26 November 2017, Balamban, Cebu – The Don Bosco Technological Center in Prenza, Balamban, welcomed fifteen (16) SALVO members from Don Bosco-Pasil, Don Bosco-Lawaan, Don Bosco-Lourdes and Don Bosco-Liloan on November 26, 2017 to conduct the latter’s 2nd SEEtheWORLD Expeditions, a regular formation for the volunteers.
The prime topic imparted to the volunteers focused on defining and understanding the concept and context of “Periphery” in Pope Francis’ discourse since his election on March 13, 2013. Ms. Diana Cecilia “Yana” Estrada, the resource speaker, explained and conveyed the message simply but clearly and cited good examples for the volunteers to have a profound grasp and appreciation in going out of ones self and going forth toward our brothers and sisters in the peripheries, not only the geographical but most importantly the existential periphery, those: in the bondage of sin, suffering, victims of injustice, in ignorance and lack of religion; those going through every kind of misery. “We need not to go to remote areas to reach out. There are people around us who…. need our help. And sometimes, it us who are actually suffering from our own existential peripheries”, Ms. Yana emphasized. She also inspired everyone by saying, “It is not about how big or small our contribution to the community, it is about how we put meaning even to the most ordinary and littlest thing we do.” As a culmination of the talk, Ms. Yana gave everyone the opportunity to share their personal existential peripheries that have bothered them.
Later, Fr. Felino “Bai” Albesa, SDB shared his missionary experiences. The volunteers learned from him that when you go for a missionary work, you do it not because you have the capacity to do it but for a greater cause. Fr. Bai said “Being a missionary is a hard work. But because I did it for God, I could sleep well at night and was able to carry on the difficult tasks lightly. My active prayer life also helped me make things possible during that time.” Secondly, Fr. Bai shared that it is important to understand the people in your mission area. The key is to have a connection with them, in particular, to show kindness because these people will also be the one who will care and protect you from danger and harm.
After a simple group lunch, the volunteers were able to go around and immerse themselves in the Salesian works in Balamban. The formation program ended with a Holy Mass presided by Fr. Arvin Abatayo, SDB who gave thanks for a
fruitful day filled with learning and the chance to rekindle within the volunteers the Salesian missionary spirit.
(Contributor: Text and photos by FIS Commission on Missions)