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Philippines – “DREAM BIG”: SALVO outreach experience in Mindanao
(ANS – Davao) – 35 members of the SALVO (Salesian Lay Volunteers) movement of Philippines Southern (FIS) Province took a further step in fostering an outreaching missionary spirit with their 4 immersion days in Davao City – Buda, Mindanao island, on the last days of May.
The Buda presence (part of the Davao-Dacudao community) begun by an Italian missionary Fr Franco Uras, SDB, is located in the ancestral lands of the Lumads (the ethnic minorities of Mindanao) with a humble vocational training center and social work in the local society. At present there are 2 Salesian priests, 10 lay mission partners and 15 trainees – students.
SALVO animators share their satisfaction: “It was one way for the youth who are from other FIS Salesian settings and other young professionals to know that we have other SDB houses that need their help. During our group and individual sharing, there were those who thought about going for long-term volunteering and also asking when the scheduled immersion experience in Don Bosco Formation Center (Cebu) will take place. In this way they can discern the possibility of knowing if they are being called to Salesian consecrated life. We could sense that it gives new life to the two Salesians in Buda, because there were volunteers wanting to help and assist them. The experience validates the relevance of our Buda mission. How we would like to expose our young Salesians to living there for one or two months during summer!”
Also the younger member of Buda presence, Fr Ariel Arias shares his immediate enthusiastic feedback:
“I was happy while listening to the sharing of SALVO volunteers insights after their experience: One shared that it was the first ever trip with deep purpose and meaning; another said that she would bring along her children next time. Still another one said that she would make this kind of activities a yearly event for her and her friends in their company.
I was so happy because the eyes of the volunteers and their hearts were opened to the plight and needs of the indigenous youth and children of Buda, a humble place in the heartland of Mindanao, through the presentation of the Don Bosco Agri-preneur Project in Buda.
I am so happy because the volunteers expressed willingness to help and become part of the Buda project in their own way: help offered in the legal aspect of the project, willingness to help in the marketing of “Padre Ninno’s products”.
I am so happy because I was able to talk and propose to two volunteers their ‘Come and See’ in Cebu, for a life committed to the Lord in the Salesian Vocation. One considered it seriously. Indeed, that experience was to me a venue to see the volunteers’ heart and possibility for vocation to Salesian life.
I am so happy because now many volunteers came to know more about Don Bosco Buda’s long term vision, mission, and directions for the indigenous youth. We hope that they in turn will help us more concretely in the realization of our mission – the saving souls through capacity building, agri-preneurial enterprises, and socio-economic upliftment of the indigenous people/youth of Mindanao as a whole.”