Wednesday, December 12, 2007

On Promoting Salesian Vocation

I was supposed to blog on a different topic, but when I came across a portion of a letter of Don Juan Becchi entitled "Now is the acceptable time" (cf. AGC, N.373) I decided to dwell more on it.

Don Becchi noted some important elements that can be seen in Don Bosco's work for vocation. Among them are the following:

  • He takes special care to plant and develop seeds of a vocation among youngsters.
  • He does not trust to chance but collaborates actively in making God's gift perceived.
  • He builds up a suitable environment for his candidates in which inputs on vocational maturation can be favorably received and reach maturity. A central element to this is the family spirit.
  • He promotes an intense spiritual atmosphere which leads to:
    • a personal relationship with Jesus,
    • frequenting of the sacraments,
    • devotion to Mary, and
    • to a kind of prayer that leads to an ever deeper rooting in the heart and in life of a personal acceptance of God's plan.

His letter reminded me on a study I did when I was finishing my master's degree four years ago. It dwelt on the various strategies employed by Don Bosco Canlubang in promoting the Salesian vocation among its high school students. Random sampling was carried out, and the respondents were the high school students themselves. About 30% of the entire population was surveyed. I cannot remember the other details, I don't have the paper with me.

That time, there were various channels of "advertising" the Salesian vocation. Posters were pervasive. The video documentary "Ober 'd Bakod" (it is a video essay on the life inside the walls of the seminary ) was also maximized by the school by showing it especially to the seniors.

However, one remarkable result of the study is that among these channels, the students favored more the presence of the Salesians (priests, brothers and seminarians). They liked it best when they see "Salesian figures" assisting them while they are out in the playground, or nibbling their snack in the school canteen. They also welcomed these Salesians explaining the intricacies of the religious life rather than reading these details in the posters.

Somehow, this study resonates with the inputs of Don Becchi on how to not only carry out the vocation promotion efforts of a particular community, but also execute it in the manner of how Don Bosco did it.