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Bolivia – What is happening in the country

2 weeks 4 days ago
Bolivia – What is happening in the country

(ANS - Cochabamba) - The Salesian Province in Bolivia is grateful for the solidarity and support expressed by all in relation to the assault, looting and destruction of the Ichilo Radio and Television Broadcast Station, located in the municipality of Yapacaní, Santa Cruz, and for its proximity manifested earlier for the launch of tear gas at the "Don Bosco" school in La Paz while students were in the courtyard. Let us make clear to our sister communities in America and in the world that what has happened in Bolivia is the fruit of a complex social and political process that has resulted in the resignation of the former president Evo Morales and in the appointment of a legitimately constituted transitional government.

From what we can observe, there was nothing like a coup d'etat, but rather the clear civil and popular or people's resistance to a new affront by the former governing party against the Political Constitution of the State. Some related passages are that Evo Morales did not respect the result of the constitutional referendum of February 21, 2016 - in which the polls expressed that he should not resume his candidacy for other elections - and claiming a "human right", he ignored those results and presented himself in the October 20 elections this year.

To this, one must add the forest fires of more than 1,000,000 hectares in Chiquitanía, which among its causes has a government decree that favors the practice of the "chaqueo", i.e, the forest fire to provide more agricultural land to people close to the MAS (Movimiento al Socialismo) and for commercial interests. And finally, the electoral fraud in favor of Morales, denounced by the Organization of American States after reviews of verification carried out by a group of experts of the OAS.

The majority of Bolivian citizens has sought a peaceful solution to the conflict during this period and this has materialized in the mutiny of police officers who have refused to repress civilians in protest. The army also suggested that the former president cease his duties and he decided to resign to give way to a constitutional succession, now headed by Dr. Jeanine Áñez.

The Bolivian bishops, in their statement of November 10, say literally: "What is happening in Bolivia is not a coup d'etat, we say it before the Bolivian citizens and in front of the whole international community."

In this context, much too summarily, we ask the Salesian communities of America and the world not to fall into misinformation or into the assumption of the loss of legality and democracy in Bolivia. We still live in difficult times because of the squadrons of Evo Morales who do not accept the resignation of their leader and ask him to return to the government, which is completely unachievable after all the corruption and manipulation of the powers of the State in which we have been submergedhave come to light.

All our Salesian works continue to accompany the people in this difficult moment, offering their educational-evangelizing service to the extent that circumstances permit. We thank the whole Salesian Family of the world for prayer and closeness. And we continue to ask God for a quick, peaceful and just solution to these conflicts.

Cochabamba, 16 November 2019

  • Bolivia
  • Politica
  • Sociale
  • BOL
    Gian Francesco Romano

    Lebanon - The Salesians, tried by difficulties, in solidarity with local youth and people

    2 weeks 4 days ago
    Lebanon - The Salesians, tried by difficulties, in solidarity with local youth and people

    (ANS - Beirut) - 100 years after the proclamation of the Greater Lebanon (1920) in its geographical and historical boundaries, the country, once considered the Switzerland of the Middle East, is going through one of the most delicate and difficult moments of its centennial history: a crisis, above all economic, but also social and political, which has pushed the local population to rise up and rebel against its leaders, to the point of asking that the whole political class go away. Something unheard of in a fragmented society, where political leaders, in some cases former lords of the interminable civil war (1975-1990), were mostly praised and followed almost blindly.

    For a month now, the country has been living in a state of revolt that now borders on insurgency. The demonstrations have so far been relatively peaceful and sometimes managed with creativity, but the impatience of the people, faced with the lack of answers from those in charge and the ever-constant stalling while the crisis worsens day by day, is growing and the first acts of violence have been noted.

    The country is virtually paralyzed due to the closure, complete or intermittently, of the main arteries, public offices, banks, universities, and schools with barricades. These recent phenomena weigh on already precarious social and economic difficulties: 30% of the population borders on the poverty line; the country hosts the highest percentage of refugees in the world - over a third of the population; the main social services are conspicuously lacking; infrastructures are obsolete …

    In this situation, the flight of young people grows, many of whom are highly qualified, as they look for a job and a safe and better future.

    In this context, the Salesian presence is expressed in two works: the vocational training high school of Al Fidar, on the coast, which is home to just over 200 students enrolled in various fields of study - automotive mechanics, electronics, electricity, information technology, physical education and sports, and culinary arts; and the oratory-youth center of El Houssoun, in the mountains, flanked by a reception center.

    The Salesians are trying hard to make the school work, located as it is in a sensitive area, both at an educational and economic level, but the situation, especially economically, is getting worse day by day.

    The oratory, located in a relatively quiet area, now functions regularly every Saturday, welcoming Lebanese children, mostly Christians. The Salesian mission also deals with Syrian and Iraqi refugees, the majority of whom live in Beirut at the center of the revolution.

    Deeply united with the suffering people, the Salesians are involved in this economic effort to move forward, to counter resources already long diminished decreasing further, which risk overwhelming them in a much greater crisis.

    Strengthened by the spirit of Don Bosco, however, the Salesians continue with their presence, qualifying themselves as peacemakers and sowers of hope.

    {gallery}Libano - Proteste 2019{/gallery}

    • Libano
    • Politica
    • Sociale
    • MOR
      Gian Francesco Romano

      Pakistan – Salesian Brother makes a difference

      2 weeks 4 days ago
      Pakistan – Salesian Brother makes a difference

      (ANS – Lahore) – What makes the Salesian Brother so special? Many are sharing the following conviction: “The Brothers are simply doing their ordinary youth ministry duties with an extraordinary love!” Brother Alex Abelgas (61 years old) from the Southern Philippines (FIS) province of Mary Help of Christians, arrived in Pakistan just a few months ago, but he has already conquered the hearts of the young people in Don Bosco Lahore (Technical Boarding School & High School).

      After a brief two month exposure in Pakistan a few years ago, Br. Abelgas volunteered for this mission and he simply continues what he did during the past 40 years of Salesian consecrated life in the Philippines. He is always present the whole day among the young people as their “assistant” in the boarding house, in the refectory, in the football field, on the farm (buffaloes), in the vegetable garden. Simply put, the Brother is present among the young people as their friend, teacher and father, and as some Salesians have said, “the best practical trainee” they have ever had in this house!

      Although Brother Abelgas does not yet speak perfect Urdu (Pakistan's national language), he delivers a good morning talk from the “romanized Urdu text” in the school assembly and is always mingling with the more difficult and naughty boys. Among his favourite tools is the accordion (music). The Salesians also pray that the promised fund from Turin, Italy will soon arrive and provide 10 small accordions for the future band, already known from his previous community in Borongan (Eastern Samar island, Philippines).

      Soon after arrival, the only Salesian Brother present in the whole of Pakistan began guiding the Past Pupils through their monthly meetings, and a few days ago he was able to witness a significant step, the election of offices for the first Don Bosco Past Pupils Association on 27 October. His kind, patient and animating presence among the Past Pupils is very much felt.

      Salesians in Pakistan hope that Brother Alex's presence will sow the seeds of the Salesian Brother Vocation among young Pakistanis one day. As Don Bosco's Salesians, they always dream about the complementary presence of Brothers and Priests, to make the mission and community witness complete!

      • Pakistan
      • FIS
      • Salesiani Coadiutori
        Gian Francesco Romano

        RMG – Rector Major's Visit to Great Britain

        2 weeks 5 days ago
        RMG – Rector Major's Visit to Great Britain

        (ANS - Rome) - Tomorrow, November 19, the Rector Major, Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, leaves for a four-day Animation Visit to the "St. Thomas of Canterbury" Province of Great Britain. This is an ordinary commitment for the Rector Major, who has among his specific tasks that of animating Salesian communities throughout the world; but at the same time it is something very special: it is the last visit he will make in this six-year term, and with it he shall be able to fulfill his wish to visit all the Provinces and Vice Provinces of the Congregation during his mandate.

        Fr Á.F. Artime, accompanied by his Secretary, Fr Horacio López, will land in Manchester Tuesday, late in the afternoon, and shall be off to the Salesian community in Bootle, not far from Liverpool, where he will have a first fraternal meeting with the local Salesian Family.

        The following day, at the Provincial House in Bolton, he shall meet with the Salesians of the northernmost communities (Bollington, Bootle and Bolton), then visit the Thornleigh and Bollington schools, where he shall gather with the Salesian and educational community and preside at the Eucharist.

        On Thursday 21, he visits the Salesian school of Chertsey and the "Royal Holloway" University, before celebrating a Mass for the Salesian Cooperators and, in the evening, he goes to Farnborough.

        On Friday 22nd, there will be a meeting with Salesians and young people from the Chertsey community, after which the Rector Major meets the Provincial Council in Battersea, London, in the afternoon.

        On the last day of his visit to the GBR Province, the Successor of Don Bosco will meet the Salesians of the southern communities (Cowley, Chertsey, Battersea and Farnborough); he will preside over Mass for the Salesian Family; and then have the opportunity to speak with Theresa Devereux, the mother of Sean, the Salesian missionary volunteer, killed while on duty in Somalia in 1993, to whom the GBR Province is dedicating a film.

        • RMG
        • GBR
        • Visita di Animazione
        • Gran Bretagna
        • Ángel Fernández Artime
          Gian Francesco Romano

          Uganda – Palabek mourns Eugene's death, refugee who welcomed first Salesians in his humble hut

          2 weeks 5 days ago
          Uganda – Palabek mourns Eugene's death, refugee who welcomed first Salesians in his humble hut

          (ANS - Palabek) - Eugene Obwoya was 77 years old and dreamed that peace would return to South Sudan, so he could return home. He was an exception in the Palabek refugee camp in Uganda, where almost 90% of residents are women and children. He had been a government official in Sudan and, together with his inseparable wife Agnes, was among the first to arrive in Palabek.

          Eugene Obwoya didn't care about having five children with stable jobs outside the refugee camp - and among them, a professor from the University of Juba, an administrator in Kampala, capital of Uganda, and a telecommunications engineer in China. His place was in the camp, despite his family putting pressure on him because they wanted him and his wife, a retired teacher, to leave that uncomfortable and difficult life to enjoy their last years.

          But Eugene, an agronomist, had decided: "This is the third time I live in a refugee camp, and dreaming of peace in South Sudan and helping my compatriots is what keeps me alive," he said a year ago.

          He was the person for whom the Salesians began to live in Palabek. In South Sudan, already a catechist, in the refugee camp he led the prayers of the first refugees beneath the trees and open sky. When the first Salesians arrived in Palabek to see the work the NGOs were doing with the refugees, Eugene asked them to celebrate Mass and to return assiduously; thus he continued until the first three Salesian missionaries stayed to live in his hut.

          Always ready to help, Eugene didn't deny anyone a chair and a cup of tea to talk quietly at the doors of his hut. "I have been retired for years and it is true, in South Sudan I had a lot of land, fruit trees and machinery to live well," he recalled. "But my place is here now, to help the young as I can."

          On Sundays, he was a minister at Masses and was always careful to have everything under control. One day he had difficulty reading one of the passages, the first symptom that something was wrong with his health.

          Now Palabek mourns the absence of Eugene, the good man that everyone knew and asked for advice.

          Alberto López Herrero

          {gallery}Sudan del Sud - Eugene Obwoya 2019{/gallery}

          • Uganda
          • AGL
          • Palabek
          • Decessi
          • Laici
            Gian Francesco Romano

            East Timor – Resolutions and dreams of Missionary Animation Delegates in East Asia-Oceania

            2 weeks 5 days ago
            East Timor – Resolutions and dreams of Missionary Animation Delegates in East Asia-Oceania

            (ANS - Dili) - The EAO meeting of Provincial Mission Animation Delegates (MA) of the East Asia-Oceania Region, carried out jointly with the region's Youth Ministry delegates (Dili, 11-15 November), was a good opportunity for participants to share the good practices of each Province and to support each other in common challenges. Thus, the annual appointment becomes an important time for discussion and dialogue, from which to begin again each time.

            "This is already the second time we have held a joint meeting with the Delegates for Youth Ministry, after the meeting held in Seoul in 2015.  In this joint meeting, we discussed the new Handbook for Salesian Missionary Volunteering that has been prepared over the past 5 years. We also shared thoughts on the Youth Synod 2018, especially the Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Francis Christus Vivit. The talk and the discourse were really enlightening and inspiring. We hope that the fruits of our meeting will be applied to the different provinces and communities in our EAO region," said Fr Arvin Abatayo, Coordinator for Mission Animation in the EAO region.

            The Provincial MA Delegates discussed clear-cut guidelines for animation, so that it would be easy for the Salesians of the various Provinces to accept and apply them in every community. The objective, in fact, is not only to increase volunteers in the Provinces, but also their impact on the formation of young people, vocations culture, and help the community who receives the volunteers.

            Various resolutions were discerned; below, a partial list.

            At the provincial level: to improve local fundraising for MA; to collaborate closely with the Provincial and his Council; foster the missionary groups in the Salesian Youth Movement; include the Standard Operation Plan of Volunteering as part of the Salesian Educational-Pastoral Project.

            At the regional level: guarantee a basic English course to each new MA Delegate; produce MA workshops and seminars for deeper learning; issue an EAO Statement on Salesian Missionary Volunteering; develop formation modules to Salesian volunteer receiving communities; create a regional network and database of missionary volunteers; provide animating questions for readers of Cagliero 11 for fruitful reflection and action.

            At the congregation levell: work on the formation of Salesian Missionary Volunteering, as well as sharing the Mission between SDB and Lay people; foster preparation of the Manual for Salesian Parishes.

            Finally, among other suggestions: conduct meetings between MA and Formation Commissions; foster interaction and animation with various specific groups of the Salesian Family; provide for visits to formation houses during the annual regional meeting of MA Delegates.

            "At the end of the meeting, we can say that we are still far from the ideal, but we are hopeful because we are moving forward and into a direction that we hope to bring great fruits to our missionary Provinces, Congregation and the Church," concluded Fr Abatayo.

            • Timor Est
            • Animazione Missionaria
            • Asia EstOceania
              Gian Francesco Romano

              Zambia – Salesian missionaries in the Makululu settlement buy land for new farm thanks to Salesian Missions donors

              3 weeks 1 day ago
              Zambia – Salesian missionaries in the Makululu settlement buy land for new farm thanks to Salesian Missions donors

              (ANS - Kabwe) - Salesian missionaries working in the Makululu settlement in Kabwe, Zambia, were able to purchase close to 25 acres of land and develop a farm thanks to donor funding from Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco.

              Missionaries have developed the farm near the “Don Bosco Children Home” so that the food developed on the farm will be a source of food for the children and the local community. The farm itself will also be utilized as an Agricultural Training Center. The “Don Bosco Children Home” transforms the lives of street children by providing shelter, education and agricultural training to help break the cycle of poverty and provide opportunities for financial independence.

              In Makululu more than 40 percent of children between 7-14 years old do not attend school. The area once had no formal education. Many of the local families rely on basic trades to earn a meager living and to feed their families. They set up stalls with vegetables, fish, fruit, stone slabs, furniture and products from China. There is great poverty in the community with many residents having no electricity, enough food to eat or enough money to buy proper clothing.

              Today, Salesian missionaries operate the Don Bosco Children Home, a nursery school that prepares young children for primary school, a Youth Centre that accommodates up to 60 youth, and now agriculture training so youth can earn a living.

              “Access to quality education provides a stepping stone out of poverty for poor youth,” says Father Mark Hyde, director of Salesian Missions. “We are grateful to our donors who provided funding so that the land could be purchased for the farm. This will enable Salesian missionaries to both have a food source for the community and use the farm for invaluable educational lessons.”

              Poverty is widespread in Zambia with 64 percent of the total population living below the poverty line. For those living in rural areas, the poverty rate rises to 80 percent, according to UNICEF. Over the past three decades, incomes in Zambia have fallen steadily and people do not have enough money to meet basic needs such as shelter, nutritious food and medical care.

              The HIV/AIDS epidemic has also taken a devastating toll on Zambia’s children. There are 1.2 million children classified as orphaned and vulnerable by UNICEF, and these children struggle to find education, basic services and hope for their future.

              Further information is available at MissionNewswire and on YouTube.

              {gallery}Zambia - Makalulu 2019{/gallery}

              • Zambia
              • ZMB
              • Missioni
              • Povertà
              • Agricoltura
              • Rurali
                Gian Francesco Romano

                RMG – Poster of the Rector Major's 2020 Strenna presented

                3 weeks 1 day ago
                RMG – Poster of the Rector Major's 2020 Strenna presented

                (ANS - Rome) - The poster for Strenna 2020, which develops the motto: "Let your will be done on earth as it is in heaven" (Mt 6.10) is available online today. "GOOD CHRISTIANS AND UPRIGHT CITIZENS." The poster of the Year 2020 stands firm in the memory of the spark of the beginning of Salesian work.

                There was a stairway near the large market of Porta Palazzo where the young people sat to laugh, joke and have a snack. Don Bosco goes to meet them there. "Out there", where they normally meet and hang out. He does not lecture them; he simply offers his friendship.

                Don Bosco possessed nothing, only his huge heart, which revealed itself in his unforgettable gaze: "What stood out most in Don Bosco was his gaze, sweet but penetrating, to the depths of the heart, which you could hardly resist staring at," an ancient student once said.

                The poster is a page from the Gospel according to Don Bosco: “Jesus called forth a child, put him in their midst and said: 'Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.'” (Mt 18, 1-5).

                So, too, Don Bosco: he is all here, thus, with the same eyes and the same heart as Jesus.

                He had a conviction about young people: "This portion is the most delicate and most precious of human society, on which the hopes of a happy future are based." It is his decisive choice: "You are the most important part of my day," "You are special, and you mean a lot to me," he would tell the young people he met. It is in this daily dynamic that the personality of young people is built, there the heart of the educational process that succeeds in forming "good Christians and upright citizens!"

                His goal is simple and immense: "I want young people to be happy in time and in eternity."

                In the poster, at the top of the staircase there is an open door. It is the door of the house of Don Bosco, the door of the church and the door of life. Today, young people often find only closed doors. Don Bosco wants the young to have open doors. Those of a future and a happy and responsible life, those of a mature and satisfying faith, those of joy, solidarity, open and free creativity.

                This is why the Salesian Family exists.

                The Strenna poster, designed by the artist Stefano Pachi, is currently being shipped to all ANSPhoto subscribers. The digital version, in six languages, is available on ANSFlickr and here.

                {gallery}Poster Strenna 2020 - Anno 2019{/gallery}

                • RMG
                • Strenna 2020
                • Don Bosco
                • Giovani
                • STRENNA
                  Gian Francesco Romano

                  Argentina - "Zatti, our brother" trailer available online

                  3 weeks 2 days ago

                  (ANS - Buenos Aires) - Yesterday, November 13, on the day when the Salesian Family celebrated the liturgical memorial of Blessed Artemide Zatti, a Salesian coadjutor, Salesian Argentina joyfully announced the distribution of the film trailer "Zatti, hermano nuestro" (Zatti, our brother), conceived in 2018, produced this year and scheduled for release in 2020.

                  Fruit of the collaboration between the two Salesian Provinces in Argentina, produced by the National Salesian Bulletin, supported by the Salesian Mission Office of Madrid and encouraged by the Rector Major, the short film will be presented as a preview at the 28th General Chapter of the Salesian Congregation, scheduled in Turin, in 2020.

                  In the meantime, it is possible to view the trailer, subtitled also in Italian, at the following website: www.zattilapelicula.com.ar 

                  • Argentina
                  • Artemide Zatti
                  • Comunicazione Sociale
                  • Cinema
                    Gian Francesco Romano

                    India - "Aiming Higher" - Don Bosco University of Assam in BBC documentary

                    3 weeks 2 days ago

                    (ANS - Guwahati) - The "Assam Don Bosco University" (ADBU), India's first Catholic university, which just one year ago awarded the "University of the Year" award by the Indian Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), has been portrayed in a documentary by the famous British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) through StoryWorks, its Commercial Productions division. The documentary was produced as part of the "Aiming Higher" communication project promoted by the International Association of Universities (IAU) in collaboration with the BBC to convey the importance of the role of universities in the transformation of the world.

                    The series of 30 documentaries of "Aiming Higher" is being presented today, November 14, in Puebla, Mexico, at the IAU International Conference.

                    The series will be made available on dedicated website to be launched at the Conference and will have an important outreach through a global advertising campaign on the BBC’s website outside of the UK.

                    IAU thanks all participating universities for their engagement and for sharing these beautiful experiences with the global higher education community and the general public. They embody what IAU is all about: collaboration, concrete action and exchange to make the movement of positive movers and shakers in higher education grow internationally and make a long-term impact on society at large.

                    The "Aiming Higher" documentaries illustrate significant stories in the fields of Internationalization, Technology, Leadership and Sustainable Development cultivated in different universities, thus spotlighting the essential contributions of higher education to social development worldwide.

                    ADBU is among the 30 positive models identified across the globe.

                    "In the documentary, we were happy to spotlight the life story of how people of Assam now have access to clean drinking water thanks to the University's efforts. It was fascinating to work on the project with the ADBU team and better understand what drives your institution ... And we hope that this film will provide you with a powerful communication tool," wrote Simon Shelley, Director of BBC collaborative projects in an official communiquè to the Vice-Chancellor and Rector of the University, Fr Stephen Mavely.

                    Anxiously awaiting the launch of the "Aiming Higher" series, the Salesian answered from Puebla. "It was wonderful to admire the way this project was conceived, organized and wonderfully managed by the BBC and IAU. Thank you for the excellent work."

                    In addition to thanking the main curators of the project on behalf of the ADBU - Dr. Juhi, Director of Human Resources; the Vice-rector, Dr. Nellanatt; Dr. Sunandan, the general coordinator; and the Director of the Department of Social Sciences, Dr. Riju – he added: "It's amazing to imagine the millions, literally millions of people around the world, that will be reached by this IAU-BBC production, people who will indeed get the message that higher education can and should be a change for the best in people's real life, starting with the closest ones. The ADBU fully shares this vision: it is written in our genes."

                    The series will soon be available on a dedicated website and will be widely distributed through a global campaign by the BBC: it is estimated that in the first few days it will reach around 50 million Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook users, but a total of 110 million is expected. In addition, starting next week, it will be sent to around 19,300 universities enrolled in the IAU.

                    • India
                    • Università
                    • ADBU
                    • Comunicazione Sociale
                      Gian Francesco Romano

                      Hong Kong – EAO Formation and Social Communication Delegates come together

                      3 weeks 2 days ago
                      Hong Kong – EAO Formation and Social Communication Delegates come together

                      (ANS – Hong Kong) – A few days before the Apostolic visit of Pope Francis to Thailand and Japan, the incoming East Asia-Oceania meeting of Social Communication, together with the Formation Delegates in Hong Kong, is also upon us. Together with three General Councillors – Fr Ivo Coelho (Formation), Fr Filiberto González (Social Communication) and Fr Vaclav Klement (EAO) – there will also be circa 30 Provincial Delegates for both sectors. Scheduled: four joint sessions (SC-Formation) and specific times for each sector delegates.

                      SC Councilor Father González clearly spells out the three goals of this formative annual meeting:

                      “The first goal is to answer the question: "What kind of Salesian communicators for the youth of the digital world? We are looking for the profile of Salesian communicator with 4 inseparable and complementary elements: Living together, being, knowing and doing. Second: How to make the GC28 live to the Salesians, lay people and young people in the own province. Third: presentation of a good practice of Social Communication in a time limit of ten minutes.”

                      The SC delegates are meeting after two years (Vietnam, K’Long, in November 2017) and will evaluate their resolutions at personal, province and regional levels as regards: fostering communications via EAO regional and SDB world news (ANS) in both directions, also involving Lay Mission Partners and Young; working more closely with the YM, Mission Animation and Formation commissions; fostering Education and Formation sessions on Social Media (target on SDB and Salesian Family); supporting AustraLasia News and www.bosco.link (Boscolink).

                      Among the specific topics pertaining to updates, this SC delegate meeting shall also discuss The Salesian Bulletin Editors (2019), the 2019 Salesian Translators Handbook and Salesian Dictionary and Corporate Identity (SDB logo-related issues).

                      • Hong Kong
                      • Comunicazione Sociale
                      • Formazione
                      • Asia EstOceania
                      • Filiberto González
                        Gian Francesco Romano

                        Bolivia – Lay people of the Salesian Family in action

                        3 weeks 2 days ago
                        Bolivia – Lay people of the Salesian Family in action

                        (ANS - Santa Cruz) - The Second Vatican Council invited the pastors of the local Church to "open spaces of shared responsibility in the life and mission of the Church". Don Bosco, here too, was a forerunner; in his Oratory, he counted on the help of everyone, both consecrated and lay persons, to carry forward not only the activities, but also the charism. Today in Bolivia, this sensitivity is spreading. An example is offered by the case of Cecilia Dörfelt, a lay person involved in the Church and in the Salesian Family, coordinator of the Association of Mary Help of Christians - Youth (ADMA Youth) of Bolivia. She was also recently appointed Executive Secretary of the "Commission for the Brotherhood", organ of the Bolivian Episcopal Conference which curates collaborations with several German dioceses for several development projects in Bolivia.

                        Cecilia is the first Bolivian to take up this position. Her surname, atypical for where she lives, comes from her grandfather, who came from Germany, but she was born and raised in Santa Cruz. Third of four siblings, the only female, she received a Catholic education and the Salesian charism from her parents. "They always told me that I am a Salesian in my heart ... And when I had vocational doubts they told me to talk to God. The consecrated life intrigued me, but I think I can make better use of my talents as a lay person," said the 30-year-old woman.

                        As head of the Commission for the Brotherhood, today she is primarily concerned with fostering links between Bolivia and the two German benefactor dioceses of Trier and Hildesheim.

                        The projects the Commission deals with are as numerous as they are diverse. There are national, diocesan and local projects. Cecilia admits that it is difficult to summarize all the initiatives being supported, but she can proudly report a statistic. "About 80% of all social projects in Bolivia are carried out by the Catholic Church. And we are involved in 50% of these projects. This is an indication of how important our work is."

                        A project that she has recently visited, for example, concerned the agricultural formation of communities in the jungle which can only be reached by river. Another project involved the direct donation of 10,000 euros from the diocese of Trier to support the fight against forest fires in the Bolivian Amazon region.

                        Cecilia currently participates with the representatives of the dioceses of Trier and Hildesheim in the process of reviewing the guidelines of the last ten years and in the definition of the new guidelines for 2020 – 2030. And looking to the future, she is already also working on the preparation of the Jubilee for the 60 years of collaboration.

                        • Bolivia
                        • Laici
                        • ADMA Giovani
                        • ADMA
                        • Chiesa
                        • Germania
                          Gian Francesco Romano

                          East Timor – Youth Ministry and Missions work together in East Asia-Oceania

                          3 weeks 3 days ago
                          East Timor – Youth Ministry and Missions work together in East Asia-Oceania

                          (ANS - Dili) - The annual gathering of Delegates for Youth Ministry (YM) and for Mission Animation (MA) of the Asia East-Oceania region (AEO) is currently underway (11-15 November) in Dili, Capital of Timor-Leste. The meeting is led by Fr Fabio Attard, General Councilor for YM, and Fr Guillermo Basañes, General Councilor for the Missions, together with their collaborators in their respective ministries, and regional coordinators Fr Joebeth L. Vivo (YM) and Fr Arvin Abatayo (MA). The meeting is also attended by Fr Václav Klement, Regional Councilor, and the Archbishop of Dili, the Salesian Msgr. Virgilio Da Silva.

                          Such a gathering offered the best possible setting for the inauguration of the new Center for Philosophical Studies "Saint Francis of Sales" built in the Salesian complex of Dili-Comoro. Taking place on the evening of Monday 11 November was a solemn Eucharist and the formal act of inauguration and blessing, accompanied by a cultural academy organized by the young people who attend Salesian works and by the customary speeches of the various authorities present,  including the Minister of Education, Youth and Sport, Dulce Soares, and the Superior of the Vice Province of East Timor (TLS), Fr Apolinário Neto.

                          Yesterday, Tuesday 12 November, it was the first day of actual work for the region's YM and MA delegates. It began with a morning of spirituality that served to put the person of Jesus and the Salesian charism at the very center of all Salesian services and activities, of both YM and MA. After moments of silence, meditation, reflection and prayer, the approximately 30 participants shared what to ask forgiveness for and what to thank for as regards their daily commitment.

                          The distancing or departure from the Lord and from the young, the distraction towards one's own parishioners, individual pride or pastoral timidity were some of the errors for which they apologized; at the same time the Lord was praised for the presence of the Holy Spirit in the Salesian communities and initiatives, and that the young, especially the most marginalized, continue to save the spiritual Sons of Don Bosco.

                          In the afternoon and in the evening, finally, the ideas that come from the last two Synods of Bishops were collected: Fr Patrick Antonyraj led the reflection on the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Christus Vivit, the papal text that summarized the work of the Synod on young people, faith and vocational discernment; and Fr Martín Lasarte, who participated in the Synod on the Pan-Amazon region, spoke of the Congregation's missionary commitment among as many as 69 (out of about 350) ethnic minorities scattered across Brazil, Bolivia, Argentina, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela.

                          Source: AustraLasia

                          {gallery}TLS - Incontro PG e AM 2019{/gallery}

                          • Timor Est
                          • TLS
                          • Pastorale Giovanile
                          • Animazione Missionaria
                          • Guillermo Basañes
                          • Fabio Attard
                          • Asia EstOceania
                          • Virgilio do Carmo da Silva
                            Gian Francesco Romano

                            Burundi – Blessing and inauguration of "Maison Cana" orphanage

                            3 weeks 3 days ago

                            (ANS - Rukago)  Blessed and inaugurated on October 30th  was the new building of the "Maison Cana" orphanage in Rukago. It is managed by the Congregation of the "Daughters of Mary - Our Lady of Cana", and founded in 1994 by the Salesian Fr Vital Minani, who today is Vicar of the "Mary Mother of God" house of Rukago.

                            In an atmosphere of great celebration, with decorated streets and festoons everywhere, the guests who came for the occasion, were first welcomed. Then the blessing ceremony of the new building began, with Fr Minani, not only founder, but also legal representative of the Association "Daughters of Mary - Our Lady of Cana" and of the orphanage; subsequently, in the parish church of the nearby Salesian center, the Eucharist was celebrated, during which the Salesian thanked God and the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Salesian Congregation and other benefactors, the government and all those who worked in various ways to ensure that the building was completed.

                            After Mass, the assembly returned to the orphanage building for the second part of the protocol activities, opened by the folk dances to the beat of the drums, and the cutting of the ribbon by Ignace Ntawembarira, Delegate of the Ministry of Human Rights, Social Affairs and Gender Issues, which marked the official inauguration of the new building.

                            The building itself is a large two-storey structure, whose work began in 2012. The ground floor was built in various stages, based on the availability of funds received from various benefactors, mainly from the Salesian Congregation; the first floor, instead, was erected thanks mainly to the donation of the "Formons une famille" Foundation of Québec, Canada.

                            After the greeting of Fr Minani, speaking on behalf of the delegation of the "Formons une famille" foundation, Guy Ménard congratulated the promoters of this project and recalled with emotion the moment when the foundation met the "Daughters of Cana" and explained the reasons for their involvement in this project.

                            The administrator of the host municipality of Gahombo stressed that this orphanage is an inspiration of God and congratulated the "Daughters of Mary - Our Lady of Cana" for their compassionate spirit and their noble apostolate.

                            Finally, Mr. Ntawembarira gave the children a ton of rice from the Ministry and stressed that this orphanage offers children a real family, education, care, love and guidance to help them become good citizens who will actively participate in the development of Burundi.

                            The "Maison Cana" orphanage aims to be more and more a place where young people who are deprived of parents are loved and feel loved.

                            Fr Raphaël Katanga, SDB

                            {gallery}Burundi - Orfanotrofio Rukago 2019{/gallery}

                            • Burundi
                            • AGL
                            • Orfanotrofio
                            • Missioni
                              Gian Francesco Romano

                              RMG – The letter of the Councilor for Missions to sick and elderly Salesians

                              3 weeks 4 days ago
                              RMG – The letter of the Councilor for Missions to sick and elderly Salesians

                              (ANS - Rome) - On the day of commemorating the departure of the first Salesian Missionary Expedition, on November 11th, in the year of the 150th Expedition, the General Councilor for the Missions, Fr Guillermo Basañes, sent, as per tradition, a letter to the elderly and sick Salesians.

                              "I started writing this letter in Shillong, northeast India, and I am sending it to you from Dili, the capital of East Timor. What I manage to do through tiring days of travel, uniting north and south, east and west, you manage to do much better than me, sometimes without leaving your rooms, but uniting all points of the globe in your prayer and silent offering," the Councilor for the Missions begins, renewing his gratitude to all those of his confreres who accompany the missionary activity of the Congregation through spiritual support and the donation of their own daily labors and prayers.

                              Subsequently, Fr Basañes recalls the great emotion of the Missionary Sending celebrated last 29 September in the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians in Turin, adding that the 36 new missionaries were not only the fruit of the Rector Major's missionary summons, but also "a fruitful outcome of your persevering prayers for the missions and missionaries."

                              For this reason he urged the elderly and sick Salesians to persevere in accompanying prayer. And, citing the Apostolic Letter Maximum Illud that Pope Benedict XV wrote 100 years - why Pope Francis declared October 2019 as 'Extraordinary Missionary Month' - he underlines their contribution in "ensuring that this fire continues to burn in every corner of the Congregation, which is constantly on a journey."

                              The letter could not close without a fraternal commemoration of the two Salesian missionaries killed in early 2019 in Burkina Faso, Fr Antonio César Fernández and Fr Fernando Hernández.

                              "May these two martyrs really help us to get closer and closer to the most appropriate answers to the crucial question of the next 28th General Chapter: 'What kind of Salesian...?' We could say, a Salesian living in a permanent state of martyrdom... ready to give reason for their hope... to radiate their faith, even if this preaching were to be tinged with the red of their own blood."

                              The full text of the letter is available here.

                              • RMG
                              • Missioni
                              • Anziani
                              • Malattie
                              • Guillermo Basañes
                                Gian Francesco Romano

                                Ethiopia – Animation visit of Rector Major's Vicar

                                3 weeks 4 days ago
                                Ethiopia – Animation visit of Rector Major's Vicar

                                (ANS - Addis Ababa) - The Animation Visit of Fr Francesco Cereda, Vicar of the Rector Major, to the Vice Province of Africa Ethiopia (AET) was recently concluded. From 4 to 10 November, Fr Cereda visited the communities of Addis Ababa and Meki, meeting numerous Salesians, young people and members of the Salesian Family. These were intense days, during which the Rector Major's Vicar visited the Salesian schools and centers and had moments of discussion with the Directors and the Provincial Council.

                                On Monday 4 November, Fr Cereda visited the youth of "Bosco Children" in Addis Ababa, the center for street children that hosts around 50 children every day - and still welcomes many others who go there only to attend courses and lessons. 

                                On the same day, he then went to the community of Mekanissa, also in Addis Ababa, where he received a festive welcome from the school's children and teachers; he then visited the "Don Bosco TVET", the Professional Technical Training Center, known for its printing and for excellence in the graphics and printing press/typographic sector. Finally, he met with Meki, the community of the "Missionary Sisters of Mary Help of Christians", a group of the Salesian Family founded by Msgr. Stefano Ferrando, SDB.

                                The next day, in Meki, Fr Cereda visited the Adamitullu school and the Zway community where he met Salesians, aspirants and Daughters of Mary Help of Christians. On Wednesday 6 November, he participated in a meeting with the novices of the community of Debre Zeit, 40 km south of Addis Ababa. From here, he returned to the provincial house for the last two days of the visit, the most intense and demanding ones.

                                On Friday, in fact, the Vicar of the Rector Major met with the Directors for the presentation - with consequent review and dicussion - of the end letter of the Rector Major's Visit. Numerous other topics of interest were also discussed. Saturday, instead, he met the Provincial Council to discuss the functioning of the Vice Province, on the works of animation and government and to address the important theme of vocations.

                                Fr Cereda, who recalled that he visited these lands for the first time in 1990, renewed, with this visit, his attention and closeness to the Salesian communities of Ethiopia.

                                {gallery}Etiopia - Visita don Cereda 2019{/gallery}

                                • AET
                                • Etiopia
                                • Francesco Cereda
                                • Vicario del Rettor Maggiore
                                  Gian Francesco Romano

                                  Syria – Salesian Cooperator murdered in attack

                                  3 weeks 4 days ago
                                  Syria – Salesian Cooperator murdered in attack

                                  (ANS - Qamishli) - The Salesian Family of Syria mourns yet another victim: yesterday, Monday 11 November, Hovsep (Aphraham) Bedo, the Salesian Cooperator and priest of the Armenian Catholic rite, was killed while traveling by car with his father, also killed, and two other people, who managed to save themselves. The murder was perpetrated by fundamentalist militants. "The Association of Salesian Cooperators shares the pain of the family of Hovsep Bedo, who was tragically killed in an attack with his father," Fr Giuseppe Casti, World Delegate for Salesian Cooperators, said in a statement.

                                  The Salesian Cooperator, about 50 years old, was pastor of the "Saint Joseph" Cathedral in Qamishli, a city located in the North-East of Syria, on the border with Turkey and not far from Iraq. He was married and the father of three children, two girls and a boy, the latter currently being trained in a house in Lebanon as a Salesian aspirant.

                                  "We join in the prayer of the whole Church and of the Salesian Family for the Syrian people who, due to an interminable war, suffer injustices and suffering that injure above all the innocent and the poor. Let us pray for the Armenian Church which, in the midst of so many difficulties, continues to bear witness to the Gospel and to Christ. May the blood of this Salesian brother of ours, Cooperator, priest and martyr, be fruitful for peace and new vocations," said Fr Casti.

                                  The double murder took place while Fr Bedo was visiting the Armenian Catholic church of Dei Al Zor "to follow a mission and check the status of the renovation works on the city church and other connected areas," said Fr Nareg Naamo, Rector of the Pontifical Armenian College in Rome and friend of the killed priest, to the SIR news agency.

                                  Again according to the testimony of Fr Naamo, the aggression had the features of a real and proper execution, carried out because "hitting the shepherd means also hitting the flock". Fr Bedo, in fact, was driving his car, with his father at his side, with a deacon and another layman seated behind. "The car was flanked by two strangers on a motorcycle who opened fire and killed his father. Once the car stopped, the two continued to shoot, hitting the priest in the chest. The deacon and the layman managed to save themselves by rushing out of the vehicle," said the Rector of the Armenian College.

                                  Immediately taken to the hospital in Dei Al Zor, Fr Bedo was then transferred by ambulance to  the hospital in Hassaké for more effective treatments, but he arrived already deceased.

                                  The region of the North-East of Syria is experiencing a resurgence of hostilities these days: yesterday in Qamishli there were three attacks, one near the Chaldean church, with a toll of 6 dead and 20 wounded.

                                  • Siria
                                  • Salesiani Cooperatori
                                  • Violenze
                                    Gian Francesco Romano

                                    Chile – Shrine of Mary Help of Christians of Talca brutally profaned

                                    3 weeks 4 days ago
                                    Chile – Shrine of Mary Help of Christians of Talca brutally profaned

                                    (ANS - Talca) - Today, at 12, in the shrine of Mary Help of Christians in Talca, a Eucharist of Peace was celebrated, to implore from God a future of justice and social peace for all the Chileans. For a Chile without violence. That violence that has mortified and wounded this very Shrine, so dear to the faithful.

                                    The beautiful church, located in the center of the city and very popular, in fact, today, was bare, without benches, without many paintings. As if pierced and humiliated. This is because on the night of Monday 11 November, a group of hooded men ransacked and damaged the church, taking away the wooden benches, used to form barricades and then set on fire to block the streets.

                                    Even paintings and furnishings were destroyed as a sign of contempt, as television pictures clearly showed.

                                    Talca is a city of 250 thousand inhabitants in the center of Chile. Here, the Salesians are well known and respected for their vocational training schools and for the shrine of Mary Help of Christians, a center of faith and prayer.

                                    The church of Mary Help of Christians is the second church to suffer this type of attack, since the protests began in Chile. Two days ago, in the capital Santiago, the parish of the Assumption was also desecrated.

                                    The photographs posted on the web, even concerning the church of Talca, testify to the senseless violence of the events, incomprehensible pretexts suitable only for triggering anguish and fear.

                                    This attack represents a double pain for the Salesian Family, since the month dedicated to Mary Immaculate began recently, and this church is a traditional meeting place for devotees of the Virgin. Another reason that it touches the Salesian Family closely is that this Salesian house was the last house of which Don Bosco knew of its foundation before his death in 1888.

                                    The educational community of the city has expressed in many ways its dismay and its sadness for these acts of vandalism, which have no connection with the social movement of recent days in Chile and its just demands.

                                    Faced with these events, the Provincial of Chile, Fr Carlos Lira, declared: "We totally condemn this situation of violence and call for peace, dialogue and the search for respectful ways to channel the legitimate demands of the Chilean people. We invite the Salesian Family to pray intensely for our country and to continue to renew the commitment to a fraternal and just homeland."

                                    {gallery}Cile - Profanazione Talca 2019{/gallery}

                                    • Cile
                                    • CIL
                                    • Violenze
                                      Gian Francesco Romano

                                      Hong Kong – Salesian Past Pupil seriously injured during protests

                                      3 weeks 4 days ago
                                      Hong Kong – Salesian Past Pupil seriously injured during protests

                                      (ANS - Hong Kong) - Yesterday, 11 November, two Salesian Past Pupils of the "Salesian English School" involved in protests between protesters and police in Hong Kong. One of them, a 21-year-old, was seriously injured.

                                      It all happened yesterday around 7.20 local time in the Sai Wan Ho neighborhood, north-east of Hong Kong. Here, some people had gathered for yet another day of protests and already in the early hours of the morning they had blocked roads. Yesterday's protest was announced following the death of a boy who died last week while fleeing from police tear gas.

                                      The two young past pupils, along with a dozen other people, were blocking a road junction. A policeman immediately approached the group and in a few seconds a fight broke out.

                                      Although the demonstrators were unarmed, the policeman fired three pistol shots, the first of which hit the young Salesian past pupil in the abdomen. The other past pupil was instead pushed to the ground and arrested.

                                      The young man hit by the bullet was promptly taken to the hospital, where he underwent a delicate operation. He is still in intensive care, in critical conditions.

                                      The attack was recorded by a journalist, who then released the video in which the policeman is seen shooting the unarmed young man; the video soon went viral on all the main international news channels.

                                      The same evening, the Salesians in Hong Kong organized a prayer vigil for all the wounded and in particular for the two past pupils. Furthermore, the same day, the Salesians of the "Mary Help of Christians" Province based in Hong Kong issued an official declaration, condemning the violence used by the police against the protesters and calling everyone to rationality and non-violence.

                                      "May God bless Hong Kong," they conclude, "and give us peace, joy and freedom."

                                      • Hong Kong
                                      • CIN
                                      • Violenze
                                      • Cina
                                        Gian Francesco Romano

                                        Argentina – Rector Major: “I've decided that the IX International Congress of Mary Help of Christians will take place in Portugal”

                                        3 weeks 5 days ago
                                        Argentina – Rector Major: “I've decided that the IX International Congress of Mary Help of Christians will take place in Portugal”

                                        (ANS - Buenos Aires) - Sunday 10 November, inside the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians of Buenos Aires, filled with faithful from 36 countries attending the VIII World Congress of Mary Help of Christians, the Father of the Salesian Family, Rector Major Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, announced the decision to stage the next International Congress, the Ninth, in Portugal, in Fatima, in August 2023.

                                        The closing ceremony of the VIII World Congress of Mary Help of Christians, carried out in an atmosphere of Salesian celebration in the basilica built by the Salesian architect Fr Ernesto Vespignani, saw the presence of several Provincials, Superiors and leaders of the Salesian Family groups, and Fr Eusebio Muñoz, Delegate of the Rector Major for the Salesian Family, and Fr Pier Luigi Cameroni, World Head of the Association of Mary Help of Christians.

                                        Renato Valera, President of the Primary ADMA of Turin, expressed: “The meeting was an experience of the two columns of the Salesian charism - Jesus Eucharist and Mary Help of Christians. I am excited at the idea of ​​where the next meeting will be held, above all for the Love for Mary that is lived in those places.”

                                        Then, at 10:00 am, the Rector Major presented himself to the Shrine to offer the closing words and present the path for the coming years. "The Salesian missionary dimension unites us from the very heart of Don Bosco and the history of this nation speaks to us of his love in bringing the Gospel. First of all, we need to be aware of being a missionary church," he said.

                                        Fr Á.F. Artime also recalled the work of Salesian missionaries in every corner of the world and, above all, the commitment to bring Mary Help of Christians across the globe, even the most difficult ones, such as in Meruri, Brazil.

                                        He then delivered some key elements for personal work and above all for the Salesian mission of every child of Mary Help of Christians. "Maria knows us, knows our dreams and knows our plans. She takes us by the hand and leads us little by little towards Jesus," he said. He then invited all the participants in the Congress to live their spiritual life in depth and to ask themselves at all times: “'What do you want from me, oh Lord?' This is a question that everyone must ask themselves to deepen the life and mission in this world."

                                        The Rector Major concluded by stating that "Mary is our mother and tells us as in the Gospel: 'Do what God tells you!'”, and announced the seat of Congress IX. From the top of the Basilica, he  gave his blessing and greeted everyone with gratitude.

                                        {gallery}Argentina - Chiusura VIII Congresso MA 2019{/gallery}

                                        More photos of the Congress on ANSFlickr

                                        • Argentina
                                        • ARS
                                        • Rettor Maggiore
                                        • Maria Ausiliatrice
                                        • ADMA
                                        • Famiglia Salesiana
                                          Gian Francesco Romano
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