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14/12/2012 - Great Britain - PE: Welcoming and accompanying missionaries
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(ANS – Bollington) – Accompanied by Fr Kieran Anderson the Provincial Councillor for Formation and Fr Tony Fernandes, a member of the Province Formation Commission, last weekend between Friday and Sunday 7-9 December there was a meeting at Savio House Bollington for a small group of Project Europe confreres, from India, Vietnam Poland and Slovakia. It was a good opportunity for them to reflect and share about their experiences since coming to the GBR Province and also to become more familiar with it and with each other.

Accompaniment, 'walking with' missionaries in the countries they have been sent to has emerged as a strategically important activity in recent years. The most important challenges for greater vocational fidelity and pastoral effectiveness are those bound up with acceptance, fitting in, and accompaniment of someone who comes from another social, cultural religious context in another continent and, in certain cases, even from another country in the same overall geographical area. In fact this kind of attention has been one of the critical points characterising Project Europe's second key concept, the sending of missionaries.

To tackle this challenge, the Province of Great Britain has worked out a gradual process of helping missionaries to fit in, involving initiatives that help with inculturation and integration.

On Saturday the group went to Liverpool, where Fr Michael Duggan from the Bootle community spoke to them about the history of the Salesian presence and mission in schools and parishes on Merseyside. They also visited the city and the modern Catholic Cathedral.

Later they took part in a special parish Mass for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception celebrated by Fr Martin Coyle the Provincial, highlighting their presence as part of Project Europe.     

The Great Britain Province, in agreement with other Provinces in Europe, is prepared to accept young Salesians in practical training for a limited period, so they can learn the language and have an experience of pastoral ministry in an English context; this is one form of exchange which can strengthen bonds between various European Salesian settings.

A further initiative of the Great Britain Province has been to prepare to involve missionary Salesians in Provincial Chapter 2013 to help them improve their knowledge of confreres, and the historical and pastoral dynamics in the Province.

Published 14/12/2012

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