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Ethiopia – In a country struck by diseases, locusts and riots, Salesians try helping families of Ethiopian students

1 week 4 days ago
Ethiopia – In a country struck by diseases, locusts and riots, Salesians try helping families of Ethiopian students

(ANS - Addis Ababa) - The situation in Ethiopia is currently dramatic, to say the least: the country is grappling with health, food, and social emergencies that are expanding day by day. Covid-19 infections are increasing and adding to the still active outbreaks of cholera, measles, and malaria; the country is also the victim of a second wave of locusts, which are destroying hectares and hectares of crops; this while “popular” riots between police forces and the Oromo community make it very difficult to comply with contagion-prevention measures.

The World Health Organization has identified Ethiopia as one of the 13 African states at high risk for the spread of the epidemic: hospitals are not well equipped, doctors and tampons are lacking, and the public awareness campaign regarding the measures to prevent contagion almost exclusively concerned cities, leaving numerous peripheral areas isolated.

Several international observers, such as "Human Rights Watch", have denounced the impossibility for millions of Ethiopians to even access basic information as regards anti-Covid-19 measures such as handwashing and social distancing, due also to the blockade of telephone and Internet communications by the government to favour Army operations against the riots that broke out in the capital Addis Ababa in early July - clashes between the police and the Oromo community that were sparked following the mysterious killing of Hachalu Hundessa, a well-known singer and symbolic voice of the community, clashes which have caused more than 200 victims and numerous injured.

As if that weren't enough, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimates that around 30,000 hectares of land have already been ruined by locusts.

The Sons of Don Bosco first arrived in Ethiopia in 1975 and are now present in 14 areas in 5 regions: Tigray, Oromia, Addis Ababa, Gambella, and in the Region of Nations, Nationalities and Peoples of the South.

In 45 years of their presence in Ethiopia, the Salesian missionaries have built numerous schools and youth centers dealing with literacy and the education of thousands of girls and boys who live in difficulty. They have also been working hard in the fight against human trafficking, Ethiopia being a migratory crossroads of the Horn of Africa.

Following this complex situation, in a country where over 60 million people - around 60% of the population - survive on a day-to-day basis, the Salesians have decided to start a single project to support the population, in particular the students' families of the 16 Vocational Training Centers and Salesian schools closed due to the health emergency.

Distribution of food and drinking water; hygiene kits; and awareness-raising campaigns about good practices to prevent contagion are the three key points of the project to help the most vulnerable families.

Further information is available at: www.missionidonbosco.org 

  • Etiopia
  • AET AFRICA ETIOPIA
  • Disastri e Calamità Naturali
  • Coronavirus
  • Missioni
  • Missioni Don Bosco
    Gian Francesco Romano

    Lithuania – Lithuanian Salesian Family remembers its patriarch: Fr Antanas Skeltys

    1 week 5 days ago
    Lithuania – Lithuanian Salesian Family remembers its patriarch: Fr Antanas Skeltys

    (ANS - Griskabudis) - On Saturday 25 July the Lithuanian Salesian Family dedicated a day of remembrance and gratitude to the first Lithuanian Salesian, Fr Antanas Skeltys, on the occasion of the 60 years since his death.

    Born in a small town in the Suvalkija region, the young Antanas, eager to become a priest, but of modest economic conditions, came to know the Salesians and Don Bosco. He then wrote to the superiors in Turin and received the telegraphic reply: “Come! We are waiting for you". He was the first of a real wave of young Lithuanians who later reached Piedmont.

    He studied, became a Salesian in 1906, and was ordained a priest in August 1914, a week after the outbreak of the Great War. Unable to return home, he worked in Italy, in the houses of Verona and Este, where he took steps to found the Lithuanian edition of the Salesian Bulletin.

    Already in 1921, he worked zealously to bring young Lithuanians to Italy so that, fascinated by the Salesian charism, they would become future sons of Don Bosco. As soon as conditions permitted, he returned to his homeland. In a large estate received as a gift, he established a community of Salesians who worked full time with the over 100 students of the vocational training school. The work remained open from 1934 to 1940, interrupted by the Soviet occupation.

    In the following years, Fr Skeltys (who among other things deserving of the title of Righteous among the Nations for the many Jews saved during the Nazi occupation) lived in wise clandestinity in small village parishes, hiding from KGB agents, until his death occurred on July 28, 1960.

    Thus, on Saturday 25 July, the figure of this intrepid Salesian was commemorated in his hometown of Griskabudis.

    The solemn celebration was presided over by Archbishop Emeritus of Kaunas, card. Sigitas Tamkevicius - who as a child was an altar boy to Fr Skeltys and who owes his priestly vocation to him - and was concelebrated by the auxiliary bishop of Vilnius, Msgr. Arunas Poniskaitis, great-grandson of Fr Skeltys himself.

    The Mass gathered all the representatives of the Salesian Family present in Lithuania, and was broadcast on Radio Maria frequencies.

    In his homily, the cardinal outlined the profile of the radiant spirituality of Fr Skeltys, to whom, as for St James, of which the liturgical memory it was that day, he did not fail to drink from the chalice of suffering of his Savior. The jubilee ended with speeches, songs and wreaths at his tomb, located near the church, on whose headstone is engraved the phrase: "The soul of every man is worthy of the sacrifice of our whole life: find it, help it, and give it to God."

    "Thanks, Father Antanas, the Don Bosco of Lithuania!" was the unanimous cry of gratitude for this day of celebration.

    • Lituania
    • ICP ITALIA CIRCOSCRIZIONE SPECIALE PIEMONTE E VALLE D'AOSTA
    • Famiglia Salesiana
    • Anniversari
    • Personaggi illustri
      Gian Francesco Romano

      Ecuador – "Starting from cinema we answer to pastoral care"

      1 week 5 days ago

      (ANS - Quito) - For the Salesians, the media play a fundamental role in the mission of educating and evangelizing young people. It is a legacy received directly from Don Bosco, through the letter on the good press, and which continues to bear fruit even today, as in the case of "Zatti, hermano nuestro", the film released on 11 July last, whose screenwriter and director is Fr Ricardo Cámpoli, SDB.

      To find out more about this production, on Friday 24 July, the Salesian Social Communication Office of the Ecuadorian Province (ECU) organized an international online conference entitled "From idea to production". More than 40 participants connected, including Salesians, trainees, members of the Salesian Family and collaborators, from different communities and works, from Ecuador, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Uruguay and Argentina.

      The meeting's moderation was entrusted to Marcelo Mejia, ECU Communication Delegate. The first speaker was Fr Gildásio Mendes dos Santos, General Councilor for Social Communications, who recalled how the film represents an invitation to embrace the value of holiness as the primary message of the educational and evangelizing mission carried out by the Salesians together with the young people of the whole world.

      "The film about Zatti is a work of art and communication with which one can know the greatness of this Salesian, and in which one also sees the importance of communication to leave communities with a legacy on life and history of these characters," said the General Councilor, underlining the artistic, spiritual and Salesian value of this movie.

      Subsequently, Fr Francisco Sánchez, ECU Provincial, spoke of the importance of following the path of the Salesians who, like Zatti, have dedicated their whole lives to serving others. And he added: "To propose to young people that the Salesian charism is worthwhile and that holiness can be achieved is a challenge that we must take on."

      In the course of the work, Fr Cámpoli revealed the details of the film locations, the period of the filming itself, the investments necessary for the movie production, the difficulties that arose along the way, but also the joys experienced during the filming. "Along the way, there was always a common thread: the passion of the Salesians for young people, to announce the Gospel to them, to encourage them to do good, to walk with them so that they discover Jesus ... Here all the media play a fundamental role."

      Cinema is undoubtedly a means of responding to current pastoral challenges, which is why Fr Cámpoli intends to continue to work in the sector: one of his future projects is to tell the life of Blessed Laura Vicuña.

      {gallery}ECU - Incontro su film su Zatti 2020{/gallery}

      • Argentina
      • Ecuador
      • ECU ECUADOR
      • Cinema
      • Artemide Zatti
      • Comunicazione Sociale
      • Gildasio Mendes dos Santos
        Gian Francesco Romano

        Argentina – Online Music Festival "VALDOCCO en CASA"

        1 week 5 days ago

        (ANS - Neuquén) - The Salesian presence in Neuquén, belonging to the Province of Southern Argentina, invites you to participate in the online music festival "Valdocco en Casa". Silvina Irigaray, an artist of Catholic music who's been active for over 30 years, is coordinating this festival together with the Salesian Youth Movement (SYM) active at the work and presents its origins and purposes.

        Last year, the Salesian community of Neuquén began holding its first concerts of Catholic music, which had an excellent response from the public.

        In May 2020, the Catholic Music Festival was then held online: an event also supported by Caritas Argentina to motivate fundraising because of the health and social crisis due to Covid-19. It has enjoyed the participation of numerous artists, not only from Argentina, but also from other nations. The festival is visible on YouTube at the following address: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Sa3Cebbmdg 

        Now, with an eye to the month of Don Bosco's birth, this next edition of the festival is being proposed, to be held on August 22, 2020, at 14 local (UTC-3), always in online mode, through YouTube and the Facebook page of Silvina Irigaray.

        The intention is to encourage and foster quality Catholic music, promote community sharing spaces, and create a habit of listening to new talents. Here, too, a fundraiser will be proposed, in this case in support of the Salesian works in the area - in turn very involved in anti-Covid-19 solidarity initiatives and towards all the needy in general.

        "We hope that you will want to join this proposal of an outgoing Church, which Pope Francis offers us, through the wonderful art of Music, as a means to impact the world with the power of the Gospel," say the organizers.

        Catholic musicians who want to present 1 or 2 Salesian Catholic songs, unpublished or not, of their choice, are invited to participate in the festival.

        To register you must fill in the form available on the page: https://bit.ly/ValdoccoenCasa 

        Further information is available on the social networks Instagram - @bienaventuradosconcert - and YouTube.

        • Argentina
        • ARS ARGENTINA SUD
        • Musica
          Gian Francesco Romano

          Peru – July 29: 100 years of Basilica of Mary Help of Christians in Lima

          1 week 6 days ago
          Peru – July 29: 100 years of Basilica of Mary Help of Christians in Lima

          (ANS - Lima) - Sunday 26 July, in an atmosphere of joy and gratitude, the opening of the celebrations for the Jubilee centenary of the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians in Lima, the cultural and historical heritage of the city of Lima, was celebrated. The ceremony included a solemn Eucharist presided over by Msgr. Carlos Castillo, Archbishop of Lima, and concelebrated by several Salesians, including the Provincial Vicar, Humberto Chávez, SDB, and Fr Santo Dal Ben Lava, parish priest of the Basilica.

          The Basilica of Mary Help of Christians in Lima was offered to the Peruvian Church and to all citizens as a "National Homage for the Bicentennial of the Independence of Peru". The offer was made, on behalf of the Salesians of Peru, by Fr Santo Dal Ben, parish priest of the Basilica, and symbolically handed over to the archbishop of Lima, Msgr. Castillo. The moment occurred during the opening Eucharist of the jubilee year for the centenary of this Marian shrine.

          During his speech, Fr Dal Ben recalled that the basilica was inaugurated on 29 July 1921 as a "National Homage for the Centenary of Independence". This title was signed in 1916 by Msgr. Angel Jacinto Scapardini, the Pope's Apostolic Delegate in Peru at the time; and was reconfirmed by Msgr. Pedro Manuel García Naranjo, then archbishop of Lima. To their enthusiasm was added that of the bishops of other dioceses in the country who sent financial contributions for the construction of the temple and thus confirmed the national connotation of this basilica.

          In the speech with which he renewed the offer, Fr Dal Ben also recalled the condition of the church as the only temple of basilical rank in the country: “After its recent restoration, we find no better way to start this jubilee year for its centenary than renew the vow of gratitude that motivated its construction. For this reason, in front of Msgr. Carlos Castillo, Archbishop of Lima and Primate of Peru, we offer, to all the Peruvian Church and all citizens, the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians, completed and restored, as a 'National Homage of Gratitude to God for the Bicentenary of the Independence of Peru'. And with this, we also offer the work of all those who, over the course of a century, have made this Basilica a monument of gratitude for the freedom of Peru."

          At the end of the Eucharist, Msgr. Castillo signaled the possibility that the Bicentenary Te Deum, on July 28, 2021, would be celebrated in the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians, in consideration of its condition as a historic patriotic and commemorative temple of the Peruvian Republic.

          Photo Gallery of the Basilica

          History of the Basilica

          VIDEO

          • Perù
          • PER PERÙ
          • Maria Ausiliatrice
          • Basilica
          • Arte e Cultura
          • Anniversari
            Gian Francesco Romano

            RMG – "Back to Roots, to Fly with Wings: Jubilee and Time to wake up". Greetings from Fr Jayapalan

            1 week 6 days ago

            (ANS - Rome) - From 2016, until a few weeks ago, Fr Raphael Jayapalan had served the Salesian Congregation as World Delegate for Past Pupils of Don Bosco. Here is his grateful greeting to all of them.

            With Heart filled with Gratitude

            My heart is filled with gratitude and immense joy as I lay down my office after having served the Association of the Past Pupils of Don Bosco as the World Delegate for 4 years (2016-2020). It has been a God-given opportunity to visit and animate the Past Pupils’ Federations around the world. I hand over the baton, received from my predecessor, Fr. José Pastor Ramirez SDB, to the new delegate, Bro. Dominic Nguyen Duc Nam SDB from Vietnam. The Association is on a firm footing with the updated Statutes, the strategic plan with 7 priorities, and with an efficient working structure coordinated by the presidency and the executive council. I am grateful to Rev. Fr. Ángel Artime Fernández SDB, the Rector Major, for this singular opportunity and to the President, Mr. Michal Hort, and all the presidency members for their friendship and collaboration in implementing the strategic plan and thus enhancing the quality of the Confederation worldwide.

            The Past Pupil Confederation is a big asset and a huge potential, with a long history and a large number of past pupils who love Don Bosco and live with gratitude to the Salesians and are committed to their families and society. It offers also a big challenge to animate them in order to help them build up their own lives first, and also become apostles who build up the Church and society.

            Roots – 150 years back

            We celebrate the 150 years of our existence as Past Pupils of Don Bosco. The origin of the Past Pupils’ Movement goes back to the initiative of a small group of artisan past pupils of the first Oratory at Valdocco, Turin. Led by the book-binder Carlo Gastini (who later became the first president of the Past Pupils of Don Bosco), they went to Don Bosco on his name-day, June 24, 1870, to express their gratitude to him. They gave Don Bosco a pleasant surprise on the feast day of his patron, with a gift of “tazzine” (coffee cups). Don Bosco had sown in their hearts the seed of gratitude and solidarity that bore fruits.

            Don Bosco loved his pupils. Once they completed their educational programme, he followed them up, welcomed, guided, admonished them when necessary, and was concerned about their wellbeing, above all, about their spiritual life. “With your presence you assure me that the principles of our holy religion that I taught you are set firmly in your hearts and that these are the guidelines for our lives” (MB XVII, p. 173-174).

            While addressing the Past pupils once, Don Bosco said: “One thing for which we must gratefully thank the Lord, which forms my greatest consolation, is that wherever I go, I always hear good things about you: everywhere good words are spoken about my young of bygone days, everyone praises this meeting of ours, because it is a significant means to remember the warnings and words of advice I used to give you when you were of a younger age.”

            Don Bosco remembered the absent ones and like a loving father exclaimed: “If I loved you when you were young pupils, now that you are grown up men, I love you much more. Not all have come back, but when you meet them, tell them on my behalf that Don Bosco loves them always.” 

            On another occasion, speaking to the Past Pupils, Don Bosco said: “One thing I urge you, my dear children, more than any other and that is: wherever you might be, always show yourselves to be good Christians and honest citizens… Many of you already have families. So, share the education you received in the oratory from Don Bosco, with your nearest and dearest” (MB XIV, p. 511).

            The World Presidency of the Past Pupils has prepared, among other initiatives, 5 main projects to celebrate the 150th year and the Jubilee year 2020-2021:

            •        The statue of Carlo Gastini at Valdocco and his Biography in various languages;

            •        The book on Blessed Alberto Marvelli, a model Past Pupil on how to be a good Christian and upright citizen, in various languages;

            •        The publication of an e-book with the profiles of 150 outstanding model Past Pupils who are inspiration to the Alumni today;

            •        The 150 best Projects carried out by the Past Pupils worldwide;

            •        The production of 150 special gift boxes: a special ‘Gastini coffee blend’, as a collaborative venture between the Alumni of Asia (DiBosco-Thai) and Europe, with the scope of mobilising funds for the social and educational projects to the poor in various continents. For further details: tazzine150@exallievi.org.

            My Joyful memories

            As we enter into the jubilee year, and as I pass on the baton, I recall some wonderful experiences that made me realise how much the association has grown in these 150 years. I have seen great enthusiasm of the past pupils in various countries like India, Spain, Italy, Brazil, Slovakia, Portugal, Thailand, Philippines, Japan, Timor Leste, Cambodia, the United States, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Kenya, Tanzania, etc. I was happy to see the dynamic delegates and presidents and their various initiatives for and through the past pupils. 

            The Asian Congress of Past pupils at Timor Leste and the South American Congress (Congrelaat) at the Dominican Republic were organized very well by the Regional Federations with great enthusiasm and precision. The national congresses of India, Brazil, Spain and Italy are imprinted in my heart. The meeting of African delegates and presidents in Kenya showed a great future is possible in African continent if helped consistently.

            An experience that remains embedded in my heart is the visit to the “Cristal school” in Timor Leste, run by the past pupils for about 5000 poor students, an outstanding example of the commitment of the past pupils. More than 100 schools built by Fr. Vincenzo SDB in Kenya and South Sudan with the help of the past pupils of South Korea and Japan is yet another sign of the spirit of Don Bosco burning in the hearts of the past pupils and what they can achieve. The involvement of the past pupils in many countries at the time of national disaster like Tsunami and Covid-19 is praiseworthy. There are many other memorable experiences that are etched in my mind.

            At the world level, it was my joy to see the following System set up: the meeting of the World Presidency every year in different continents and the Executive council every three months; Continental regional meetings once in four years; Clarity and vision with the strategic plan with 7 priorities focussing on: i) information (database, communication); ii) formation (personal formation, family, salesian family); and iii) transformation (business platform and fund-raising for the salesian mission and social projects). Focus has been given to the Formation of GEX (Giovani EXallievi) with a world vice president, regional councillors and a specific formation programme. Enthusiasm among the Salesians and past pupils in various countries and provinces has filled me with joy and optimism.

            Called to fly with Wings

            For the Past Pupils, this jubilee is a blessing, inspiring them to become more active and alive in the present context, and to realise the dreams of Don Bosco for whom the process of education and development did not end when the young person left the youth centre or the parish or graduated from the school. It is a continuous process making the young person a valuable asset to the society and to his/her mission.

            Challenges for the Past Pupils

            1. Creation of Local Units

            It is important to focus on creation of local units in ‘every’ Salesian centre (institution). Initial official registration, constant communication and effective formation at the unit and federation level facilitate their commitment and sense of belonging. The real challenge is to reach out to past pupils who are not yet registered members of the association in order to respond to the concern expressed by Don Bosco in the very first meeting in 1870.

            2. Focus on the Organisation

            The local units need to be formed into provincial/national Federations. While focussing on re-activation of the federations that are struggling and enhancing the powerful ones, it is important to help the provinces that need to take the first steps. Active secretariat at Rome under the guidance of the Delegate will help the organisation better. Greater sharing and collaboration of the Delegate and the President at the world and national/provincial levels will enhance the number of the members as well as the quality of the World Confederation. Mobilising finance for its own stability, for empowerment of the regional councillors in their animations and for the upliftment of the poorest through social projects is a dire need. Geographical areas like Africa and certain provinces of Asia and Oceania need to be guided to form units and eventually federations. There is a need for greater focussed lay leadership, a united presidency team and an effective Executive Council with a greater follow-up and commitment with missionary vision. Hopefully the revision of the statutes and the formation of the new presidency team in 2021 Assembly will facilitate this.

            3. Formation Programmes

            There is a greater need today, more than ever, to devise the formation programmes for personal formation, leadership formation and family formation, because the Association is basically for the growth and maturity of members themselves. Formation of the past pupils to be honest citizens and committed Christians will ultimately help them become leaders in public spheres. Accompanying the young past pupils is necessary so that they become future leaders, filled with passion for Christ and love for Don Bosco, eradicating any temptation of superficiality, banality, power and comfort.

            4. Mission Focus

            A life lived for others is a life lived well. The Association has to make a difference in the world and pave the way for its transformation based on the values of the Gospel. It is called to give priority and centrality to the Salesian mission for the poorest and most needy youngsters concretely in all decisions.

            Responsibilities of the Salesians

            The Salesians particularly the delegates are called to three-fold mission: i) Enhancing the quality of the education given in our Centres and Institutions because the commitment of the past pupils depends on the seed sown there; ii) Furthering the commitment towards the life and mission of the Association; and iii) Inspiring the past pupils to be committed in their family, in the Church and in society.

            The Role of Salesians (Delegates): Though the seed of the Association was sown in 1870 through an informal gathering, the tree has been flourishing, thanks to the impetus and vision given by Don Bosco and the Salesians all these 150 years. It took a giant step in 1911, under the guidance of Blessed Rinaldi with the approval of the ‘Statutes’. Down the line, we see the guidance of the Salesians to the past pupils with a passionate heart. During my visits to different countries, I found the association very fruitful wherever the delegate and the president work together.

            The Role of the Provincial: He needs to appoint a competent and suitable Provincial Delegate; plan meetings of Rectors to reflect together on their responsibility of animation and organization of the past pupils of their institutions; and appoint local delegates who could guide the local groups.

            Need of Perseverance: The virtues sown in the hearts of the little ones will grow and mature slowly and bear fruit in its own time as was evident in the event of 1870. While Don Bosco started his mission in 1841, the first ‘group’ of past pupils came in 1870. It took 29 years for them to come back to him with gratitude as a ‘group’. It was still evolving for another 41 years to get organised with a ‘structure and statutes’ (1911). The formation of the Association needs persevering patience and constant guidance.

            My Dreams - Future of the Federation of Past Pupils

            As I lay down my office and pass on the baton to Bro. Dominic, I pass on my dreams with it.

            •        I dream of a Confederation of Past Pupils that becomes a formidable force in the Salesian Family, becoming a beacon of light in the Church and in society.

            •        I dream of units of past pupils in every institution, youth centre and parish with the formal registration of members. The presence of a unit of active past pupils is a sign that the spirit of Don Bosco has really touched their hearts, evoking gratitude. It springs from a deep experience of Jesus through the system of Don Bosco, concretely shown by the Salesians.

            •        I dream of young past-pupils who find guidance, hope and direction in life even after passing out from the institutions through the organization and formation of young past pupils’ units in every province/country with care.

            •        I dream of a situation where the provincials, delegates and presidents are committed to the cause of the past pupils, reaching out to as many as possible, without being complacent with just a few units consisting of a few past pupils who live a comfortable life.

            •        I dream of Past Pupils Federations becoming salt of their country and light to the world through concrete social projects, thus empowering people especially the poorest and marginalized to experience values of dignity, love, freedom and justice.

            •        I dream of the past pupils of various religions living in religious, social and political harmony and promoting the same in society. The Association is a unique member of the Salesian Family, comprising of people of all religions.

            •        I dream of a World Confederation actively involved with time, energy and money, motivating every national/provincial federation to be committed to the transformation of society based on the values of Christ through their social and political commitment.

            Conclusion

            As I conclude, I realise that the organization of the Past Pupils’ Association is not easy. We can find motivation in the words of Saint Mother Teresa: “When you are not able to run fast, run slowly. When you are not able to run at all, walk; when you are not able to walk, use the stick; but never, never stop.” I think the challenge is exactly to understand that success is not in winning always, it lies in the constant effort to march on.

            • RMG CASA GENERALIZIA
            • Exallievi
            • Raphael Jayapalan
              Gian Francesco Romano

              India – "Salesian Missions" supplies food rations to 780 families through Bosconet

              1 week 6 days ago

              (ANS - New Delhi) - The "Bosconet" Salesian Mission Office in New Delhi was able to provide food rations to those most severely affected by the lockdown imposed to combat the spread of coronavirus in the communities of Shillong and in the state of Assam. The support was made possible thanks to the generous help of the donors of the "Salesian Missions", the Salesian Mission Office in New Rochelle, United States.

              Due to the lockdown, many citizens lost their jobs, while migrant workers were unable to return home to their families. Bosconet therefore intervened and began distributing kits containing rations of non-perishable food. A total of 780 families have been reached.

              Temporary workers employed in tea plantations and daily wage workers were provided with ration kits to make sure they had food to eat.

              Baralin Kharummind, one of the beneficiaries, said: “I live in a village which is located in a remote area. After the announcement of the lockdown in the Country, without work and without food at home, it was difficult to feed my family. I'm very grateful to 'Bosconet' for the support it has given to my family in this complicated moment. It is truly a blessing for us to receive rice, sugar, salt, oil, soaps and tea leaves. On behalf of everyone in my village, I would like to thank you.”

              "Bosconet" has also helped disadvantaged children, young people and women across India by providing quality education and market-oriented vocational training. "Bosconet" has given support to those who have been affected by the coronavirus since the beginning of the lockdown. Whether it was raising awareness of virus prevention, distributing masks or making sure people had food to eat, Bosconet staff was at the forefront of providing help to those who needed it most during this difficult time... And it continues to be.

              India represents the world's fourth largest economy, but over 22% of the country lives in poverty. About 31% of children, according to an Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative report, are a "multidimensional poor" child, that is, a child deficient in at least a third of the 10 basic indicators grouped according to three dimensions of poverty: health, education, and standard of living.

              The Salesians who live and work in India have been carrying out programs and activities for hundreds of thousands of vulnerable young people for years. And this work continues unceasingly today.

              • India
              • INS INDIA SHILLONG
              • Procure Missionarie
              • Solidarietà
              • Coronavirus
                Gian Francesco Romano

                Italy – Luminous cross in memory of Msgr. Giuseppe Cognata, SDB

                1 week 6 days ago
                Italy – Luminous cross in memory of Msgr. Giuseppe Cognata, SDB

                (ANS - Tivoli) –  A processional luminous cross by the iconographer Domenica Ghidotti was blessed on the occasion of the 48th anniversary of the death of the Servant of God Msgr. Giuseppe Cognata, (22 July 1972). It coincides this year with the announcement of the consent of Pope Francis to the opening of the cause of beatification and canonization of the Salesian bishop. The blessing took place in the Mother House of the Salesian Oblates of the Sacred Heart (SOSC) in Tivoli.

                In the front part of the Cross, in the center, there is the "Christus patiens". Represented at the ends are the Virgin of Sorrows and Saint John the Evangelist, witnesses of the crucifixion and models of participation in the sufferings of Christ. In the coping, we see the "Mandylion", with the holy face of Jesus, supported and honored by two angels. The precious blood that flows from Christ descends to redeem the earth and men from sin, starting with the first man-sinner, Adam, represented by the skull placed at the foot of the Cross.

                At the rear of the Cross, in the center stands the figure of Jesus surrounded by the saints to whom Monsignor Cognata was inspired in his episcopal ministry and in the foundation of his congregation: Saint Paul the Apostle, Saint John Bosco and Saint Francis of Sales. At the feet of Jesus is the episcopal motto of Mons Cognata: "Caritas Christi urget nos". In the lower part, the heavenly Jerusalem is depicted. Here a relic of the Holy Cross has been set, supported by a Cherub.

                At the beginning of the celebration, presided over by Fr Gaetano Saccà, Mother Graziella Benghini, Mother General of the SOSC, illustrated why this icon of the Cross was commissioned.

                In his homily, Fr Pierluigi Cameroni, Postulator General of the Causes of Saints of the Salesian Family, said: “Being true disciples of Jesus means going along a path that goes against the current to the point of making us become people who, with their lives, question society, people who annoy, make trouble. Monsignor Cognata is one of the Lord's disciples who has been persecuted for having lived his commitments with God and with others. After receiving the sentence in which the Holy Office deprived him of episcopal functions, Msgr. Cognata wrote to one of his most faithful collaborators, prof. Anna Vultaggio: 'We are at the last act of Calvary: on the Cross, Jesus consumed what he wanted to suffer, showing himself dead as defeated: but later, the triumph of the Resurrection. The Master also associated me with this last act to hasten the triumph of his Oblates in which my resurrection will also be ... So, my daughter, we are at burial! It is the time of the last test; we know how to support it in silence, abandoned to the Heart of Jesus ... Let us keep ourselves at work and triumph in the Name of Jesus, suffering and overcoming trusting in the Master ... Do not worry about defending me; there is the Lord for this.'"

                It is worth remembering that Monsignor Cognata ended his earthly journey in Pellaro (Reggio Calabria) in the place where he had started the foundation of the SOSC in 1933, starting in a certain way from where it all started.

                {gallery}Italia - Croce Astile Mons Cognata 2020{/gallery}

                • Giuseppe Cognata
                • SOSC Salesiane Oblate del Sacro Cuore
                • Arte e Cultura
                • Italia
                  Gian Francesco Romano

                  India – Calcutta mourns death of Fr Joseph Aymanathil, a pioneer of education in the slums

                  2 weeks 1 day ago
                  India – Calcutta mourns death of Fr Joseph Aymanathil, a pioneer of education in the slums

                  (ANS - Calcutta) - Salesian Fr Joseph Aymanathil, a doctor of canon law, had been the pioneer of quality education for many children in the slums, mostly Muslims, for more than thirty years. He had started an important education project and over time offered free lessons to young people.

                  He passed away on July 19, at the age of 73, due to COVID-19, to which he had tested positive in the previous weeks.

                  His collaborators now continue his work and continue in the daily distribution of basic necessities to the poorest, putting their lives at great risk.

                  Fr Aymanathil dedicated his life to the education of the children of the slums: about 600 young people benefited from his education projects every year. The lessons were divided between the Primary section in the hours 14.30-16.30, and the Senior section from 17.00 to 19.00. The teachers helped these children study and do their homework. In the classrooms, the students found desks, benches, and fans and could study in silence and with the right lighting system, all elements that are missing in the slums.

                  With the lockdown in place since March 2020, Fr Aymanathil was at the forefront and had organized 115 uninterrupted food distribution days in support of the "Don Bosco Solidarity COVID-19 Relief", the body that coordinates the Salesian response to the emergency from COVID-19. Together with his collaborators, he worked mainly in the area of the Kapali Bagan and Sealdah Railway Station in Calcutta.

                  • India
                  • INC INDIA CALCUTTA
                  • Decessi
                  • Coronavirus
                  • Solidarietà
                    Gian Francesco Romano

                    Brazil – Salesians help needy communities of Niterói in pandemic times

                    2 weeks 1 day ago
                    Brazil – Salesians help needy communities of Niterói in pandemic times

                    (ANS - Niterói) - The "Mamma Margarita" Salesian oratory and youth center of Niterói, in the State of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil-Belo Horizonte Province (BBH), is helping needy families of the surrounding communities by distributing food and hygiene products. "What is more interesting is that when we started asking for donations we had nothing and Divine Providence, just as Don Bosco taught us, assisted us at all times," testified the Salesian responsible for the campaign, Fr Denis Dutra Marques.

                    The "Salesian Solidarity Campaign" has been helping children and adolescents in needy communities in Niterói for four months. And it is through the Youth Center of the "Mamma Margherita" Oratory, a social work of the Salesians, that children and adolescents from these communities receive help. With the arrival of Covid-19 in Brazil, many businesses, companies, and shops have had to suspend their work to avoid gatherings; as did the Salesian social work.

                    According to the Salesian Social Communication Office, many children of the families who live in the areas surrounding the Salesian Youth Center already before the pandemic had access only to the meals the social work of the Sons of Don Bosco made available to them. Thus, from the beginning of the quarantine, the need arose to start a food donation campaign so that families, too, could feed their children.

                    “When we started the campaign in March, it was mainly to help the approximately 350 children we serve here in our social work. These children and their families are needy: people from the surrounding communities, with low incomes, socially vulnerable and at risk," explained Fr Marques.

                    According to Fr Marques, other families subsequently began to seek support from the Salesian social work. "The families of the communities of Alarico and Cavalão learned that we were distributing kits with basic foods and came looking for us. So we decided to register all these people to follow each family's situation more precisely ... There were weeks in which we had 90 families to look after and we had no food basket to deliver. But when the day of distribution came, usually Saturday, we didn't have 90 baskets, but 120! And there were 120 families to take the kit."

                    The Salesian Solidarity Campaign continues to collect non-perishable foods and personal hygiene items. Donations are left at the reception of the Salesian Institutes of Niterói, which remain open 24 hours a day, to avoid social gatherings.

                    • Brasile
                    • BBH BRASILE BELO HORIZONTE
                    • Coronavirus
                    • Solidarietà
                      Gian Francesco Romano

                      Malawi – Maize for 382 families thanks to "Salesian Missions" donations

                      2 weeks 1 day ago

                      (ANS - Lilongwe) - The Don Bosco parish of Lilongwe, Malawi, received funding from Salesian Missions donors, the Salesian Mission Office of New Rochelle, for the purchase of corn to help families in the parish's neighboring villages. In total, 382 families have received corn.

                      "We appreciate the support of our donors who were able to provide the funding to help poor families in Malawi," said Fr Gus Baek, director of the Salesian Mission Office in New Rochelle. "Providing maize helps families have the nutritional support they need, especially during a time of great difficulty during the pandemic. Many families have seen a loss of income and have been pushed further into poverty."

                      According to data from the World Bank, in Malawi, more than 50% of the population lives in poverty and most families see women as heads of households. According to the United States Agency for International Development, 45% of the country's children under 5 years of age suffer from lack of adequate nutrition. Many children also lack educational opportunities and have few options to improve their situation.

                      This is why Fr Mulenga Oswald, parish priest of the "Don Bosco" parish of Lilongwe, also wanted to thank the donors for the support given to the poorest families. "Salesian Missions' prompt response helped us to mobilize and assist the people that needed help most," he said.

                      In Lilongwe the Salesians offer many support programs for poor young people and their families. The Don Bosco Youth Center offers counselling workshops, seminars and educational literature to face the many challenges that young people in the region are facing. The program focuses on Vocational Training and the prevention of high-risk behavior, such as substance abuse and the possibility of joining ill-famed gangs.

                      During normal operation, the Don Bosco Youth Center hosts more than 600 young people every day and for this reason it has become a symbol of youth empowerment through sports and vocational and technical education. The center also conducts evening motivational talks for spiritual and moral growth.

                      The campus of the Salesian Youth Center also includes facilities for practicing sports such as basketball, netball and volleyball. They also offer courses in art, fashion arts and beauty, accounting, masonry, automotive mechanics, and information and communication technologies.

                      Source: Salesian Missions

                      • Malawi
                      • ZMB ZAMBIA MALAWI ZIMBABWE NAMIBIA
                      • Fame
                      • Coronavirus
                      • Solidarietà
                      • Procure Missionarie
                        Gian Francesco Romano

                        Chile - Collaboration and solidarity with Talca Salesian Educational Center

                        2 weeks 4 days ago
                        Chile - Collaboration and solidarity with Talca Salesian Educational Center

                        (ANS - Talca) - The solidarity campaign conducted by the Salesian Educational Center Talca (CEST) continues to bear fruit and deliveries of baskets of food and materials for personal hygiene continue to the families most affected in the educational-pastoral community. At the same time, the collaboration between all CEST management areas continues in order to continue communicating with students.

                        Mauricio Espinoza, president of the CGPA (general parental center) of the CEST, thanked all the families who shared their resources. "The CGPA board team prepares and organizes baskets, and products that don't come or that are a little more expensive, like vegetables, for example, we buy them ourselves," he said.

                        The delivery of parcels takes place at the Sur Institute Office or directly at the homes of families, including family units that are in preventive quarantine. From 13 to 17 July, in particular, there was an increase in solidarity actions and a total of 138 baskets were delivered.

                        Mr. Espinoza explains that it was a titanic effort, not only for the organization but because there are more and more people living in difficult times, and reaching everyone is difficult. But fatigue and frustration are quickly overcome by joy: a joy that comes from knowing that you are really doing good and that one is improving the lives of many people. "As a group," he continues, "we must continue to work, continue to add people to help, continue to share as brothers."

                        As regards the investigation into the realities of families in difficulty, the Salesian school has a commission led by Fr Pedro Pablo Cuello, director of the Salesian presence in Talca. The commission aims to detect the most complex situations of students and their families and thus strengthen support networks. This requires great collaboration between all the areas of work of the CEST, since collaboration and solidarity do not develop only in the economic sphere, but also in the academic, social, and health fields.

                        Also, CEST continues to keep in touch with students and parents. Thanks to this communication, the CEST was able to detect the needs of the children, many of whom have connection problems. For this, IT equipment was provided and Internet access was guaranteed.

                        • Cile
                        • CIL CILE
                          Virginia Nitto

                          Spain - “School without Books” project continues

                          2 weeks 4 days ago
                          Spain - “School without Books” project continues

                          (ANS - Avilés) – Enough with bringing course books and carrying kilos in your backpack! In the Salesian school of Santo Ángel in Avilés (Asturias), during the next school year, a new educational project will begin which entails the digitization of the first- and second-year classes. Students will work with touch screen computers and digital licenses for textbooks.

                          The school has joined the technology of "chromebooks", which have a specific operating system for education allowing students to follow lessons, do their homework, work, and even save their files as if it were a computer. "For some years now we've been preparing teachers to bring them into this process as there are already several Salesian schools that have adopted it. We will join them next year," explained Alberto López, the head of the school's studies, yesterday.

                          The pandemic highlighted the need to provide families with other resources besides classroom learning, but this change of the Santo Ángel "had already been thought of before, even though families now feel this need more," underlines Lopez, who then adds: "Students are ready to make this leap because we already had a mobile digital classroom with this type of device."

                          Families have also welcomed the change. At first, there was concern about an economic issue, as parents thought that the payment would be more expensive than buying traditional books. "We have dealt with them and we have seen that the payment will be only this for this first year, but then that computer will remain in the center and will be used also for the second year," explained the families.

                          A touch screen computer model was chosen, which also has a stylus that will allow them to write on the screen. "Paper will not completely disappear, there will be times when it will still be used, but this type of device allows them to work and create content to share with other students," said Alberto López. At Santo Ángel they consider it essential to introduce students to this type of digital skill.

                          Even if they don't have the Internet at home, they will be able to work on content, as the computer allows them to create homework and upload it to the Internet when they get to school. "We have an excellent wifi network, which we changed two years ago so that it can support around 600 or 800 devices at a time," added López.

                          • Spagna
                          • Scuole
                            Virginia Nitto

                            Italy - Goodbye, friend of young people. Last farewell to Fr Carlo Nanni

                            2 weeks 5 days ago
                            Italy - Goodbye, friend of young people. Last farewell to Fr Carlo Nanni

                            (ANS - Rome) - On Tuesday 21 July, at 11 am, in the parish of Santa Maria della Speranza in Rome, the last greeting to prof. Fr Carlo Nanni, aged 75, was celebrated. Professor and rector emeritus of the Salesian Pontifical University, he passed away on July 19. The homily was given by Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, Rector Major of the Salesians and Grand Chancellor of the UPS.

                            “Death for the Salesian is made bright by the hope of entering into the joy of his Lord, and when it happens that a Salesian dies for souls, the Congregation has won a great triumph,” said the Rector Major during the homily, citing article 54 of the Salesian Constitutions.

                            “These moments,” continued the Rector Major, “are not for making nice speeches, but for bearing witness to faith. I believe that not everything ends here, I believe that it is true that today Carlo is already in God, and we thank him for the life he has given us, joyful and passionate as a Salesian of Don Bosco. It is a day of pain but also of hope: in this present, which is not ours, death does not have the last word, God has already won it with the Resurrection and in a certain sense, Carlo has earned it. We thank God for giving us the life of our dear confrere.”

                            To remind all of the commitment and generous service of Fr Carlo were also prof. Fr Mauro Mantovani, Rector of the UPS, prof. Fr Mario Oscar Llanos, Dean of the Faculty of Educational Sciences, and Fr Stefano Aspitati, Provincial of the Salesian District of Central Italy, of which Fr Carlo Nanni was a professor. A greeting to Fr Carlo was also made by the Salesian Past Pupils who remembered him for his culture, "combative, concrete and full of active momentum."

                            Many sent a message of condolence for the loss of prof. Fr Carlo Nanni, the friend of the young. Among the messages, also that of Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone who, deeply saddened, wanted to remember "his sincere friendship, his relational ability, his competence and dedication as a scholar of education at the service of the Salesian mission, of the Italian Church and of the Holy See." Msgr. Adriaan van Luyn and Msgr. Luc Van Looy also spoke, highlighting Fr Carlo's joy and his fully Salesian charism.

                            On the afternoon of July 21, the funeral was also celebrated in the birthplace of Fr Nanni, i.e., Ischia di Castro (Viterbo), and he was buried in the family tomb.

                            • UPS UNIVERSITÀ PONTIFICIA SALESIANA
                            • Rettor Maggiore
                            • Ángel Fernández Artime
                            • Decessi
                              Virginia Nitto

                              Kenya - Daughters of Mary Help of Christians support families affected by COVID-19

                              2 weeks 5 days ago
                              Kenya - Daughters of Mary Help of Christians support families affected by COVID-19

                              (ANS - Nairobi) - Fr Francis Preston, SDB, provided an account of the situation in Dagoretti, a very poor area west of Nairobi, about two miles from the novitiate of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians. Fr Francis, who has lived here for the past three months, writes: "The big problem here in East Africa at the moment is hunger."

                              This is a very difficult year for the families of Dagoretti. Before Kenya reported the first cases, in mid-March, the country was already facing an invasion of locusts and the pandemic did nothing but worsen the social and economic situation. In recent weeks, coronavirus cases have increased and Kenya now has the highest numbers in East Africa, with Nairobi remaining the most affected area.

                              In Kenya, COVID-19 is much more than a health crisis. The pandemic has created devastating social, economic and political crises, which could leave deep scars on many people and especially in already vulnerable groups. Many businesses have closed and many people are now out of work and out of income. In Dagoretti, many poor people live day-by-day, looking for occasional and even potentially risky jobs just to earn enough to eat. Drinking water is missing, crowding in the slums makes social distancing impossible, schools have closed and children have no access to education.

                              “We Salesians of Don Bosco in Dagoretti see poor families knocking at our doors looking for help every day,” Sister Purity Ndiwiga, FMA, explains. “With the support we receive from our donors, we've tried to help some of the most vulnerable people. In May 2020, we distributed packages of food, soaps, sanitizers and masks to 300 families. This distribution of parcels was made possible by people of goodwill, to whom we are grateful,” she continued.

                              Sister Purity then addressed a thought to other countries around the world that are facing the pandemic. “We cannot bear the fact that the European continent, in the lands of our benefactors, is suffering from Coronavirus,” she added. “Children, mothers and their families, are heartbroken when this sad news arrives. They recognize how much all the benefactors have been a support for their education and other basic needs and believe that the greatest support they can offer from this extreme place in Africa is only to turn their gaze to our creator with a trustful, confident heart.”

                              • Kenya
                              • Africa
                              • FMA Figlie di Maria Ausiliatrice
                              • Coronavirus
                                Virginia Nitto

                                Costa Rica - CEDES Don Bosco launches campaign "Our mission continues"

                                2 weeks 5 days ago

                                (ANS - San José) - With the aim of continuing, in these times of pandemic, to provide educational, humanitarian and integral support to more than 2,000 families in the country every day, CEDES Don Bosco has launched the campaign "Our mission continues", which ends on 20 August.

                                The campaign "Our mission continues" consists of a collection of digital funds, in particular through the Yo Me Uno platform, fully supported by the financial institution BAC Credomatic.

                                CEDES (Centro de Educación Salesiana) is a social educational work which, in addition to helping more than 2,000 children and young people every day, serves around 5,000 inhabitants of nearby communities, who benefit from their educational, recreational and religious programs.

                                "To support the work, CEDES Don Bosco carries out various fundraising activities every year, most of which are mass events, but as a result of the global health crisis caused by COVID-19 they have been suspended. However, despite the emergency, the mission of CEDES Don Bosco continues, especially for young people and their families, who today more than ever require the educational opportunity and integral growth that we offer," underscored the Salesian priest Carlos Chiu Fuentes, director of the Planning and Development Office of the Salesians of Costa Rica.

                                Despite everything, the CEDES Don Bosco also continued the teaching process, giving lessons virtually.

                                "To act effectively, a survey was carried out to find out the situation of the families of each of our students. There it became evident that our beneficiaries, in addition to education, need us far beyond the educational service that we provide them. The digital divide and access to technology have been two of the challenges we have faced in these months of emergency. For this reason, an institutional computer loan was made to children and young people who, due to their situation economic, did not have access to technological equipment," adds Fr Fuentes.

                                "In the same way, thanks to various institutional efforts and thanks to an agreement with companies and foundations, we have been able to satisfy the need for connectivity and also to fill other basic shortcomings, such as food, which are a priority for CEDES Don Bosco,” he continued.

                                For more information, please visit the Facebook page of the CEDES Don Bosco. (@Cedespaginaoficial)

                                Source: elmundo.cr 

                                • Costa Rica
                                • Salesiani
                                  Virginia Nitto

                                  Uganda - Don Bosco Palabek pioneer in production of facial masks

                                  2 weeks 6 days ago
                                  Uganda - Don Bosco Palabek pioneer in production of facial masks

                                  (ANS - Palabek) - On 8 July at the Don Bosco Vocational Training Center in Palabek, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) officially launched the "Facial masks for refugees and host community" project. The Honorable Hillary Onek, Cabinet Minister responsible for Refugees, said: "Don Bosco Palabek has been a pioneer in the production of face masks and was very innovative, not only in the Palabek settlement but throughout northern Uganda and across the nation."

                                  The same thought was taken up by Charles Uma, the administrative director of the Lamwo district. Mr Uma said that "when the lockdown in Uganda was declared on March 18, 2020, I received a generous number of masks from Palabek for district use."

                                  Despite very limited resources, in Palabek they started making masks and distributed them free of charge to refugees and to all community workers.

                                  Ms Felicitas Nebril, UNHCR Regional Manager, also said that: "This activity is the best example of refugees involved in socio-economic activities. Palabek has contributed to the well-being of refugees and local communities. You have become, in fact, the (role) models also for the host community."

                                  She also encouraged refugees to use the mask regularly, to maintain the settlement's "zero-Covid" status. To date, a group of 20 girls has produced at least 10,000 masks of different shapes and sizes and will continue to produce others and distribute them for free.

                                  In his speech, Honorable Hillay Onek added: "The eyes of Don Bosco's missionaries were sharp in seeing the needs and challenges of the people; when the government had not provided funding for the masks for refugees, you missionaries started production. By doing it in our district and in this new Training Center, you have made us proud."

                                  He thanked the Salesians for bringing this Vocational Training Center to this extreme corner of the country, a place that had been neglected for several decades. "You will raise well-prepared young people, both refugees and locals, and bring peace and harmony throughout the area," he continued.

                                  During this period of isolation, the Salesians living and working in Palabek have been engaged in implementing numerous anti-COVID-19 measures. Finally, the Salesians of Palabek also wished to express their thanks to Don Bosco Jugendhilfe Weltweit, main partner, and to all the other local supporters, the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation, CESVI, Trocaire, AVSI and LWF for the material and logistical support.

                                  Fr Lazar Arasu SDB

                                  {gallery}Uganda - Don Bosco Palabek{/gallery}

                                  • Uganda
                                  • Palabek
                                  • Rifugiati
                                    Virginia Nitto

                                    Vatican - Pope Francis' surprise visit to children of Vatican Summer Kids Center

                                    2 weeks 6 days ago
                                    Foto: Vatican News

                                    (ANS - Vatican City) - Make new friends, to have fun you have to do it together. This is the indication of Pope Francis who on 20 July met the children and their animators who, since the beginning of July, have been participating in the “Estate Ragazzi”, the Vatican's Summer Kids Camp. The Pope greeted them while having breakfast and answered some of their questions.

                                    There is still disbelief among the many children who attend the summer center wanted by Pope Francis in the Vatican every morning to help and support parents, employees of the Holy See. On 20 July, shortly after 9, Pope Francis visited the children and young people, while having breakfast in the atrium of the Paul VI Hall. This was reported by the Director of the Holy See Press Office, Matteo Bruni: "After going through the tables, the Pope visited the spaces for games in the classroom and talked with participants." The Pope then returned to the Santa Marta house at 10 am, having first thanked staff "individually" for their work.

                                    Together to make friends

                                     

                                    During the visit Francis sat among the children and "encouraged them to make new friends." "People who only know how to have fun by themselves are selfish," said the Pope, "you have to be together, with friends, to have a good time." The Summer Center, born as an initiative of the Governorate to help parents who work in the Vatican, organized educational and recreational activities for the month of July in the Gardens, the Heliport and the Paul VI Hall. About 100 children and young people are involved, in compliance with anti-Covid protocols. The Center is animated by the Salesians together with the association "Tutto in una festa": the days are marked by swimming in the pool, tennis, soccer and basketball matches, inflatable slides, ping-pong challenges as well as guided visits to the Vatican Gardens.

                                    Kids amazed by Pope's simplicity

                                    "A big surprise for us! I wasn't here but I was notified of the Pope's arrival and so I went back. He had come out of Casa Santa Marta alone and went to the Paul VI Hall to greet the kids who were finishing breakfast. He strolled between tables, first chatting with the little ones, then the kids of elementary and middle school. He was interested in what they do, how they spend the day, asked them if they were happy," said the coordinator of "Estate Ragazzi", Fr Franco Fontana, SDB, chaplain of the Gendarmerie and the Vatican Museums, about the morning together with Francis. "The children were so amazed that they remained completely silent. Then, after the tour, we went down to Paul VI Hall, we did what we do every morning, we didn't upset the schedules. The Pope himself wanted it to be so. In three," he explains, "they asked him questions we had asked last week, because it was our intention to write to him. He answered very simple questions. Finally, he gave us a general greeting and then warmly thanked the 22 animators. We also took a picture together. He then returned to Santa Marta on foot." What impressed Fr Franco was the attitude of the children who caught in Francis "the familiarity, simplicity and fatherhood with which he wanted to live this moment."

                                    Source: Benedetta Capelli, Vatican News

                                    • Vaticano
                                    • Papa Francesco
                                    • Oratorio
                                      Virginia Nitto

                                      Peru - Salesians in Peru, bearers of Don Bosco's pastoral charity

                                      2 weeks 6 days ago
                                      Peru - Salesians in Peru, bearers of Don Bosco's pastoral charity

                                      (ANS - Piura) - The Peruvian government was one of the first countries in South America to impose the lockdown early on to try to prevent the emergency. National borders were closed on March 16, internal movements prohibited, and the closure of all non-essential activities was ordered. Today the quarantine is no longer in force (isolation ended on June 30), but Peru is the sixth country in the world for infections from Covid-19, the second in Latin America. The restrictive measures of confinement have led to catastrophic consequences, a long-lasting economic and social crisis.

                                      Piura, a city in northern Peru, is the city with the third highest number of infections and deaths from Coronavirus. During the first phase in the growth of cases, many people approached the doors of the Salesian Don Bosco school in Piura to ask for help, something to eat. The response of the Salesians was not long in coming. The operations to support the most vulnerable population started with the oratories with help to the families of the children who spent the quarantine at home to reach a place no one else was going – out of fear, as a precaution, as refusal.

                                      The Salesians of Piura, led by Fr Angel Carbajal, director of the Center, and Fr Pedro Da Silva, Pastoral Animator, arrived at the vast landfill of Castile, on the outskirts of Piura, where many families live in the midst of waste in some sort of tent, collecting plastic and cardboard amid the garbage.

                                      Faced with the images of the landfills, the thought that comes to mind is: will it be risky to go to such a place? Fr Carbajal had but one answer: “I did the same thing that Don Bosco would have done. It is pastoral charity in all its splendor, it is the apostolic impulse that pushes us to go towards those who need us.

                                      In many houses in Peru, there is no running water and refrigerators are a luxury, not to mention the situation within indigenous communities, one of the minorities most neglected by the support measures.

                                      The Salesian presence in Peru is active in coastal, mountain and forest regions, each community is very attentive to vulnerable situations present in the most difficult areas of the country.

                                      In this complex situation, the objective of the mission is to provide assistance through food and health support to 100 needy families in the forest area. The Sons of Don Bosco of the Loreto Region are organizing the delivery of 100 food baskets, sanitary items and cleaning products for families living in the San Lorenzo area, in the Peruvian forest. A food basket, disinfectants and cleaning products, and personal protective equipment will be delivered.

                                      Source: Missioni Don Bosco

                                      • PER PERÙ
                                      • Perù
                                      • Coronavirus
                                        Virginia Nitto

                                        Nepal - Parents and students welcome new innovative teaching method

                                        3 weeks ago
                                        Nepal - Parents and students welcome new innovative teaching method

                                        (ANS - Bharoul) - The Don Bosco Community of Bharoul in eastern Nepal, where there are two Salesian schools, is conducting lessons for all 1,500 students, using 42 rented rooms, each called "community classroom". Each class is attended by 10 students at a time. All strictly follow government restrictions to counter the spread of COVID-19. The entire teaching staff, made up of 46 members, is fully involved in the program, which began on 16 July 2020 and is coordinated by the four members of the Salesian staff.

                                        Schools in Nepal have been closed in the past three months due to the COVID-19 pandemic and there is still uncertainty about the timing of the reopening. It was in this context that the idea of ​​conducting the lessons in different locations came to the two principals, Messrs. Binu Jacob and Leslie Pereira. Since the school premises cannot be used to conduct lessons, classrooms have been rented to conduct lessons in nearby villages, with students divided into groups of ten. Here, classes made up of small groups were preferred to online lessons, as the financial conditions of many students are not good.

                                        Currently, teachers teach lessons in major subjects such as English, Nepali, math, science and social studies. The first part of the program is being carried out, but lessons are expected to continue beyond school hours.

                                        The first phase of this new lesson mode was well supported by the teachers and parents of the children and, starting from the first day, a 95% student presence was recorded. This therefore suggests that every single student at the school will actively participate in this new program.

                                        The local Administration, in particular the Education Department, has given authorization to carry out the lessons in this way. However, all anti-Covid regulations must be strictly respected, such as the use of the mask, social distancing and the obligation to frequently disinfect hands. The school therefore ensures due care to prevent the spread of the virus in the community.

                                        Parents and students have responded positively to this initiative, which allows children to attend classes, even in times of forced closures due to the pandemic.

                                        • Nepal
                                        • Scuole
                                        • Coronavirus
                                          Virginia Nitto
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