Thursday, August 21, 2014

Salesians Commission 20 Lay Missioners

Salesians Commission
20 Lay Missioners

The SDBs of the St. Philip the Apostle Province commissioned 15 young women and 5 young men as lay missionary volunteers on Thursday, Aug. 14, at the Don Bosco Retreat Center in Haverstraw, N.Y. As Salesian Lay Missioners, they’ll serve for a year at Salesian missions, or those of a similar nature, in Tampa and Belle Glade, Fla., and in Bolivia, Brazil, Cambodia, and South Sudan. Most will begin their service in September.
The commissioning took place at a Mass within a retreat that included the 20 SLMs and about 35 SDBs. Fr. Tom Dunne, our provincial, presided over the Mass and the commissioning rite, and Fr. Mark Hyde, director of Salesian Missions in New Rochelle, preached the homily.

Introducing the Mass, Fr. Tom linked the commissioning rite, as well as the upcoming rites of religious profession, with the union with Jesus Christ that began with the Baptism of everyone involved.

Fr. Mark observed that each of the SLMs had heard Christ call her or his name and had responded with a willingness to head into a place unknown to make Christ known and carry on his mission of sharing the Father’s love for humanity. Like the saint of the day, Maximilian Kolbe, they’re called to “give up” and to “hold fast”: to give up their lives—or a piece of their lives—for the sake of others, and to hold fast to the Church’s mission of proclaiming the Gospel.

Fr. Tom blessing the missionary crosses, assisted by Slavka (hidden) and Adam
The 20 SLMs range in age from 20 to 31 and include a married couple. They come from Arizona, California, Colorado, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Virginia.

They include graduates from Bowling Green, De Sales, Indiana Southeast, James Madison, John Carroll, Long Beach State, Northern Colorado, Notre Dame, Rutgers, St. Edward’s, Vanderbilt, and Western Carolina universities and Belmont Abbey and Cabrini colleges.

Several have been employed for a few years since college, e.g., in church ministry, in hospitality, and as teachers.

As missioners they’ll serve in youth centers, orphanages, middle schools, high schools, catechetical programs, and retreat programs. Those who will teach in academic settings will instruct in English language, computer science, accounting, and secretarial skills.

The SLMs expect to serve primarily with a “ministry of presence” and to grow as Christians by loving, as unconditionally as they can, the children and young adults to whom they are being sent.

The volunteers had a rigorous screening before being accepted into the program. Immediately prior to their commissioning they had more than three weeks of orientation, which included an introduction to St. John Bosco and the Salesians, cross-cultural training, a week’s service in the Salesian summer day camp at Port Chester, and a retreat. Most will have a month or so to close up personal business and say good-byes before departing for their assignments.
Part of the SLMs orientation involves camaraderie, forged in part by an outing to Bear Mountain State Park (on a somewhat wet Aug. 12 this year). Your humble blogger celebrated Mass with them before lunch in one of the pavilions, and then we all hiked up the 1,300' mountain.
The orientation weeks were planned by the SLM director, Adam Rudin, with Fr. Mark. Mr. Rudin led the orientation with generous and capable assistance from returned SLMs Amber Kraft (Bolivia, 2009-2012) and Michelle Webb (India, 2009-2010) and a leader in the Slovak Province’s volunteer program, Slavka Brigantova.

The Salesian Lay Missioner program has sent thousands of young (and sometimes older) volunteers to Africa, Asia, Latin America, and U.S.-based missions over the last 30 years. The SLM program is based at Salesian Missions in New Rochelle.

This year’s batch will be missioned to:
            Bolivia: Cochabamba                          Karen Dziekonska
                                                                        Brittany Redmond

            Bolivia: Montero                                  Kelsey Lamb
                                                                        Gabbi Poetzl
                                                                        Cara Welker

            Bolivia: Santa Cruz                              Jamie Korsgaden
                                                                                Becky Lograsso

            Bolivia: Yapacani                                Connor Bergeron

            Brazil: Manaus                                     Tara Bailey
                                                                        Molly Young

            Cambodia: Phnom Penh                      Amanda Cisneros
                                                                        Maggie Hutchison
                                                                        Clare Pressimone
                                                                        Sarah Taylor

            South Sudan: Gumbo (Juba)                Matt Bauer
                                                                        Kevin Kho

            Florida: Belle Glade                             Matt Marinelli

            Florida: Tampa                                    Jennifer Kennymore

Part of every Salesian retreat is a short entertainment on its last nite, following supper. When the SLMs are taking part, they also provide some numbers, usually of a musical sort.  Some are some serious songs or poetry, some are light-hearted.  And then there was this:

Clare wrote the lyrics to that little number called "Don Bosco's Style":

1. It’s Don Bosco Style.
Don Bosco Style?
We are all here ’cause we have something in common.
Put on this earth to do so much more than walk on.
You know we heard the call to love all of God’s children.
Led by that guy from Turin.

2. Don Bosco said, it ain’t enough to simply love them, no.
Don Bosco said, they got to know that lovin’ feelin’, go!

3. Don Bosco called, each one of us to serve around the world, around the world, all around the world.
We’re from New York, PA, and Cali, New Jersey, MO, Canada, Ohio,
Texas, Holland, Mass, Virginia, Mexico, Rhode Island, yo!
We got so many in this province here alone-one-one-one!

4. That’s Don Bosco Style.
Bosco Style.

5. That’s Don Bosco Style. 
Bosco Style.

6. That’s Don Bosco Style.
Heyyyyyyyyyy, Mother Mary,
Help, Help, Help, help, help, Help of Christians,
Heyyyyyyyyyy, Mother Mary,
Pray, pray for us, pray-ay-ay-ay-ay.

When he was a kid John Bosco had some dreams and visions.
He felt the call to be a priest and help all age of chilluns.
He answered loud, and devoted life to Mary, opened or-a-tories, what?
Home, Church and school, and playground were the four important parts,
But most of all, Bosco called all of us to work with heart,
No matter where, we gotta use that reason, religion, kindness, around the world, all around the world.

We SLMs head off to Asia, Florida, Bolivia,
South Sudan, Cambodia, and Brazil, that’s where we go!
Evangelizin’ as Salesians! Yeah, yeah, yeahhhh!
That’s Don Bosco style.
Bosco Style.
That’s Don Bosco style.
Bosco Style.
That’s Don Bosco style.

Heyyyyyyyyyy, Mother Mary,
Help, Help, Help, help, help, Help of Christians,
Heyyyyyyyyyy, Mother Mary,
Pray, pray for us, pray-ay-ay-ay-ay.

Our time with you is coming to an end, so we just have to say, listen up,
Our time with you is coming to an end, but we just want to say: Thank you SDBs!
All together now!

Heyyyyy, Mother Mary,
Help, Help, Help, help, help, Help of Christians,
Heyyyyyy, Mother Mary,
Pray, pray for us, pray-ay-ay-ay-ay-ay.
That’s Don Bosco Style!

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