Monday, 29 September 2014

Salesian Mission and the Lay Dimension

A concerned confrere asked me this simple but very relevant question: How do we envision the future of Salesian mission in India when the lay dimension (involving Brothers, lay people as cooperators, volunteers, past pupils...) is abysmally minimal?  Can it and will it truly be bright and holistic?

The immediate thing that comes to my mind is this. India is basically a land of cults and rituals. Therefore the person performing these takes a privileged place in society. Catholicism too, unconsciously or by way of inculturation, has imbibed this particular preferential viewpoint of some 'over' the others. I would not hesitate to say that there is also a very conscious and deliberate attempt to keep laity off the loop, leave alone engage them as partners. And in my frank opinion, this outlook will take some time to broaden up or open up.

My only fear is that we are not even ready to learn from the experience of the West wherein the lay participation has picked up after (or perhaps in revolt of) the domination of the clergy and the religious in the medieval era. Perhaps a few hard knocks will waken us up to the reality that needs to be witnessed and REALISED.  Hope we better learn to live this essential dimension of our Salesian mission sooner than a regretfully later date.  

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