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17/1/2014 - Belgium - Visit of Fr Klement to the missionaries of Project Europe
Photograph available in Image Bank

(ANS - Brussels) - Last weekend, on 11-12 January, Fr Václav Klement, Councillor for the Salesian Missions, made his third visit to the Province of Northern Belgium and the Netherlands (BEN) the last leg of his journey of animation to the Salesian Provinces participating in Project Europe.

During the two days, the Councillor for the Missions had a series of interviews in groups and with individuals, with the Salesian missionaries from India (2), Indonesia (2) and Mexico (1) who are currently stationed in Heverlee in Belgium, and at Amsterdam in the Netherlands.

In this way Fr Klement got to know the situation of the Church in Belgium and of the Province. The formation community has only three practical trainees who are part of Project Europe, but despite the limited numbers, the Salesians are well recognised publicly as good religious.

In the course of their conversations, the missionaries revealed that the second meeting of the missionaries of Project Europe, held in Turin last November, was of great benefit not only to the missionaries but also to the host communities. The fruits of that meeting were clearly recognised.  The Society of the Divine Word (SVD) is strong and well known in Belgium and the Netherlands. Their experience has been of help to Salesians in coming to an understanding of the dynamics of life of the missionaries working in Europe.

Fr Klement saw also how in the past four years the province has put into practice the induction programme for new missionaries. This includes the study of the Flemish language, scheduled visits to all local communities and three weekend training sessions per year which enable newcomers to learn about the culture, the history, the Church and local society. Their acceptance into the provincial community is now well planned, thanks to their accompaniment by the Rectors and their councils, and the participation of missionaries in the Provincial Chapter and at Rectors’ meetings.

On their part, the Salesians of the BEN Province have learned thatif the missionaries are to be well integrated into the province, the most important requisites are: patience and a gradual approach; openness and understanding of the culture of origin of the missionariesperhaps even by visiting their land of origin; and talking directly with the missionaries on intercultural differences.

The presence of the missionaries has brought many benefits, such as strengthening of the Salesian presence among the poorest young people , the re-launch of the pastoral care of vocations, greater openness of the Salesian communities towards the Provinces of origin of the missionaries and the situation of the Church and a re-awakening of missionary interest.
After a long period of discernment, the BEN Province decided to ask the Rector Major for at least two new young missionaries in 2014.

Published 17/01/2014

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