From March 14-16, at the Institute of Salesian Studies (ISS) in Berkeley, CA, coordinators of both the East and West Province of the Salesians of Don Bosco long term international and domestic volunteer programs along with coordinators of the Salesian Sisters VIDES program met to discuss future collaboration among the participating Salesian Service branches. Those present included Salesian Domestic Volunteers coordinator Megan Fraino, Salesian Volunteers coordinator Juan Carlos Montenegro, Salesian Lay Missioners coordinator Adam Rudin, VIDES East coordinator Sr. Denise Sickinger, VIDES Canada coordinator Sr. Jeannine Landry and Sr. MaryGloria Mar VIDES USA Director via Skype.
Over the three days – we had the opportunity to learn about each others programs from the discernment process, different placement opportunities, formation programs and re-entry plans. We looked at the current formation plan being used by the Eastern Province conducted by Fr. Lou Molinelli. It was a great chance to share ideas and tools in helping our young people discern, serve and live in Salesian settings. Though our programs have many differences, we do share the same mission and charism. We hope that from this meeting we can continue to collaborate and assist each other in creating service programs that are both beneficial to our provinces as well to the young people who would like to serve. We came up with a few areas that we hope to share ideas on and some action steps to help us move forward. These areas include delineation of each program, site placement sharing/job descriptions, a unified initial application form, marketing resources, communications, a more prominent vocational animation within our provinces and a serious plan of formation for both pre-mission and during mission. We look to continue communication and sharing resources of these next few months and plan to meet again in the fall.
Many thanks to the Salesians of Berkeley for their hospitality and Salesian insight. Please keep those out serving in the missions, both foreign and domestic, in your prayers!