The Salesian movement, a spirit of missionary service

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The Salesian movement, a spirit of missionary service
Fr Vaclav Klement with Dominic College’s student leaders.

Fr Vaclav Klement, Regional Superior of the Salesians of St John Bosco, recently visited Tasmania during the celebration of the 200th Anniversary of the birth of St John Bosco.

A member of the General Council of Salesians in Rome, Fr Vaclav spends half the year visiting the countries of the East-Asia Pacific region, which along with Australia include Korea, Japan, Indonesia, the Philippines, China and East Timor.

“The letter we received from Pope Francis on the bicentenary of St John Bosco is entitled, ‘Like Don Bosco, with the young and for the young,’” Fr Vaclav said.

“The charism of the Salesians is to journey with the young people wherever they are.

“To journey with the young people is always a new adventure.”

Salesian ministries in Tasmania like Dominic College and St John’s Parish, both in Glenorchy, also received a visit from Father Vaclav.

Fr Frank Bertagnolli, a Salesian as well as an Order of Australia recipient and former Principal of Dominic College, spoke of the challenges faced in Salesian school ministry.

“Thirty-five years ago…we had almost 100 per cent Catholics in Catholic schools, whereas now it’s more like 45 or 50 per cent,” he said.

“There is that challenge, of serving the needs, not just of Catholics, but of a population interested in Catholic Education but not in the Catholic faith.”

“We want to link these children to their parishes.
“The challenge for us is to make sure that young people support the parish and are part of the parish.”

For Fr Vaclav, two hundred years of Salesian service, is a time of reflection and goal setting.

“In the life of the church 200 years is a very short time,” he said.

“We tried to study a little deeper the person, writings and mission of St John Bosco.”

A spirit of missionary service typifies the movement, for Fr Vaclav.

“Gratitude is the main point of this year, of the Salesians and the Salesian movement, to make this Salesian family more missionary, to reach out,” he said.

“The missionary drive of the Salesian movement is the main fruit we can expect.”

Would you like to hear more? Tune into our Archdiocesan Soundcloud account, for journalist Daniel Nour’s conversation with Salessian Regional Superior Vaclav Clement and Salesian Priest Fr Frank Bertagnolli.