by Fr. Gilbert Pano SDB
After a long flight from Rome, we are finally unpacking our bags in Port Moresby.
We are grateful to our PGS Vice-Province for this programme which enabled us Melanesian Salesians to visit the places of connected with Don Bosco from June 18-28, 2019: Becchi, Colle, Capriglio, Castelnuovo, Mondonio, Mornese, Valdocco, Turin and Annecy.
Actually it was a pilgrimage-retreat-seminar rolled into one. We read a text in the context, then its context was explained to us. We were given much time for reflection. In the evening, after the rosary and 'good night' we gathered together to share our insights and reflections for the day.
I have to admit that finally, reading them in context, I have understood many primary sources of our charism particularly the Memoirs of the Oratory and the Treatise on the Preventive System. For us Melanesian Salesians it was a good way to grasp and understand the figure of Don Bosco and the context where our charism was born. Now I understand better what our Provincial had told us several times, that 'our geographical distance from the birthplace of Don Bosco could also risk causing a psychological distance from our charism'.
Reflecting on our unique experience, I could summarise this in two words: Responsibility and Guide. As the second Melanesian Salesian priest, this pilgrimage-retreat-seminar made me realise of my responsibility as a bridge between the missionaries and new local vocations. Understanding better our charism will enable me to guide others into knowing, appreciating and owning it up.