A Letter from Vocations Coordinator

Dear Salesian Family, Salesian Young People, and Friends:

It brought me joy and happiness after spending a few days visiting our Salesian SDB community in Laredo, TX, and joining the Salesian Sisters in celebrating Saint John Bosco’s Feast Day with the young people of San Antonio, Texas. The Salesian Mission in Texas is so alive and active!

I am also helping a Busy Students’ Retreat at Texas A&M University. It is a one-week-long event that serves hundreds of students who come for spiritual direction and discernment. It is impressive to see the work of Saint Mary’s Catholic Center in the midst of one the largest secular universities in Texas. The Center provides a very welcoming environment with a variety of services to both catholic college students and others. It is common to hear the students and staff saying that it is a blessing to have Saint Mary’s Catholic Center here, for it is serving so many young people. In particular, they appreciate seeing many religious people, brothers, sisters, and priests coming to help with the Busy Students’ Retreat. Seeing so many different religious orders was also a big surprise to many.

The experience of this week at Texas A&M makes me think one more time about the importance and necessity of the young adult ministry. There is a great need for spiritual  accompaniment and sacraments, and there are so many young adults out there who want to help and to be helped, who want to be accompanied on the path to holiness. Let us remember that, “To be saints is not a privilege for the few, but a vocation for everyone” (Pope Francis). Let us continue to accompany one another to walk faithfully with our vocation to holiness.

As the Province is moving forward, the vocation team, including myself, is working cooperatively with the province leadership team to assist the Province in responding to the demands from the Provincial Chapter, which is strengthening our Salesian Mission, in particular reimagining new energy to support the vocation dimension. Hopefully, it will help us work together to achieve the goal of animating the vocations from the perspective of strengthening the Salesian Mission in the Province. God is the one who is calling, and we are responsible for cultivating an appropriate environment which nurtures vocations. Thus, it requires the work of many hands, including mine and yours.

Finally, the Province is still struggling to increase new SDB vocations. However, we should not let it stop us from trying. Instead, it should become our reason to try harder and be more creative in animating vocations in our ministries. I am humbly inviting the whole Salesian Family to continue to pray for the continuity of the SDB vocation in the Province.

And, let us again take a look at what GC24 No. 54 has reminded us: “Fostering consecrated vocations demands certain fundamental choices: constant prayer, explicit proclamation, a courageous invitation, careful discernment, personalized accompaniment. We should be committed to daily prayer in our communities and should involve young people, families, lay people, Salesian Family Groups. Proclamation entails making good use of the many opportunities which present themselves over the liturgical year. Invitations and discernment require a warm closeness which gives rise to confidence and allows us to recognize the signs of a vocation that a young person can show. Accompaniment requires us to help the young intensify their spiritual life, take part in suitable forms of apostolate, have an experience of community, get to know the Congregation, assess their motives, and take the necessary steps which lead to a decision.”

Fr. Vien Nguyen, SDB
Coordinator for Vocations