Shillong 21st May: The 31 Practical Trainees of our Province gathered together at the Provincial House, Shillong for two days of animation. The animation began on 18th May at 5: 00 pm with a reflection on the topic Preventive System as Spirituality taken by Fr. Vice Provincial, which also served as a recollection talk for the brothers. The session was reflective and enriching with the many references of articles taken from our Constitutions. During the session, we reflected together on the spiritual aspect of the Preventive System that the means to grow in our spirituality is our apostolate. It was also stressed that our Salesian presence is the tenor of the Preventive System. Hence, this session helped us to go back to the roots of the Preventive System and to have a clear picture of the sacrament of our Salesian presence.
On the 19th Fr. Paul Olphindro Lyngkot the Provincial celebrated the Holy Eucharist for us. He continued with the session in the morning hour. Fr. Provincial provided the brothers some points on how to be effective regents or Practical Trainees. The Salesian Constitutions have a part that highlights Salesian Assistance. Emphasis is placed on practical training as well as a pastoral aspect of our ministry throughout the entire initial formation period. The opportunity to gain a deeper practical grasp of Salesian pedagogical and pastoral activity is provided by the practical training phase. During this time, the young clerics practiced the preventive method, especially with Salesian Assistance. He primarily underlined the value of the Preventive System and urged the PT brothers to constantly be available to take initiative, to cultivate a loving attitude, to be reasonable, to be creative, and not to engage in any harmful behavior. To make these points more convincing Fr. Provincial shared with the brothers his own experiences as Practical Trainee during his days.
The second session was taken by Fr. Michael Makri SDB. He stressed on the importance of identifiability and accountability in the digital world. He challenges us with a question, “Are we master of the technology or slaves of it?” He says we need to be mature Salesians. “Let your problem stay with you and not putting it on Social Media.” When Don Bosco says that we should be with the signs of the time, this needs to be understood clearly, which means we need to be mature and clever according to the signs of the time. He continues saying media is a gift of God for us. Hence, we need to use it for his greater glory. The mind of the Congregation for every confrere is that we should become content creator and not content sharer.
The brothers were also animated on the topic about mission by Fr. Henri Warbah SDB. In his talked, he shared about his 20 years of mission experience in Africa. Basing his reflection on the Gospels passages he enlightened the brothers on the mission and what does it mean to be a missionary. He later encouraged and exhorted the brothers to be generous in responding to God’s call by leaving the comfortable life behind and opting for the ones that requires much of our effort.
At 2:30 pm the brothers gathered in the Bicentenary Hall for the sharing session. Due to the big number of brothers present in the meeting, they were divided into four groups where each group consisted of 7 to 8 members. After having instructed the brothers on the topics Fr. Vice Provincial sent them in groups to different rooms for sharing of their experiences in their communities where they work. The sharing lasted for an hour also and after which they all came back to the hall where one person from each group presented the experiences of the brothers that had been written down during the sharing. The session ended at 4: 00 pm sharp.
Fr. Anthony Kharkongor SDB, the Provincial Youth Delegate and Coordinator for Social Experience gave a session on the Salesian Youth Pastoral Ministry. He emphasized the necessity of being more receptive to difficulties when working with young people. By evangelizing and educating young people, the Salesian Youth Ministry prepares them for life in their cultural and social circumstances. Youth Ministry places a heavy focus on the Church as the body of Christ and brings people into an active spiritual community where their abilities and journeys are supported. One needs to create and have the passion to love the young people.
Mr. Royaldeen Shadap and Ms. Venessa, the executive members of Salesian Youth Movement (SYM) enlightened the brothers about the significance of the SYM, which corresponds with Don Bosco’s dream at the age of nine. Every Salesian parish and institution should support this official youth movement, and every Salesian must feel that they own it and thus promote it.
On the 20th which is the final day of the PTs meet, Mr. Peter Paul Hauhnar revised with us the basis of the Preventive System with special edition adding from his life experience of the preventive system. The second part of the session was on the topic of Self-Confidence. He shared with the brothers the tips and formulas to boost one’s self-confidence. The session was an eye-opening and truly thought provoking for the brothers.
We concluded this Meet with the final session by Fr. Vice Provincial in which he asked us to be more proactive in including ourselves in the planning process of the programme of the community. In the afternoon at 2.30 PM some of us played a friendly basketball match with INS B.Th Students at Sacred Heart Theological College, and after tea we departed for our communities with renewed spirit and enthusiasm.