Sunday, March 02, 2008

Favored Sons...and Daughters

I got a preview of an interesting article about the Salesians from the blog of Sis. Britt, an FMA aspirant from the USA. The article appeared in the March 01 issue of The Tablet.

Let me highlight here some portions of the text:

With more bishops than any other order in the Church, and a "family" of 400,000 priests, religious and lay helpers, the Salesians, whose twenty-sixth General Chapter opens in Rome on Monday, are also being promoted to key posts at the Vatican.

If you thumb through the Annuario Pontificio, the Vatican's block-like 2,400-page directory, you will see that nearly every major section of the Roman Curia has at least one or two officials, staffers or consultants with "SDB" or "FMA" after their names.

Why have Pope Benedict and his predecessors put so much confidence in the Society of St Francis de Sales, to use the official name the Salesians took at their foundation in 1859? One might be tempted to look only at their impressive numbers. According to the most recent data, there are currently 16,234 Salesians, 484 of whom are novices, while another 2,451 are still in early formation.

Penned by Robert Mickens, the article was entitled "Favored Sons...and Daughters."

This title functioned best as the thesis statement of the entire piece. Each paragraph contributed to strengthening the stance of the title—and of the entire article.

Mickens probably did his homework as he lucidly outlined not only ideas in his paper. At one point, he even quoted Don Bosco: "No effort should be spared when the Church and the papacy are at stake."

What I admire most in this piece is that he peppered it with numerical figures. And what is more is that he seemed to have gotten “his statistics right” as Fr. Julian Fox, SDB of AustraLasia (an email service for the Salesian Family of Asia Pacific) verified that Mickens “checked them out.”

I know of some Salesian bishops, in fact here in the Philippines, we have four—Bishops Pabillo, Drona, Cantillas and Buzon, but I was surprised when I learnt from him that “currently 116 men with SDB behind their names wear the mitre, which is more than any other order in the Church.

It feels good that the Church leadership puts its trust in the Salesians of Don Bosco. For someone like me who is officially about to append my name with the SDB initials months from now, I am more than delighted to see how this family of mine contributes to the good of the Church.