Volunteers' Reflections on the Strenna for 2014

"Da mihi animas, cetera tolle."
(Give me souls, take away the rest.)

As part of the spiritual formation of VIDES Philippines' officers, staff, and volunteers, the video of the Salesian Rector Major's Annual Strenna* is presented during the first general assembly regularly held at the beginning of the year.   

For 2014, the theme of the Strenna of Fr Pascual Chávez is "Let us draw upon Don Bosco's experience, so we can walk in holiness according to our specific vocation."  The Rector Major discussed Don Bosco's spirituality and highlighted the importance of pastoral charity as the center and synthesis of Salesian spirituality. He also underscored how the Salesian spirituality is experienced in particular ways, according to the specific nature of each group of the Salesian Family and each one's state in life, be it priestly ministry, consecrated life, lay, family, youth, elderly, etc.   

In concluding his Strenna, Fr Chávez urged the members of the Salesian family to do the following: 1) commit ourselves to a deeper understanding of Don Bosco's spiritual experience; 2) live the core and synthesis of Salesian spirituality which is pastoral charity; 3) propose and communicate Salesian spirituality according to the diversity of our vocations; and 4) read Don Bosco’s writings which are sources of Salesian spirituality.

VIDES Volunteers' Reflections on the Strenna for 2014

I’m struck by Don Bosco's “passion for God and for the young.” As Busina Mo, Dunong Ko (BMDK) volunteers, we are reminded by Don Bosco to be patient. Like him, let us believe that “In every child there is a seed of goodness.” - Amy

Motto of Don Bosco: “Give me souls, take away the rest.” I agree that we save the souls of the young thru volunteerism. - Cheryl

In VIDES, we see the growth in the mission of Don Bosco; the volunteers have imbibed the Salesian Spirituality; everyone is responsible in the field --- volunteers have become like “auto-pilots”, which means that everybody moves with conviction for the common good and the mission. - Tony

In VIDES, we live out the essence of “Give me souls, take away the rest.” We evangelize (give them hope and share our faith), we educate and enable the children and their parents (educate them on human rights, develop their talents), we empower them to become better persons spiritually, economically, personally, etc.) - Ciel

“As a father of two children, Don Bosco’s teachings can also be applied in our home. Even I experience the ‘kakulitan’ of my kids, just like the BMDK children, so I’m challenged to be patient. Children are true to their nature --- just simply being themselves --- so I understand them and apply more patience in dealing with them. In my daily life, I also am asked to exercise patience in politics, even while driving, at work, etc.” - Raymund

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"I am struck by Don Bosco’s compassion for the youth. I am also asked to follow the same example. At BMDK, we show this care and understanding for the youth and children. If there are some things to improve, it is in giving them guidance in their spiritual life.” – Ian

I’m struck by what Don Bosco started a long time ago. What Pope Francis is asking us today --- to live charity --- Don Bosco already did in his time, and this, we also have continued. “Charity begins at home” --- and we are able to give this charity to others because we also feel this in our family, the Salesian Family. DB already taught this to us even before..” – Riza

The time, help and experiences we have and share with the young is very important. At VIDES, we experience and live this out a lot. – Shobe

Don Bosco’s Salesian Spirituality can be shared also with my own family, so that they will also learn about loving kindness and charity. – Melvin

Charity is a sign of love. I relate this with the missionaries and volunteers who untiringly give their lives. We should be thankful because God has given us this gift and inspiration to volunteer. Not everyone has received this desire to volunteer. We marvel at God’s goodness in enabling us to volunteer and share. I’d like to make this my source of inspiration: to sow love, to sow charity… – Lezeil

Don Bosco helped a lot of young people in his time. They became good. They were helped to become better. I hope that at VIDES we can also help more children, just like Don Bosco. – Varry

Everyone is called to holiness. I’m struck by this, especially by seeing so many saints in the Salesian family. We are called to be holy, to know how to serve, not just to pray and go to mass every day, but also to live values such as honesty, truthfulness, and helpfulness in our day to day life. My own daughter is also challenging me to be kind and true in our own home because she can see me like this at BMDK. We can learn many things from children. Being holy is not limited to being prayerful only. It is seen above all in the way we live our daily ordinary life. – Sarah

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For me, Don Bosco’s “for the glory of God” struck me --- this means a lot because at BMDK, we are able to motivate the children to pray. We have taught these spiritual values to the BMDK children; they have come to give importance to the Sacraments. My three sons are now very active and committed altar servers. Sometimes, they are the ones reminding us about going to mass on Sundays. Saving souls is part of our mission. We have seen this in our young people. – Rose

Don Bosco’s holiness started in his own family. Due to his good upbringing, he became what he was. We also do volunteering work, thru the power we get from being inspired by DB. Based on this Strenna, whatever vocation I choose, I will make sure that I’ll live out what I learned from DB. – Stanley

My discovery is that at BMDK, the Junior VIDES are allowed to be themselves, also the oratorians and BMDK children – they run, they jump, as long as they don’t sin. The Sisters and volunteers let the children be as long as they don’t sin. – Darline

I also like letting the children play, because that is part of their development. But it is good to teach the children about their rights and proper behavior, so that they will be given guidance in their life --- and these are the things we do at BMDK. – Irene

I’m struck by Don Bosco’s holiness. It’s hard to be holy. It’s easy to be angry. But, we can try not to be angry. For the sake of the young, we have to set a good example. As volunteers, they look up to us. At BMDK, I experience seeing young people who are capable of praying and remembering what the volunteers are teaching them. – Unissa

It is very important to spend time with the young; I hope they can also see what they want to do with their life. – Hannah

Before I joined VIDES, I used to get impatient so easily. But at VIDES, I learned how to improve my patience and understanding. When I go home to Batangas, I am able to apply this gradually. – Tintin

I’m struck by Don Bosco’s “Until I die, I want to give my life for the young.” Stating it positively, I would say: “As long as I live, I want to volunteer.” In serving / volunteering, we do our part in helping, in our own little way. – Toni Rose

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What Don Bosco is doing, VIDES is doing, especially for the young: we educate them, we evangelize, we share our talents, and give whatever we can. – Dong

Every time I see Don Bosco, I’m reminded about showing compassion not only for the young, but for everybody. Even outside VIDES volunteering, I am also able to apply this. I believe that the Lord will send someone to take care of my teenaged daughter Fatima especially when I’m doing mission work away from home. I’m not sure if my daughter feels this way. But I experienced it because when I went to Italy, Rosenni took care of my daughter. – Roselyn

“Charity” - this struck me. As volunteers, in our own little way, we experience great joy when we see the children and are able to share life with them. – Linda

“Salvation of souls” – this is what struck me. When I first joined VIDES, I already saw this, how the volunteers are teaching the children how to pray; guiding and forming them. Salvation works in both ways: we are being saved even as we are saving souls. – Grace

I learned from DB how to speak and deal with children, and how to discipline with loving kindness. - Joy

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