Provincial Letter: May 29th, 2019

Dear Salesian Sisters and Brothers,

I just drove into San Francisco from Watsonville, where I attended a farewell and thank you party for Michele Bowling, which took place last night at a private home.   Michele has worked with St. Francis High School since its beginnings when the Diocese of Monterey and the Salesians entered into a joint agreement to build a new high school on the grounds where the old St. Francis Seminary once stood.  Michele has helped in many capacities and has been an integral part of the school’s history and success.  Her children have also attended the Salesian Sisters school in Corralitos and St. Francis High School.  While Michele is retiring from an official capacity, she has promised to continue to stay connected and help when she is able.   We wish to thank Michele for her many years of generous service to St. Francis.  Her dedication, hard work and focus on keeping St. Francis Salesian with its Salesian traditions will greatly be missed.   May God and His Mother, Mary Help of Christians, continue to bless her and her family and give her the much needed rest and time to be with family and enjoy many years of good health, love and countless blessings.

Last Friday, May 24th, I drove down to Los Angeles.  I presided at the Mass in honor of Mary Help of Christians at St. Dominic Savio, Bellflower.  Six candidates who had finished two years of formation were officially inducted as official members of the Salesian Family as Cooperators.   At 6pm, there was a procession organized by ADMA, an organization founded by St. John Bosco to promote the devotion to Mary Help of Christians.  A good number of the Salesian Family were in attendance, filling up the Church.  The celebrations were well done and a reception followed in the Church hall.

On Saturday morning, I attended St. John Bosco’s Graduation ceremony which was held in the open quad area by the statue of Mary Help of Christians.  It was quite full with many happy graduates and their families.  Also very well done.

On Sunday, I presided at a Mass in honor of Mary Help of Christians at St. Bridget’s in China town.  During that ceremony, 18 candidates were officially inducted into the Salesian Family as Cooperators.   Like ADMA, the Salesian Cooperators is a movement founded by Don Bosco to help spread the Mission and Spirit of the Salesians.   The Mass was well attended including other Salesian Cooperators from the Los Angeles area.   A simple luncheon was hosted by the Fr. John Lam and the parishioners of St. Bridget’s.   It was beautifully done with a great Salesian spirit of welcome and family.

I wish to congratulate our newly inducted Cooperators.  The increase in Salesian Family members should fill us with great joy and enthusiasm to continue Don Bosco’s legacy and mission to the young, done in his style.   I also wish to thank everyone who has helped in organizing the different events, forming the candidates, preparing liturgies and hosting receptions for the different festivities I attended.   A big thank you to all!

 Salesian High, Richmond and Don Bosco Tech, Rosemead will be hosting their graduation ceremonies this coming Saturday.   Our other three school finished their academic year last week.   I wish to congratulate all of our graduating students.   I am often reminded that Don Bosco would tell his Salesians that it was Mary Help of Christians who sent us each of the young people in our works.   May she guide and protect our graduates.   I also wish to thank all of the administrators, teachers and staff from our five High Schools, for their dedication and hard work.   When I visit our schools in the province throughout the year, I am very much encouraged to see the beautiful work being done with the young and the commitment of our lay collaborators to keep our Salesian Spirit and traditions alive.  THANK YOU!

The Provincial Council will meet for one day on Monday, June 3rd.  Although we had decided not to have a regular provincial council meeting in June, due to the upcoming week long Provincial Chapter, we thought it wise to have at least one day to update each other on the upcoming events and assignments.

We are nearing the beginning of our Provincial Chapter in preparation for the General Chapter next year in Turin, Italy.   A letter of convocation was sent out to all our communities.   The Provincial Chapter will be held from June 16-21 at Three Rivers.   Besides the elected delegates from each community and the four At-Large delegates of the province, we have invited several other Salesians to help with some of the administrative details and we have also invited members of the Salesian Family and lay collaborators to be part of the process of helping us reflect on the theme of our upcoming Chapter:   What Kind of Salesians for the Youth of Today?   Much work has already been done by our local communities and I am grateful to them for that.   Please keep our provincial chapter and the work to be done in your prayers.  These Chapters are very important for the ongoing formation of our province.   The Chapter members represent our local communities and the entire Province membership.   We entrust our Chapter work to Mary Help of Christians and ask for her guidance and presence.   May the Holy Spirit inspire us to dream and renew ourselves.

There are two other events in June that we should keep in our prayers:   SYLC and the Schools Meeting.   These two events are important for our renewal and growth.  SYLC:  Salesian Youth Leadership Conference is being held at Camp St. Francis, Aptos, from June 9-16.   It involves leader quality young people from all of our sites and a core team of those who have already done a SYLC and are now part of the preparatory and core team which will lead the week.   Many thanks to Fr. Mel Trinidad and Br. Al Vu who, together with Gina Robles (new Salesian Cooperator) and their teams have prepared for this week- long event which we have had on an annual basis.  Thanks for all the work and for the dedication to the young.

The Salesian School Meetings led by Br. AL Vu will be held in Watsonville from June 11-13.   This ongoing formation meetings are a continuation of the previous meetings organized by Br. Al Vu with the Administrators of our schools.   We thank them for their dedication and commitment to this endeavor and ask for God’s blessings on their work.

As we end our academic and pastoral year, let us take a few moments to sit quietly wherever we may be and give thanks to God and his Mother, Mary, for the many blessings we have received during this year.  I am sure there were also many challenges.   But, these too can be viewed as blessings and moments of grace.   We may be tired from all the work, stress and commitments of the year.   But, let us not miss the blessings!   Our young people are better and more mature because of the dedicated formation given them by our wonderful staff day in and day out.   It doesn’t happen all at once.   It is the daily sacrifices and patient endurance that brings about these wonderful transformation we see on Graduation Day.  May the work of your hands bear much fruit and may you enjoy a much needed rest and relaxing time with family and friends.

With warm regards and gratitude,