB) and Association of Salesian Cooperators (ASSCC).
On the second day, Sr. Debbie Ponsaran, FMA, Provincial Coordinator of Youth Ministry, spoke about the theme of Strenna 2021, encouraging young people to bring hope with concrete acts of solidarity. In the presentation of the Groups, it was then the turn of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (FMA), of the Association of Mary Help of Christians (ADMA), and of the Volunteers with Don Bosco (CDB).
On the last day, the Sisters of Charity of Jesus (SCG), the Association Salesian Damas (ADS) and the FMA and SDB Past Pupils presented themselves. Fr. Gerardo Martin, Provincial of the Salesians of the FIN Province, presided over the Holy Mass on the Solemnity of Christ the King, encouraging young people to follow the King- Shepherd who calls us to docility and loving service. He also stressed that the essence of the vocation in the Salesian Family is being transformed into pastors and in turn being pastors for the young.
At the end, the participants were given time to express which Groups of the Salesian Family they are most attracted to. The 86 animators of the sharing groups – FMA, SDB, and members of the Salesian Family – will continue to virtually accompany the young people entrusted to them to ensure continuity in vocational discernment.