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Burundi – Salesians on the way to peace and development

1 week 2 days ago
Burundi – Salesians on the way to peace and development

(ANS - Bujumbura) - The Sons of Don Bosco have been present in Burundi since 1970. In recent years they have always closely accompanied its young people and the entire population, even in the darkest moments, such as during the civil war. They are currently looking to the future with hope, as witnessed by Fr Jean Paul Ndayikengurutse, a 45-year-old Salesian from Burundi, whose surname in the local language means "thank God".

After decades of inaction, the country seems to have abandoned the previous policy of autarchy - which led the country to refuse any help from foreign organizations and investors - to try to set development in motion in a similar way to what is happening in its neighbors, Rwanda and Uganda. "Now there are exchanges, the situation is also improving here," explains Fr Ndayikengurutse, who also underlines the fact that the migration of Burundians to Europe is an irrelevant phenomenon unlike other countries in that part of Africa. “There are opportunities to live on a dignified level. The fertile soil allows for good agriculture.”

The Salesians in Burundi are present today with three canonically erected works: in Bujumbura, Ngozi and Rukago. The three communities manage two parishes - with Rukago that boasts about 70,000 faithful, of which half are young - and two "vocational schools" in addition to the "Don Bosco Lyceum", in Ngozi, one of the largest in the country, which educates 900 boys and girls every year. It is not easy to offer quality, but the government makes contributions that allow teachers to be paid their salaries: half are paid by the Salesians, the other half by public funds.

Then there is the ministry to street children, which is not configured as hosting them in the structures but to meeting them and accompaniment towards a return to their families of origin. “These children leave their homes due to hunger or the separation of their parents”; the operators intervene in the emergency and then rebuild the network of relationships so that each child or young person can return to being part of the family unit by supporting it. “There is a difference between what we can do in big cities or in villages, but the guiding line is to meet the kids regularly to achieve their return home."

And looking to the future, Fr Ndayikengurutse hopes that the projects set aside can be restarted, erecting new parishes for the benefit of evangelization, catechesis and the dissemination of the sacraments among Burundians, and developing the young "Mary Help of Christians" shrine in Bujumbura so that it can become a center of spiritual life for the nation.

For more information, please visit: 

  • Burundi
  • Sviluppo Sociale
  • Educazione
    Gian Francesco Romano

    Belgium - "Don Bosco International" joins "Pact for Skills"

    1 week 5 days ago

    (ANS - Brussels) - “Don Bosco International” (DBI) has officially joined the European Commission's “Pact for Skills”. The Pact was launched several months ago. After gathering some members from within the European network of Salesian vocational training, the DBI sent the joint application and yesterday, 22 July, the European Commission informed them that it had been approved.

    The “Pact for Skills” is a model of shared commitment for the development of skills in Europe. In the Pact, businesses, workers, national, regional and local authorities, social partners, intersectoral and sectoral organizations, education and training providers, chambers of commerce and employment services, all play a key role. To support an equitable and resilient recovery and achieve the ambitions of green and digital transitions and industrial strategies in Europe, the European Commission has invited public and private organizations to join forces and take concrete action for the upskilling and reskilling of workers in Europe.

    “Joining the Pact for Skills,” explains Renato Cursi, Executive Secretary of the DBI, “is complementary to the networking that Salesian vocational training has been developing in Europe in recent years.”

    In 2016, "Don Bosco International", which plays a coordinating role in this network and a reference for relations with European institutions, joined the European Alliance for Apprenticeships.

    This too is an initiative promoted by the European Commission to foster synergies between educational agencies, businesses and institutions in the creation of quality apprenticeships.

    The DBI is also a partner of the "DBWAVE" project (Don Bosco Web for a more Accessible and inclusive Vet in Europe), Don Bosco's network for vocational training (vet in the English acronym) more accessible and inclusive in Europe, together with another 7 Salesian partners from other 5 European countries.

    Some of them supported DBI's candidacy for the “Pact for Skills”. Together with DBI, in fact, the CNOS-FAP Federation (Italy), the SMM and SMX Provinces (Spain) and the vocational training centers of Tirana and Shkoder for Albania have already joined the Pact. The hope is that now other Salesian realities involved in the development of skills through schools, vocational training centers or other social works will join the DBI partnership for the Pact.

    • Don Bosco International
    • Belgio
      Virginia Nitto

      RMG - Presentation of the theme for Strenna 2022: “Do all through love, nothing through constraint” (St Francis de Sales)

      1 week 5 days ago
      RMG - Presentation of the theme for Strenna 2022: “Do all through love, nothing through constraint” (St Francis de Sales)

      (ANS – Rome) - Dear Brothers, Sisters and Friends, Just six months ago we gave the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians – as has been our tradition since Don Bosco’s time – and the whole Salesian Family, the Strenna for the new year. Six months later, therefore, I have been asked to anticipate what could be the guiding theme for the new year 2022, as the different rhythms of the hemispheres where the Salesian presences are located demand. I do so gladly in the hope that it may be of some help.

      Quite clearly, in 2022, the year in which we will celebrate the fourth centenary of the anniversary of his death, the theme can only be that of the Spirituality of Saint Francis of Sales, the wellspring of Don Bosco's Salesian spirit which our father and founder drank from and contemplated at all times, especially when it came to defining his style of education and evangelisation. – to put it in the kind of language we use – of the fledgling Salesian Congregation: “We will call ourselves Salesians”.

      We know that Don Bosco was deeply impressed by the extraordinary figure of this Saint. He was an authentic inspiration to him, especially because he was a true pastor, a master of charity, a tireless worker for the salvation of souls...

      As a young seminarian, John Bosco took the following resolution before his priestly ordination: “May the charity and gentleness of St Francis de Sales guide me at all times.” And in the Memoirs of the Oratory Don Bosco said: “[The Oratory] began calling itself by the name of St Francis de Sales […] because we had put our own ministry, which called for great calm and meekness, under the protection of this saint in the hope that he might obtain for us from God the grace of being able to imitate him in his extraordinary kindness and in winning souls.”

      Of course, this year's Strenna will also be a wonderful opportunity to recognise and find oneself in the spirituality of St Francis de Sales and to appreciate even more the magnificent characteristics of Don Bosco's Salesian spirit., as also the precious values of Salesian youth spirituality. We will undoubtedly see ourselves reflected in them and feel called today to be “more Salesian” in our Salesian Family, that is to say, more filled with the spirit of St Francis de Sales, a spirit that permeates our Salesianity as the family of Don Bosco.

      Belonging completely to God, living to the full [our] presence in the world

      This is probably the most “evolutionary” proposal of St Francis de Sales. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI expressed it with his usual profundity and beauty when he said that the great invitation that St Francis de Sales addresses to Christians is to “to belong completely to God, living to the full [our] presence in the world and the tasks proper to [our] state”. “My intention is to teach those who are living in towns, in the conjugal state, at court […]” (Preface to the Introduction to the Devout Life). The Document by which Pope Pius IX, more than two centuries later, proclaimed him a Doctor of the Church would insist on this broadening of the call to perfection, to holiness. It says: “[True piety] shone its light everywhere and gained entrance to the thrones of kings, the tents of generals, the courts of judges, custom houses, workshops and even the huts of herdsmen.... […]” (Brief Dives in misericordia, 16 November 1877). Thus came into being the appeal to lay people and the care for the consecration of temporal things and for the sanctification of daily life on which the Second Vatican Council and the spirituality of our time were to insist. The ideal of a reconciled humanity was expressed in the harmony between prayer and action in the world, between the search for perfection and the secular condition, with the help of God’s grace that permeates the human being and, without destroying him, purifies him, raising him to divine heights.”

      We certainly find the source of this spirituality in so many of our Lord's gestures and words in the Gospel and in the simplicity of Don Bosco's proposal to his boys, in the language and ecclesial context of the 19th century.

      So how can we not be attentive so that it may also be a source of inspiration and a pastoral and spiritual proposal for our day?

      The centrality of the heart

      During his formation in Paris, what triggered Francis' conversion was an in-depth reading of the Song of Songs under the guidance of a Benedictine priest.

      For him it was a light that coloured his whole perception of both God and human life, both his individual journey and his relationships with any other person.

      The symbol he chose for the Visitation also shows how the heart is the most telling sign of his human and spiritual heritage: a heart pierced by two arrows: love of God and love of neighbour, a which would also be matched by the two treatises that condense all his thinking and teaching. The first – Treatise on the Love of God –  is the fruit of his patient work in the formation of the first group of Visitandines: these are the conferences edited and re-edited in book form. It was also the basis of the formation of Marie Margaret Alacoque who, 51 years after the death of Francis, received the revelations which opened the way to devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the Church.

      Only the index remains of the other treatise, the one on love of neighbour, due to Francis' premature death on 28 December 1622, at the age of 55.

      The humanism of Francis, his desire and ability to enter into dialogue with everyone, the great value he placed on friendship, was so important for personal accompaniment in the way Don Bosco would interpret it... everything is built on the solid foundations of the heart, just as Francis lived it.

      Between providence and loving-kindness

      Two reflections of his way of feeling God's heart and opening his heart to his brothers and sisters, intimately related to one another, are his sense of Providence and his way of approaching and interacting with each person, in other words his proverbial gentleness or loving-kindness.

      Trust in Providence has roots that come from his formation in Paris and Padua: his “holy indifference”: I trust God's heart unreservedly, and this disposes me to embrace whatever the sequence of events and circumstances presents me with day by day. I have “nothing to ask and nothing to refuse” with respect to what I know is in God's hands in every situation. Paul was thinking similarly when he wrote to the Romans: “We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn within a large family” (Rom 8:28-29).

      Gentleness of heart when dealing with one's neighbour, even when that neighbour is unfriendly or anything but pleasant as a character, is a reflection of the same trust before it is a simple trait, this time trust in the human heart, always open to God's action and always destined for the fullness of life. Gentleness and loving-kindness are missionary approaches, aimed at facilitating as much as possible in every circumstance and situation this encounter between grace and freedom in the hearts of those before me. It is not, then, just a question of good manners.

      If we think of the way in which Don Bosco reinterpreted this loving-kindness in his educational system, we understand how profound are the motivations on which it is nourished, just as it was for St Francis de Sales.

      Practical training in the mission in the Chablais, and Don Bosco’s Da mihi animas

      The tough experience of evangelisation in the Chablais between 1593 (his address as Provost) and 1596 (Christmas Masses at Thonon) is where the mission set the concrete tone for his whole life. It was extremely difficult (“here everyone has insults on their lips and stones in their hands”) but it was a crisis that brought growth and transformed the missionary in the first place, even before it did so for his beneficiaries.

      It is also very interesting to read those years as a Eucharistic pedagogy. The visible Eucharist, celebrated with a large crowd, carried in procession... after years of emptiness (Christmas 1596...), became the point of arrival after going through a long desert, where he was the one who lived from the Eucharist and became its presence in a hidden way among the people who were previously hostile and whom he approached and made friends with, one by one.

      Bearing in mind that our Salesian presences are for the most part among non-Catholics, this Eucharistic spirituality becomes prophetic: from within the missionary it reaches out with great patience and perseverance to those to whom it is sent, without renouncing explicit proclamation but knowing how to wait for God's long time, and not waiting for the faithful to fill the church but mixing with the flock wherever and however it may be...

      And with the Eucharist, and on the same wavelength, is the centrality of the cross and confidence in Mary.

      All this speaks to us of the educative and evangelising passion of Don Bosco who, in the presence of the Lord in the Eucharist and the strong presence of Mary in the life of the Oratory, in the midst of his boys, found the daily strength to realise the Da mihi animas, cetera tolle.

      But how do we communicate?

      Francis de Sales is the patron saint of journalists. His charism as a communicator is worth grasping, where there is a splendid agreement between love and interest in reflection, culture, humanism in its most beautiful expressions on the one hand, to be promoted, encouraged, harmonised by creating and fostering dialogue between those who are more capable and richer in these fields and, on the other, Francis de Sales as the master of communication for everyone, a great disseminator given the means and circumstances in which he lived. It is enough to think of the enormous number of letters in which a significant part of his apostolate as bishop and saint was condensed.

      In this too we have a disciple in Don Bosco who follows his master's zeal, with the new means at his disposal (the popular “mass” press): 318 published works of Don Bosco in 40 years... on average about one every two months. And at the same time it is a message for us of the utmost relevance and a real challenge in today's world where communication is at the centre of reality.

      Francis de Sales in Don Bosco's way of accompanying young people: charisms flourish and bear fruit in each other

      There is a true “communion of saints” within the educational and spiritual art of Don Bosco, which did not come from nothing, but was nourished by deep roots, the work of the Spirit in the history of the Church that preceded him. It is neither an addition nor a repetition: it is rather a new flourishing and bearing of fruit that feeds on the work of the Spirit that vivified the Church with Francis of Assisi and Ignatius, with Dominic and Teresa of Avila.

      A fine proposal for the Church today, and certainly for the Salesian Family of Don Bosco, is rightly that of growing in the art of accompanying the journey of faith, especially of so many boys, girls and young men of the world who do not know God, and who at the same time hunger and thirst for him often without knowing it. It is very "Salesian" to feel and truly believe that each person needs “a friend of the soul” in whom to find advice, help, guidance and friendship.

      I would like to conclude these succinct outlines, around which the Strenna for 2022 for the whole Salesian Family of Don Bosco around the world will be able to develop, with the invitation that Pope Benedict XVI addresses to us at the end of his General Audience, asking us, in a “spirit of freedom”, to follow the exemplary witness of St Francis de Sales, a true example of the Christian humanism that makes us feel that only in God do we find the satisfaction of the desire and nostalgia we feel for Him: “Dear brothers and sisters, in an age such as ours that seeks freedom, even with violence and unrest, the timeliness of this great teacher of spirituality and peace who gave his followers the “spirit of freedom”, the true spirit, St Francis de Sales is an exemplary witness of Christian humanism; with his familiar style, with words which at times have a poetic touch, he reminds us that human beings have planted in their innermost depths the longing for God and that in him alone can they find true joy and the most complete fulfilment.”

      Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, SDB, Rector Major

      • STRENNA
      • Rettor Maggiore
        Virginia Nitto

        Vietnam - Salesian parishes become "transit stations of love"

        1 week 5 days ago

        (ANS - Ho Chi Minh) - Several Salesian parishes in the city of Ho Chi Minh have become "transit stations of love" during the Covid-19 epidemic that has returned to hit the city in recent weeks.

        Starting 9 July, when a special quarantine order was issued in Ho Chi Minh, the Salesian priests and younger confreres of the Rinaldi theologate community have brought drinking water to supply families with the support of young migrants and the Pastoral Council of the Don Bosco Xuan Hiep parish. Three large water tanks were transported to isolated areas. The families then took the water from the tanks, transferring it to special containers. In addition to providing water, basic necessities were also distributed. Other Salesian parishes in Ho Chi Minh, such as Ben Cat and Ba Thon, have also been doing the same for some weeks.

        The post-novitiate Salesians in the city of Da Lat and in the communities of K'Long contacted some garden owners to collect free vegetables and send them to Ho Chi Minh with the help of young people and others. So far many vegetables have been sent from Da Lat and K'Long, and the community of the Theologate and the parish of Xuan Hiep are dividing them to send them to people in need.

        The people in quarantine in the city are mostly workers. When the entire agglomeration was blocked, their work and their life suffered greatly. For this reason, Don Bosco Xuan Hiep and the other parishes are receiving support from many benefactors and are becoming a "transit station", from which concrete help goes to all these needy.

        The pandemic situation in Vietnam remains very serious. According to the statistics of the Ministry of Health, in fact, from 27 April to today, the number of infections from Covid-19 in Vietnam is 59,165 and Ho Chi Minh is the place with the highest rate of infection. Over the past week, Ho Chi Minh has registered between 1,000 and 5,000 new cases every day. For this the city has issued a special quarantine order from 9 July. Traditional markets are temporarily closed and all entry and exit from the city are tightly controlled. Many workers and poor people are in extremely difficult situations.

        In light of this situation, the Archdiocese of Saigon sent a letter inviting the religious of the Congregations and Orders present in Ho Chi Minh to volunteer, especially to help the health sector. There are already 531 religious registered to participate. They will be trained, vaccinated before working in hospitals and health facilities.

        {gallery}Aiuti a Ho Chi Minh{/gallery}

        • VIE VIETNAM
        • Coronavirus
          Virginia Nitto

          Poland - In Oświęcim, a series of concerts entitled "Music in the style of Don Bosco"

          1 week 6 days ago

          (ANS - Oświęcim) - On 2 July, a series of concerts entitled "Boskie Granie" - literally Divine Play in Polish -, but also known as "Music in the style of Don Bosco" began in the city of Oświęcim. The latter are organized by the Salesians and supported by the City of Oświęcim.

          "Music in the style of Don Bosco" is an initiative that has been taking place for 3 years, and constitutes a series of concerts and theatrical performances that take place every Friday. It is a proposal addressed to citizens and tourists and, above all, to young artists, who thus have a chance to perform on a professional stage.

          On Friday 2 July, the first group, the "Studio Wokalne Voicesing", performed on the stage located in the square of St Hyacinth of the Salesian Institute before the chapel of the same name. All viewers were amazed by their voices. Subsequently, the group offered the audience a surprise: a young artist, Joasia, made her debut on stage with a song of her own and the audience rewarded her with much applause.

          On the following Friday, other very young artists were also very much appreciated, artists who are developing their vocal and artistic skills at the Cultural Center in Oświęcim-Zasole, not far from the Auschwitz concentration camp, where the Salesian parish is also located.

          On July 16 it was Skawina group "Tanto", and next Friday the other young artists will perform: Nel Stojanov, Milan Stojanov, Julia Byrska, Wiktoria Kania, Antonia Starzyk, Elena Kozłowska and Julia Byrska (duet), Wiktoria Kliś, Jan Łukowicz, Tatiana Ignaczak, Aleksandra Chrapek and Hania Irlik.

          Fr Dariusz Bartocha, Director of the Salesian Institute in Oświęcim, explains this initiative as follows: “Boskie Granie was initially called 'Summer Music Scene', but the current name was adopted very quickly. The initiative is, in a certain sense, a continuation of the Thursday concerts organized by the Oratory of St John Bosco since 2014. The idea was born during a telephone conversation with Aleksandra Fleszar, a young artist. Firstly, it had to be an opportunity for the young bands to perform and, secondly, to give joy to citizens and tourists. And so every Friday evening in the summer there is a concert or a performance. The event was never stopped either by the rain, even before we bought the roof of the stage, nor by the pandemic, nor by other circumstances," he says.

          These meetings offer unforgettable musical sensations, emotions, admiration and stimulate a reflection on everything that is born in the heart of man when he meets art. The proposal of beauty alongside the sacred, of culture alongside religion, is absolutely necessary for everyone, especially today, when many of us close ourselves to transcendence.

          This project is carried out by the Salesians of Don Bosco of Oświęcim and by the Salesian Past Pupils and is co-financed by the Salesian Society and the Municipality of Oświęcim.

          {gallery}Polonia - Musica nello stile di Don Bosco{/gallery}

          • Polonia
            Virginia Nitto

            South Korea - A special mission territory: North Korea

            1 week 6 days ago
            South Korea - A special mission territory: North Korea

            (ANS - Seoul) - 68 years after the end of the Korean War (1950-1953) and the "two Koreas" are still deeply divided. However, the Catholic Church of South Korea strives to act as a bridge and to contribute in every possible way to the evangelization of the brothers and sisters of the North. There is currently only one "official" place of Catholic worship in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, with no resident Catholic priests.

            In the 169th issue of the Korean Salesian Bulletin shines a reflection and a rather interesting challenge, written by the Provincial Delegate for missionary animation. Since the article is published in Korean, a brief summary is provided below:

            It is surprising to know that up to now about 20 Korean Salesians of Don Bosco have been sent on missions to the 4 continents: Africa, Europe, Asia and Oceania. Even though not many of them have already returned home, they still carry with them their missionary experience, their dream and their missionary zeal in their "original mission".

            Reflecting on Don Bosco's last missionary dream (1886) with the line “from Valparaiso to Beijing”, attention is drawn to the mission in North East Asia and in particular to North Korea. Although North Korea as a country is currently called "the most isolated hermit kingdom", Christians in South Korea have been preparing for their evangelization for many years.

            Since 2010, a South Korean-based civil foundation called "Bom" (Korean for "spring") has been engaging in a joint venture with "Caritas Germany" to develop fairly effective professional support for the North Korean population. It is not based only on humanitarian aid, but also on the paradigm of 'boosting' North Korea's health services. Their partner is in fact the Ministry of Health of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. Since 2010, a few million children have received their vaccine against hepatitis B and other frequent diseases and their activities are linked to 11 hygiene centers.

            Above all thanks to frequent dialogue and some workshops in Germany organized by Caritas, mutual understanding is growing.

            And what about the formation of new missionaries for the countries of Northeast Asia? Because of the common suspicion towards the clergy or religious of the Catholic Church, the future focus of this mission could be a solid formation of lay missionaries, with due specialization and deep evangelical and spiritual motivations.

            Currently there are already around 30,000 North Korean refugees living in the South and many Christian and ordinary civil society NGOs are involved in their support in different ways. Even greater action of reciprocal exchange and solidarity with these organizations can be explored by the Salesian Family.

            • KOR KOREA
              Virginia Nitto

              Italy - Fraternity and gratitude: FMA and SDB General Councils meet

              1 week 6 days ago
              Italy - Fraternity and gratitude: FMA and SDB General Councils meet

              (ANS - Rome) - Yesterday, 21 July 2021, at the Generalate of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians in Rome (RCG), the members of the FMA and SDB General Councils met. It was the first time since the General Chapter of the Salesians which ended in March 2020. A moment of fraternity and mutual knowledge on the eve of the celebration of the 24th General Chapter of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians.

              It was actually a family experience. This was felt and seen in and by many signs: from the joyful welcome, to the Celebration of the Eucharist with the two Councils united, at the time of the dinner together, to the various greetings and gifts exchanged.

              The Eucharist was presided by the Rector Major Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, concelebrated by all the confreres and animated by the Councilors, and offered for the GC XXIV of the FMA; it made it possible to reciprocally express thanks for the gift of communion and fraternity, characteristics of Salesian spirituality.

              In his homily, the Rector Major invited us to reflect on the fact that the whole history of salvation is played on faith: "Every day we see the fruits of life of our realities, a sign that God works miracles of salvation, transformation and conversion. The true renewal of the Institute and of the Congregation depends on faith and our conversion in faith. It is authentic faith that regenerates our mission with young people. 'Lord, increase our faith'! The celebration of the Chapter will be an experience of the Holy Spirit, and it will be our faith that will make us repeat: 'Lord, may everything you want be fulfilled in me.' When we leave it to God to be God then we live in faith, joy and hope.”

              Other beautiful moments of the evening were the dinner together, the mutual presentations, the song to Mother Mazzarello, composed and performed by Fr Gildasio Dos Santos Mendes, Councilor for Social Communication, the "good night" of the Rector Major and his expressions of fraternity towards the Mother and the FMA Institute which is preparing for the General Chapter. He also gave updates on the preparation of the "Don Bosco House Museum" in Turin, which will be enriched by significant documentation on all the groups of the Salesian Family and on each of the Saints and Blesseds who are the most beautiful face of the great Salesian Family. The evening ended with the exchange of gifts and the words of the Mother who thanked for the journey lived together in synodality, hoping that it will continue as a sign of communion of the Congregation of the Salesians of Don Bosco and of the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, united by the same charism, a gift for young people from all over the world.


              {gallery}Incontro SDB e FMA{/gallery}

              • FMA Figlie di Maria Ausiliatrice
              • SDB
              • Rettor Maggiore
                Virginia Nitto

                Lebanon - Salesian oratory is an oasis of peace in context of crisis

                2 weeks ago
                Lebanon - Salesian oratory is an oasis of peace in context of crisis

                (ANS - El-Houssoun) - Organized by the Salesians in Lebanon, the Youth South Camp in the mountain house of El-Houssoun (Byblos district) is increasingly revealing itself to be an oasis of peace, serenity and conviviality in what is a dramatic social, political and economic context, one that is unprecedented in the centennial history of modern Lebanon.

                About 800 boys and girls are involved: Lebanese, Syrian and Iraqi, with dozens of volunteer animators, adequately trained. Syrians and Iraqis are all refugees, residing in Lebanon for several years: Syrians are waiting to be able to return to their country, while Iraqis are waiting to be welcomed in a third country. While the Syrians are all Muslims and the Iraqis Christians, the Lebanese are mixed, but the vast majority are Christians, in accordance with the area's demographics and live within a radius of 10-15 km from the Salesian center. Syrian children also reside in the area; Iraqis, on the other hand, reside in the suburbs of Beirut, more than 40 km away. For all of them, transportation is guaranteed, as well as the daily distribution of a sandwich and refreshments.

                Never had the Salesian house in El-Houssoun known such a crowded Summer Camp, even if the daily attendance is divided into the days of the week according to the nationality and age of the participants (from 6 to 15 years).

                A collective or group educational and recreational program forms the core, flanked by moments of free playful activities, especially sports.

                “It's impressive to see the joy that shines on the faces of children and adolescents and the enthusiasm they put into participating in the various activities offered,” they write from the Oratory. “Even Muslim girls who wear the veil put aside their traditional reserve to leave involve the atmosphere that surrounds them,” they add. All this strongly contrasts with the climate currently dominant in the country: mistrust, poverty and, not infrequently, misery, unemployment, galloping devaluation of the Lebanese pound, instability and sometimes insecurity, lack of basic products, medicines and the most basic social services. From day to day, in a crisis that has lasted for two years, aggravated by the terrible explosion in the port of Beirut (4 August 2020), there is no glimmer of light.

                Sowing joy, trust and giving hope, as well as providing concrete help, remains the primary objective of and for the children of Don Bosco in the current situation in Lebanon. The day is expected when the light shall eventually triumph and then Lebanon will once again become the "message country" described by Pope Saint John Paul II.

                {gallery}Libano - Estate Ragazzi{/gallery}

                • Libano
                • Estate Ragazzi
                  Virginia Nitto

                  Ethiopia - Solidarity and sport, Fiona May's bond with the missions

                  2 weeks ago
                  Ethiopia - Solidarity and sport, Fiona May's bond with the missions

                  (ANS - Addis Abeba) - Children, teens, the young need to be given ample freedom to play, run, jump and play sports. The Salesian missionaries are well aware of this in 134 countries of the world, people who bring forth the preventive system of Don Bosco, the Salesian educational method that, among its many applications, places activities related to education and those related to sharing moments of play and sports on the same level, effective means to promote physical and spiritual health, to promote effort and commitment on various fronts, to foster balanced growth and sociality.

                  Educating is not just transferring notions and educating: educating is awakening, stimulating, promoting. Today, in the thousands of missions around the world, the Salesian educational system accustoms the youngest to confront each other and to grow, it helps them to read themselves to face their future in a determined way that is far from poverty, from the street, from hunger.

                  As a sportswoman, former world long jump champion, mother of two talented young athletes, Fiona May, testimonial of the Salesian Mission Office of Turin Missioni Don Bosco, has for years believed in sport as a fundamental tool for the growth of girls and boys. Sport for Fiona: “means challenging oneself and respecting others, it means commitment and determination, having team spirit, ability to relate and manage defeat.”

                  And it is with these words and this spirit that a year and a half ago the testimonial of Missioni Don Bosco chose to combine solidarity and sport. She decided to leave for her first missionary journey to Mekanissa, a Salesian mission in the poor neighborhood of Addis Ababa. There, in the Don Bosco Center, a home for over 400 street children, between a visit, a lesson with the children, a chat with Father Angelo Regazzo, a Salesian missionary, Fiona played with dozens of young people from the Center, she taught them the basics of long jump, followed their days in sports and recreation.

                  In that place - a Center that boasts 30 years of activity, a home designed to accompany the poorest and most lonely children - Fiona May discovered firsthand the great program of the Salesian Family across the globe. A program consisting of many projects for education, vocational training, reception and promotion of women, projects to protect the rights of children, which Fiona supports with her commitment. Soon, then, she will return to visit these places in person, after her parenthesis as an envoy to Tokyo for the 2020-2021 Olympic Games. A symbol, the latter, of world sport, a sporting event that since 1896 (the first Olympics of the modern era) has promoted non-discrimination, equality and solidarity, which favors the advent of a peaceful society and respect for principles universal fundamental ethics.

                  • Etiopia
                  • Missioni Don Bosco
                    Virginia Nitto

                    Germany - Aid from Salesians after dramatic floods

                    2 weeks ago
                    Germany - Aid from Salesians after dramatic floods

                    (ANS - Trier) - After several days marked by heavy rains, which caused dramatic floods, the situation is still very serious in some areas of western Germany. As of this weekend, the death toll has risen to over 150 and scores of people are still missing. Many had to leave their homes and spent the night outdoors. Some structures of the Salesians of Don Bosco were hit by the floods and numerous properties were damaged.

                    An assistance group in the city of Trier was evacuated due to the floods. The group, which looks after children between the ages of six and twelve, is currently housed in the main house of “Don Bosco Helenenberg”. Until now, it is still unclear when they will be able to return to their rooms.

                    The rain also flooded the cellar in Trier. "Bicycles, therapeutic toys, the pool table and table soccer, everything we had was destroyed," said Sieglinde Schmitz, director of "Don Bosco Helenenberg". Now, the power supply will have to be fixed, the heating system carefully controlled, as well as all the appliances. Everyone who can is helping with the cleanup. "Many teenagers and other volunteers are clearing pipes clogged with mud with their hands," says Sieglinde Schmitz proudly.

                    “Don Bosco Helenenberg” and “Don Bosco Trier” thus try to help as much as possible. Teachers and students from the Valdocco school are giving relief to the kindergarten in Welschbillig, while the monastery shop and the Helenenberg bakery have provided meals, especially bread, slices of cake and coffee.

                    Less serious was the situation at the "Don Bosco Jünkerath" work, which had only a power outage and some problems with the telephone connection and access to the Internet. Because of their higher position they didn't have much difficulty. So the team working there wants to offer accommodation facilities to families with children. It is possible to ask “Don Bosco Jünkerath” for help.

                    In the region of Cologne, Bonn, Jünkerath, Helenenberg and Trier, the numerous employees who work for the Salesians are worried about the huge losses they have suffered. Their homes are mostly flooded, their properties are damaged and many families find it impossible to return to their homes.

                    “Our thoughts are with them and with all the other people affected by the flood,” they write from Germany, inviting them to pray for all those involved in this terrible disaster.

                    {gallery}Alluvioni Germania{/gallery}

                    • GER GERMANIA
                    • Salesiani
                      Virginia Nitto

                      Italy - New Rector of Turin's Basilica of Mary Help of Christians appointed

                      2 weeks 1 day ago
                      Italy - New Rector of Turin's Basilica of Mary Help of Christians appointed

                      (ANS - Turin) - Fr Michele Viviano, from the "San Paolo" Province of Italy - Sicily (ISI), will be the new Rector of the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians in Turin. As announced by the Vicar of the Rector Major, Fr Stefano Martoglio, Fr Viviano will be temporarily transferred to the Province of Italy, Piedmont and Valle d'Aosta (ICP), where he will hold the role of Rector of the Basilica starting from 1 September 2021, until August 31, 2024.

                      Born in 1962 in San Cataldo, in the province of Caltanissetta, Fr Viviano attended the Novitiate in the city of Lanuvio, in the province of Rome, where he made his first profession in 1979. In June 1991 he then received the priestly ordination in his home town.

                      Over the years he has held numerous positions, including Councilor at the "San Giuseppe Cafasso" community of the UPS, from 1996 to 1997. Back in Sicily, he was Councilor at the "San Tommaso" community of Messina and then Vicar in "San Luigi", also in Messina. In 2013 he was back in Rome, as a Councilor at the work of San Callisto.

                      From 2016 he returned to Sicily again where he held other positions, including that of Provincial Delegate for the Salesian Family, until his recent appointment as Rector of the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians. In the meantime, Fr Viviano will continue to be a teacher at the “San Tommaso” Theological Center in Messina.

                      The community of San Gregorio welcomed the new appointment of Fr Viviano with great joy. “Our Dear Fr Michele Viviano - wrote the Salesian Cooperators of San Gregorio - will continue his journey always aimed at obedience and for the good of the whole Salesian Family. You have always been an example of life for all of us.”

                        Virginia Nitto

                        UN - Salesian voices resound once again at the United Nations

                        2 weeks 1 day ago
                        UN - Salesian voices resound once again at the United Nations

                        (ANS - New York) - For the second time in less than a week, Salesian voices were heard once again at the United Nations High-Level Political Forum (HLPF). Sister Alessandra Smerilli, FMA, undersecretary at the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, and Fr André Mytilien, SDB, of Haiti were both on the panel of one of the official side events, which took place last 12 July.

                        The event, titled "Faith Without Borders: Partnerships of Governments and Catholic Organizations to Reduce Inequalities for the Post-COVID Era in Spain and Beyond", was jointly organized by the New York-based “Justice Coalition of Religious” and REDES Spain (Red de entidades para el Desarrollo Solidario - Network of entities for solidarity development).

                        At the beginning of the year, REDES, through Angel Gudiña of "Misiones Salesianas" had contacted Fr Thomas Pallithanam, the representative of the Salesian Missions at the UN, to organize a side event during the HLPF 2021. Rigorous and efficient planning made this event possible. This initiative also opened the door to future collaborations for joint advocacy initiatives.

                        Sister Alessandra Smerilli, speaking on behalf of the Dicastery of the Holy See for the Promotion of Integral Human Development, reiterated the Pope's message not to limit ourselves to preparing for the future, but to prepare the future itself. In the Commission, divided into 5 workflows, Sister Smerilli oversaw the workflow and illustrated research and studies on the current Covid-19 pandemic and all related issues. There were discussions on the need to think about a post-Covid-19 society and world, especially in the areas of ecology, economics, work, health, politics, communications and security.

                        Later, Fr André Mytilien presented the Salesians' project entitled: "Creation & adaptation of academic & skills training content for distance training during the pandemic". This program was developed using a training platform designed with the support of the Spanish National Development Agency (AECID) and the Madrid Regional Government.

                        His presentation showed how the Sustainable Development Goals have all been addressed continuously and effectively through this project. In particular, he referred to objective number 4 (equitable, inclusive quality education), 8 (promote decent work, sustainable economic growth) and 17 (global partnership to achieve objectives).

                        The event saw large virtual participation, with over 130 spectators. Salesian involvement was strengthened by the presence of various members of the Salesian Family at the event, such as Fr Tim Zak, SUE Provincial, and Renato Cursi, Executive Secretary of “Don Bosco International”.

                        {gallery}ONU Forum Alto Livello{/gallery}

                        • ONU
                          Virginia Nitto

                          India - Annual meeting of “BOSCOM” executive body

                          2 weeks 1 day ago
                          India - Annual meeting of “BOSCOM” executive body

                          (ANS - Bangalore) - The 2021-22 annual meeting of the executive body of "BOSCOM", the network of social communication networks of the Conference of Salesian Provinces of South Asia, took place online on 16 and 17 July.

                          The meeting was also attended by Fr Stanley Kozhichira, President of SIGNIS India, who, after expressing appreciation for the structure, the staff and the possession of the best means, underlined that the passion for content concerning Christ should guide all the involvement of the media. “People who have passion can reach other people, regardless of their financial condition,” said Fr Kozhichira as he presented participants with options for creating a financially self-sustainable media “ministry”.

                          The meeting was attended by numerous delegates from 12 Salesian Provinces, from the Conference of Salesian Provinces of the South Asia Region (SPCSA) and other media officials. The event's organization is due to Fr Ernest Rosario, delegate of "BOSCOM". The special guest was Fr David Arokiam, CEO of Madha TV, who spoke about the media's power in promoting the faith. He also emphasized that the media play a vital role in breaking all barriers and connecting everyone, even if isolated during a pandemic.

                          In his inaugural note, Fr Kochamkunnel Jose - better known as KM Jose - Provincial of the "St Thomas Apostle" Province of India-Chennai (INM) and head of "BOSCOM", invited everyone to proclaim Christ through audiovisual platforms and to support Don Bosco in and acrosss the world.

                          Finally, Fr Harris Pakkam, Director of ANS and central coordinator of the “Salesian School of Social Communication” (SSCS) for South Asia, presented the SSCS and its fundamental role in the media formation of Salesians all over the world. The members of “BOSCOM” then discussed at length the program of the SSCS, as foreseen by the Department of Social Communication. Finally, Fr Pakkam explained the significance of the Don Bosco Global Youth Film Festival (DBGYFF), a worldwide Salesian film festival that will take place over two days - 18 and 19 November 2021 - with the theme "Moved by hope", in pandemic times.

                          • BOSCOM
                          • India
                            Virginia Nitto

                            Malta - Past Pupils launch project to open accommodations for young and old

                            2 weeks 1 day ago
                            Malta - Past Pupils launch project to open accommodations for young and old

                            (ANS - Valletta) - The Salesian Past Pupils of Malta have signed an agreement with the government to manage an intergenerational project that provides social and economic housing for the elderly and young people. The new residence, located in the capital Valletta, has undergone a major renovation with the use of 1.6 million euros through EU funds.

                            Speaking to ANS, Bryan Magro, the president of the Maltese National Federation of Past Pupils, said: "This innovative project emphasizes community values ​​and social inclusion through the bond between young and old, who will live together in a block of 23 apartments." 

                            After the successful opening of the "Alberto Marvelli" Residence and the launch of the "Mentorpower" program for homeless young people and those without the support of a family, the Maltese Past Pupils Federation is extending its social work programs through a new initiative that is guided by the values ​​of social inclusion. In fact, this project aims to tackle the scourge of loneliness experienced by both the elderly and young people who live alone.

                            In this new residence, each guest will have their own apartment and the Maltese Federation will organize learning, cultural and social activities to bring seniors and young people together. All residents will help each other to overcome their daily challenges and to build a community within which one can live in what is a family atmosphere.

                            The Maltese Federation shall supervise and mentor homeless youth to help them reintegrate into society. As part of their program, they will be offered a few hours of volunteer work to support their elderly neighbors.

                            Social Housing Minister Roderick Galdes said this is more than just a housing project, as it provides residents with the tools and services they need to address their social needs. Finally, he added: "Thanks to the Salesians of Don Bosco and other entities, the residents will contribute to the community and help each other to grow and solve their problems."

                            {gallery}Alloggio Malta{/gallery}

                            • Malta
                            • Exallievi
                              Virginia Nitto

                              RMG - “Don Bosco Global Youth Film Festival”: it's your festival!

                              2 weeks 2 days ago
                              RMG - “Don Bosco Global Youth Film Festival”: it's your festival!

                              (ANS - Rome) - A worldwide Salesian film festival, a unique project, first of its kind to involve young people globally to create short films on the theme of hope, is indeed a great initiative that fosters youth leadership, creative engagement, artistic sharing and values. This “Don Bosco Global Youth Film Festival” (DBGYFF), is scheduled to take place on 18 and 19 November 2021, in hundreds of locations in 134 countries around the world, in all time zones.

                              It will be a true and proper "festival of films" for young people, by young people and with young people. Any youth under the age of 30 can engage and participate, regardless of their religion or their connection with the Salesian presences - although obviously, it is primarily for these young people the maximum possible participation is offered.

                              The idea of ​​a world festival capable of involving thousands and thousands of young people from all over the world comes directly from the Rector Major of the Salesians, Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, who had already started conceiving this idea in his previous term. He had felt it very meaningful and relevant for the young people, who during this pandemic were bogged down, and were in need to express their creative energy which could positively influence the whole world.  

                              The festival, in fact, will have as its theme, the motto of the Strenna of the Rector Major for 2021, "Moved by Hope", and includes three categories to which young people from all over the world can submit their works: short films, animated videos and musical videos.

                              To foster and encourage greater participation, the Dicastery for Social Communication has also provided very substantial prizes for the winners, totaling a sum of 100,000 euros. The winners will be decided based on the three categories, by a group of jury comprising of prominent figures from the world of cinema, youth icons, and authorities from the Salesian world.

                              Fr. Gildasio Mendes, the General Councilor for Social Communication affirmed, “It's an initiative that fulfills very well the numerous objectives of the Program of our Department for this six-year period. It is a proposal of communication from an educational pastoral perspective, a way of being actively present in the digital world with a clear Salesian identity, announcing the Good News and the message of the Strenna 2021. Furthermore, it will promote educational and creative dialogue to evangelize young people in their digital habitat, promote the protagonism of young people in building a better world, and develop synergies between Salesians and young people both locally and globally.”

                              It is infact an interesting initiative, as it will involve the same young people from our Salesian institutions to be "ambassadors of hope", accompanying them to promote the festival with their friends and peers and thus contribute to sharing the message of hope, this film festival wants to offer.

                              The DBGYFF Festival director, Fr. Harris Pakkam stated “DBGYFF is truly the first of its kind and a world-class film fiesta offered to young filmmakers to express their talents and contribute to the common good.” He moreover affirmed, “we want to offer them an attractive meeting point, to ensure that young minds are educated, entertained and empowered to understand and contribute to the world and help them live well. The Youth can 'set the world on fire with hope' with a spark that they themselves can instill, develop, defend and promote in this Post-pandemic context.”

                              This festival is an international venture and the role of the web platform is central and available in five languages ​​(English, Italian, Spanish, French and Portuguese), with all the necessary information and resources one may need. The contestant or sender can upload the video, monitor the progress, check the activities of the various juries, and at the end also view all the videos that have been shortlisted for the screening of the festival.  

                              DBGYFF, aims to become an annual feature and intends to be a film festival of global significance and a media event reaching out to a maximum audience. All those who wish to participate in DBGYFF can upload their work between 24 July and 30 September, 2021.


                              • RMG CASA GENERALIZIA
                              • Strenna 2021
                              • Rettor Maggiore
                                Virginia Nitto

                                Italy - Rector Major in Foggia to inaugurate new Housing Community for minors at risk "Casa Gio"

                                2 weeks 2 days ago

                                (ANS - Foggia) - At the Salesian house "Sacred Heart of Jesus" in Foggia, on Saturday 17 July, the Southern Salesian Province (IME) inaugurated "Casa Gio", the new Housing Community for minors in the presence and with the blessing of the Rector Major, Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, accompanied by three General Councilors: the Councilor for the Mediterranean Region, Fr Juan Carlos Pérez Godoy, the Councilor for the Interamerica Region, Fr Hugo Orozco, and the Regional Councilor for Central Europe and North, Fr Roman Jachimowicz.

                                The Rector Major had already been in Foggia in 2018 for the celebrations of the fiftieth year of the Salesian presence. This time he was welcomed by a delegation from the community who, together with Fr Angelo Santorsola, Provincial of Southern Italy (IME), and Fr Gino Cella, the Director of the Salesian house, led him to the Candelaro district to discover the urban and social conditions in which the housing community arises. The network of structures that work to deal with the educational emergencies of the younger generations was also presented. The Rector Major, in particular, was welcomed with songs to Don Bosco sung by the children of the "Sorriso del sole" kindergarten and visited a school complex where the educational garden workshops of the ReGenerAzioni project are held (a Salesian project selected by Social Enterprise "con I Bambini, with Children" as part of the Fund for contrasting Educational Poverty).

                                In the afternoon, about 40 young people and social workers from the seven IME family homes in Puglia and Campania, managed by the association "Piccoli passi grandi sogni aps - Small steps, big dreams", reached the work of Foggia to get to know today's Don Bosco "in the flesh". A sincere, intense meeting with familiar tones took place in the living area of ​​the new Housing Community. The president, Fr Antonio Carbone, mediated between Fr Ángel Fernández Artime and the children, and presented the realities managed by the association.

                                “In each structure about 8 minors from different backgrounds are welcomed,” explained Fr Carbone. “From 2007 to today, we have taken care of about 500 minors entrusted by the Territorial Education Services and Juvenile Justice Centers. We are happy to inaugurate a new community, even if as Salesians we would like every child to be able to experience the warmth of his own family in his home of origin.”

                                Ms. Patrizia, representing the social workers of the communities who, even in the most difficult period of the lockdown, continued to be at the side of every minor entrusted to them, underlined: "What we've received, what we are donating and what the Salesians in the oratory have taught us has become for us a vocation, a profession.”

                                Fr Ángel Fernández Artime concludes speaking to the hearts of the young people: “We cannot fail to imagine the Salesian presence in the world without a Pinardi House like in Valdocco, to be close to young people who have no one and are without any possibilities. For each of you, the most difficult situation has passe; it's time to write a new beautiful page in your life.”

                                Afterwards, the Pastoral Educational Community experienced the Eucharistic Celebration, presided over by the Rector Major, in the Salesian parish "Sacred Heart of Jesus", and then a moment of prayer in the oratory with the official blessing of the people and the "walls" of the Accommodation Community “Casa Gio” by the Rector Major himself.

                                {gallery}Inaugurazione Casa Gio{/gallery}

                                • Italia
                                • IME ITALIA MERIDIONALE
                                  Virginia Nitto

                                  RMG - Youth Ministry and Family in the year of "Amoris Laetitia"

                                  2 weeks 2 days ago

                                  (ANS - Rome) - Starting September, the pamphlet "Youth Ministry and the Family" will be available to Provincials, Delegates for Youth Ministry and all pastoral workers in the various environments. It was produced in six languages ​​(French, English, Italian, Spanish, Polish, Portuguese) and will be accessible in electronic and printed format. It is the result of work the Salesian Youth Ministry Sector has been carrying out for several months with the aim of increasing the synergy between youth and family ministries, and which integrates and updates the path started in 2014 and which has continued with the important International Youth and Family Pastoral Congress (Madrid, 2017). Furthermore, the publication coincides with an ecclesial event: on March 19, 2021, Pope Francis inaugurated the Year "Amoris Laetitia Family", 5 years after the publication of "Amoris Laetitia". It will end on 26 June 2022 on the occasion of the 10th World Meeting of Families in Rome with the Holy Father.

                                  Starting the last quarter of 2020, the Youth Ministry Sector has begun work on finding and analyzing all the material concerning the paths undertaken by the Congregation on this topic (meetings of delegates, documents of experts and contributions from the Congress). At the same time, the recent literature (following the publication of Amoris Laetitia) on the international scene, relating to the relationship between youth ministry and the family, was examined. At a later stage, a large group of people from the various regions was asked to send contributions and suggestions regarding the contents and valuable material was received. At the same time, the Rector Major and his Council studied the text in various working sessions, and then approved the final version and subsequent publication.

                                  The text is configured, in fact, as a synthetic and organic collection of the essentials that emerged during this rich and fruitful journey.

                                  These pages aim to highlight how the involvement and integration of these two realities (Salesian youth ministry and family) lead us to reflect together on the significance and needs that this double perspective entails for our educational and pastoral renewal.

                                  The recipients of this document are the Salesians of Don Bosco and all the pastoral workers who have responsibility for animating the various sectors and areas. Faced with the family situation we live today, in fact, the Salesians, with the Salesian Family, are called to make an educative pastoral proposal to accompany all the types of families that make up the EPC and all the young people.

                                  The text is made up of three parts; the first underscores the value of the family in the experience of Don Bosco and Valdocco, and then offers, in the second section, some reflections on the quality of the educational encounter and on the family spirit in the Preventive System. In the last chapter, the importance of the family itself is emphasized, its contribution to the ecosystem of the formation of young people, positively highlighting its contribution to the daily life of the Educational Pastoral Community (EPC).

                                  Some concrete indications for the Salesian EP projects are then presented.

                                  • RMG CASA GENERALIZIA
                                  • Pastorale Giovanile
                                    Virginia Nitto

                                    Belgium - Dramatic floods in Belgium: Salesian houses hit and mobilized

                                    2 weeks 2 days ago
                                    Belgium - Dramatic floods in Belgium: Salesian houses hit and mobilized

                                    (ANS - Liège) - Remouchamps, Verviers, Liège, Farnières (Vielsalm), Huy: Belgian territory was hit this week by dramatic floods, which caused 7 deaths and 100 people missing in the provinces of Liège and Namur, cities where the Salesian works and houses are numerous.

                                    In Remouchamps, which is located right next to the Amblève River, the “St. Joseph - St. Raphael” institute suffered serious damage, especially in the welding workshop with damage estimated at over 100,000 euros. Less damaged, the carpentry workshop, where less water entered. The gym, the hall, the refectory and the kitchen were also flooded. "The mud is the most serious factor. A team of about ten people took up the challenge of removing it and I was able to see the result of their efforts in the last two days," explained Fr Luc Herpoel, a Salesian from the Don Bosco community in Liege.

                                    The Don Bosco school in Verviers was also seriously damaged. In fact, all the machinery in the workshops has been lost. An appeal was therefore made for volunteers to help clear the area and clean up.

                                    At the spiritual center of Farnières, however, bad weather had no impact on the house. Thus, the community immediately mobilized to prepare meals for the victims of these serious floods and to host, within its premises, the families who have lost everything.

                                    The house of the Salesian sisters, in Notre-Dame-au-Bois, also suffered considerable damage, with the games room and storage totally flooded. "The water reached us up to mid-calf and so we had to leave," says Sister Joëlle Drouin. Fortunately, the games and other materials were stored on the shelves and can be recovered. However, some doors no longer close, they are swollen and damaged by water. The sisters, who welcomed 36 children for the activities during the torrential rains, said: "Everyone kept their spirits high. The animators were very creative and the children had a lot of fun. The parents, for their part, were happy to entrust their children to us, while they repaired the damage, especially to their farms,” adds Sister Joëlle.

                                    Finally, in Liège, no damage was reported in the whole house, which is located in the highest part of the city. "The young people were frightened and we received warning messages, urging us to leave the city. We reassured everyone, even if it was a difficult moment," continues Fr Luc. Then, on Thursday evening, the community hosted a person who was unable to return home due to rising waters.

                                    On Tuesday 20 July, a Mass will be celebrated in Liège, which Salesians will participate in, to commemorate those who died in the floods.

                                    • FRB FRANCIA BELGIO SUD
                                      Virginia Nitto

                                      Spain – Salesians organize summer activities for 13,000 children, adolescents and young people

                                      2 weeks 5 days ago
                                      Spain – Salesians organize summer activities for 13,000 children, adolescents and young people

                                      (ANS - Madrid) - After an intense and anomalous school year, thousands of children, adolescents and young people face the summer holidays with greater desire than ever to disconnect from routine. For them, the Salesians of Spain are organizing the activities of the Salesian Summer: 13,000 participants of various ages are expected, accompanied by about 1,400 animators and Salesians.

                                      Despite the limitations caused by the pandemic, the offer is broadbased and varied. Ordinary camps with overnight stays and urban camps are the main proposals. The goal is to create a lively atmosphere of conviviality through games, gymnastics, sports, educational activities, workshops, cultural visits, excursions into nature .... And specifically technological, linguistic immersion, work campuses and pilgrimage experiences along the Camino de Santiago were also organized.

                                      In addition to youth centers, Salesian social platforms develop activities for their target groups, such as camps, excursions, workshops and vocational training courses.

                                      This year, then, some of the training activities that were necessarily suspended last summer will be recovered, such as training courses for animators to obtain the titles of Supervisor or Director of Recreational Activities. 600 young animators will follow these courses to become a point of reference in their respective youth centers.

                                      The offer is completed with the spiritual exercises for young people of three different age groups. In Mohernando (Guadalajara), young people aged 19 to 23 will deepen their Salesian spirituality in the footsteps of Don Bosco and Mother Mazzarello; young people over 23, in Egino (Álava), will follow those focused on prayer; in the monastery of Buenafuente del Sistal (Guadalajara), instead, those interested in an experience of silence will converge to deepen their relationship with God and others.

                                      All the proposals of the Salesian Summer will be offered by adopting the anti-Covid-19 protocol (swab for the managers of each meeting and for the participants at the beginning of the activity, distribution of masks and disinfectants, capacity limits, safety distances. ..).

                                      The two Salesian Provinces in Spain then offer the teachers of their schools the opportunity to complete their formation during the holidays: 600 teachers from the "Spain-Mary Help of Christians" (SMX) Province have already taken part in the Summer School on topics such as the System Preventive, neuro-education and educational marketing. Another 400, also from SMX, attended sessions in Barcelona to improve learning processes in the classroom. While in the Province of "Spain-St James the Greater" (SSM) 43 new teachers have received training in the Salesian style.

                                      Finally, summer is a propitious time for the care and spiritual formation of the Sons of Don Bosco themselves. Two theological-pastoral updating meetings have also been convened to be held in Chipiona (July 19-24) and in Santiago de Compostela (July 22-24). The first will focus on the theme "The art of growing old", while the second will revolve around the theme "Rereading the Salesian charism today". While the new Directors of the Salesian houses will have a meeting in Santiago de Compostela in the first week of August to study the theme "The Salesian Director: father, teacher and spiritual guide".

                                      {gallery}Spagna - ER 2021{/gallery}

                                      • Spagna
                                      • SMX SPAGNA MARIA AUSILIATRICE
                                      • SSM SPAGNA SAN GIACOMO MAGGIORE
                                      • Estate Ragazzi
                                        Gian Francesco Romano

                                        India – Covid-19 in Bangalore addressed as mark of solidarity and dedication to others

                                        2 weeks 5 days ago
                                        India – Covid-19 in Bangalore addressed as mark of solidarity and dedication to others

                                        (ANS - Bangalore) - The "Sacred Heart" Salesian Province of India-Bangalore (INK), the Provincial Planning and Development Office (BREADS) and the Youth Commission of the Archdiocese of Bangalore, led by the Salesian, Fr Anil D'Sa, are continuing to work in unity of purpose and with a variety of initiatives to help the population affected by Covid-19 and its consequences. Here is an account of the work done in the last two weeks by the young volunteers under the guidance of Fr D’Sa, as well as the activities carried out by BREADS, directly and through the works of INK.

                                        At the “Don Bosco Degree College” in Chitradurga, a day of vaccinations was organized on 3 July. The same initiative in "drive-in" mode was carried out in collaboration with the Government of the Indian State of Kerala also at the Salesian house in Vaduthala, but in an ongoing form: started at the end of May, it is still t work with an average of about 100 people vaccinated per day and over 7,000 people have benefited so far.

                                        Furthermore, at the "Don Bosco" center in Vaduthala, students and staff of the Salesian institution are also dedicated to helping the elderly and needy people to book their vaccinations online.

                                        And while the "Don Bosco TEAM Covid" service of Kollam continues to receive praise for its service to the local fishing community, BREADS is committed to the packaging and shipping of individual protection kits (containing masks, disinfectants , thermometers, face shields and other essentials) to people in need in the Indian state of Karnataka, and in the distribution of medical kits for the treatment of Covid-19 to volunteers working on the front line and families infected with the coronavirus.

                                        The Salesian house in Bhadravati also distributed anti-Covid-19 health kits for residents of the “Siddhartha” Center for the Blind in Bhadravati, which hosts visually impaired people at various levels.

                                        And the administration of health kits was also carried out by the "Don Bosco" Agricultural and Rural Development Service in Mandya, aimed on this occasion to front-line volunteers, social workers and kindergarten teachers in the Mandya district; and by the Youth Commission of the Archdiocese of Bangalore itself, in favor of the young people of the city.

                                        Finally, it should be noted that the Help Desk for Migrants set up with the Salesian collaboration in Uppala, in the district of Kasaragod, State of Kerala, has organized a vaccination camp for Indian internal migrants which benefited 189 people.

                                        {gallery}INK - Attivita BREADS fine giugno e inizio luglio 2021{/gallery}

                                        • India
                                        • INK INDIA BANGALORE
                                        • Solidarietà
                                        • Coronavirus
                                          Gian Francesco Romano
                                          15 minutes ago
                                          ANS - Agenzia Info Salesiana. Periodico plurisettimanale telematico, organo di comunicazione della Congregazione Salesiana
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