FIS Province @25
“Our congregation is 163 years old and our very own Philippine South Province is 25 – quite a long stretch of time in between. But through it all, we have our Salesian identity as the tie that binds us in ageless prominence.”
So began the speech of Fr. Godofredo Atienza, SDB the current provincial superior of Mary Help of Christians Province (FIS).
The province was established in 1992 with 62 Salesians. Today, it has now over 66 priests, 13 brothers and 24 post-novices and theologians. The combination of religious and lay presence continue to infuse with Salesian charism 11 youth centers, 9 technical-vocational centers, 7 parishes, 4 schools, 4 retreat houses, 2 boys homes, 1 aftercare home for children in conflict with the law, 1 seminary, 1 novitiate, and 1 provincial house spread out in 16 houses all over Cebu, Negros, Iloilo, Eastern Samar, Davao, Lahore and Quetta in Pakistan.
In the morning, the Salesians had their moment to be together. The provincial shared his reflections and insights highlighting not only the shining moments but also the times when the brilliance had been reduced to a dull glimmer. The provincial presented to the confreres the situation of the province with sincere intention of taking stock of the strengths and weaknesses. He later encouraged the confreres to set their sights in the next 25 years.
In the afternoon, the other members of the Salesian Family joined in the celebration of the Holy Mass, the program and the festive dinner. In his final speech after honoring benefactors and guests Fr. Godofredo mentioned,
“Today, our experiences of working together on behalf of the young have helped us grow as a united body sharing responsibility within the Salesian Family and thus growing in our awareness that we are a single charismatic movement.”
The whole celebration also honored pioneers and former provincials. Later, at the end, the provincial paraphrased St. John Paul’s Vita Consecrata (No. 110),
“we have not only a glorious history to remember and to recount, but also a great history still to be accomplished! Look to the future, where the Spirit is sending you in order to do even greater things.”