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India – Inauguration of PROJECT 'CALLS': COVID19 Livelihood & Living Services for tribal community in Yercaud

1 month 1 week ago
India – Inauguration of PROJECT 'CALLS': COVID19 Livelihood & Living Services for tribal community in Yercaud

(ANS – Yercaud) – In addressing the health and socio-economic crisis caused by Covid-19, the Rector Major, Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, has repeatedly called on Salesian creativity to identify new, concrete ways to support the most needy. To fulfill this request, on 24 June 2020, the Retreat-Don Bosco inaugurated a livelihood program for those who have lost their jobs or those without any means of survival. Acronymed 'CALLS' is a program for those without any alternative livelihoods.

Yercaud, being a hill station, sees everything connected with the tourism industry shut down. Poverty and hunger are at their worst. The program aims to train 40 people of various age groups and genders in greenhouse/plant nursery, garden care and maintenance. 

The participants get stipends of Rs 300 per day during the 14 days of training/work. For the first seven days, they listen to professionals in the field for two hours. The entire project lasts 21 days.

The Project aims to create alternative and added livelihood avenues for the tribal community. The participants learn practical knowledge as regards greenhouses, plant nurseries and maintenance.

It also involves part-time self-employed work to create plants at home and sell to the nurseries. The REO (Retreat Estate Organics) Nursery run by the Retreat-Yercaud shall also buy directly or help find other dealers.

Each participant at the end of the 40 days get Rs 4.500/- and a certificate with which they can easily be appointed in tourist resorts, private homes or nurseries to create gardens, lawns, and their maintenance.

The Government officials lauded the initiative and extended all their support. The invitees were: Mrs. Ramani, Thasildar of Yercaud Panchayat, Mrs. Shanthavalli, the Chairman of Yercaud Union, Mr. Gunasekar, Block Development Officer, and Mr. Thomson, Director of Public Health, Yercaud.

Interestingly, there were 10 college-going students who would like to get the training not only to earn the money to pay their fees, but also to create nursery plants and sell them to nurseries to pay for their school fees. An inspirational intent that moved all the people in the event.

The program is a joint initiative of Shevaroy Hills Tribal Development Institute of the Retreat-Don Bosco, Jugend Eine Welt of Austria, and BoscoNet, New Delhi. The project is coordinated by Fr. Selvakumar SDB, the local Project Manager. 

  • India
  • Coronavirus
  • Solidarietà
  • Lavoro
    Gian Francesco Romano

    Chile – Archbishop Vargas Bastidas, SDB: "Politics of indecision generate a debt with many wounds and painful consequences, not only for the Indigenous world"

    1 month 1 week ago

    (ANS - Temuco) - Archbishop Héctor Vargas Bastidas, SDB, Bishop of Temuco and Head of Indigenous Pastoral Care of the Chilean Episcopal Conference (CECh), in an interview published by the Diario Austral of the city of Temuco on Sunday 21 June, referred to announcements and promises made to the indigenous world that have remained unfulfilled. He also spoke of the preparation of the National Day of Indigenous Peoples, celebrated June 24th.

    In Chile, in 2015, President Michelle Bachelet asked Msgr. Vargas Bastidas the difficult task of leading the commission for Araucania, an indigenous territory in the Latin American country. The Commission had managed to develop a very concrete plan that involved the Mapuche world in the political, religious, economic and social spheres. In this interview, Archbishop Vargas recalls that precisely in the proximity of the deadline for defining an agreement between the government and indigenous peoples there are still some unfinished points.

    "It seems to me that throughout history the relationship with these peoples has failed to meet the needs of this enormous challenge. A hesitant path is perhaps the result of a policy of indecision, which generates a debt with many wounds and painful consequences, not only for the indigenous world," said the prelate.

    “It is noteworthy that Presidents Bachelet and Piñera have publicly asked these peoples for forgiveness on behalf of the State. However, there has been little real progress on substantive issues, rather than specific measures, which create confusion because the promises that the State has made to them often remain without significant effects," denounced the Bishop of Temuco.

    The prelate concluded with an attitude of hope: "There is always a time when there is a will, dialogue and mutual respect between the parties, and in this scenario, no one should be excluded from contributing. Particular progress is needed in real political will to define solutions and honor commitments, which are not perceived with the necessary clarity. It is required not only by and for the good of the peoples, but by all of society and by the enormous wealth that is the identity of an intercultural Chile. The reality of faith tells us that we are all brothers, children of the same Father who is in Heaven."

    Bishop Vargas Bastidas is the son of a Salesian Province which boasts a long tradition among the original peoples. The Salesians came to Chilean Patagonia to take care of them especially and Don Bosco himself sent his spiritual children to evangelize and accompany the peoples who lived in the far south of Chile and Argentina.

    • Cile
    • CIL CILE
    • Vescovi
    • Indigeni
    • Politica
    • Héctor Vargas
      Gian Francesco Romano

      Ethiopia - From health to the home: Salesian support for the poorest does not exclude any area

      1 month 1 week ago
      Ethiopia - From health to the home: Salesian support for the poorest does not exclude any area

      (ANS - Gambella) - 45 km from Gambella, in western Ethiopia, a wedge of land that creeps into neighboring Sudan and that during the warmer months registers temperatures that reach even 50 ° C, there is the small center of Abobo. Here, in 2002, a good story began, when a group of Italian and Spanish volunteers set up a small health center, together with the local Salesians.

      Today, after fifteen years, the Abobo Health Center is the symbol of a community that is not only at the service of the 4,000 inhabitants of the village, but helps about 20,000 people in the area, reaching to embrace as many as 200,000 people throughout the region, being the area's only one health center.

      Alongside the health project, the educational structures, an oratory and a multipurpose room, the parish and a kindergarten for over 100 children were born over time, as well as two small kindergartens in neighboring villages. The entire population of the area is also supported to meet basic needs starting from water and food.

      Meanwhile, the common challenges for survival in the region bring different ethnic groups, of Sudanese origin, together with Ethiopian communities from the plateau and other local ethnic groups.

      One of the initiatives that is carried out in Abobo, through the support of the Salesians, is the support for the most deprived families in the maintenance or construction of their homes. In this region, in fact, most families, often with many children, still live in huts, in precarious sanitation, and certainly - these days - without any possibility of complying with the minimum prevention measures against the pandemic.

      Furthermore, due to the deforestation taking place in the region, the availability of dry grass for the roof and wood for the buildings is decreasing. And so the houses remain perpetually exposed to the weather and with makeshift roofs that must be redone every three years on average.

      Odiel, Ayelech and Ariet ... are just some of the beneficiaries of the new initiative that the Salesians have thought of for these people: to help some large families and with very young children to renovate their home! And build new ones also for people with chronic or disabling diseases, who have no support.

      The aid project born 18 years ago in Abobo could now reach its "maturity" with this concrete and necessary service for many families in need.

      Further information is available on:

      • Etiopia
      • Missioni
      • Missioni Don Bosco
        José Luis Munoz

        RMG - 10 programmatic sentences of Pope Francis to Salesians worldwide at General Chapter

        1 month 1 week ago
        RMG - 10 programmatic sentences of Pope Francis to Salesians worldwide at General Chapter

        (ANS - Rome) - Pope Francis really wanted to be present at the 28th General Chapter of the Salesians in Turin-Valdocco, the house where Don Bosco knew how to create a real school of holiness. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, it was not possible for him to do so, but the Holy Father made himself present anyway with a letter written in his own hand to the Salesians, as a sign of closeness, affection and gratitude for the formation received. Here are 10 sentences that still resonate as programmatic of that letter of his called "The Valdocco option".

        1.    The noise of the oratories.  I am sure that the noise and chatter of the oratories will be the best and most effective music for the Spirit to rekindle the charismatic gift of your founder. Do not shut the windows to this background noise...

        2.    Neither adapt to the culture in fashion, nor take refuge in a heroic but already disembodied past. In changing times it is good to pay good attention to St Paul’s words to Timothy: “For this reason I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands; for God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline” (2 Tim 1:6-7).

        3.    Cultivate a contemplative attitude, one that is able to identify and discern the focal points. This will help to enter into the journey with the spirit and the contribution of Don Bosco's sons and, like him, to develop a “bold cultural revolution” (Enc. Laudato Si’, 114).

        4.    Neither a pessimist nor an optimist, the Salesians of the 21st century is a man filled with hope because he knows that his centre is the Lord who can make all things new (cf. Rev 21:5). Only this will save us from living in an attitude of resignation and defensive survival. Only this will make our lives fruitful (cf. homily, 2 February 2017).

        5.    Living faithfully the charism is something richer and more stimulating than the simple abandonment, retreat or readjustment of houses or activities; it implies a change of mentality in the face of the mission that must be carried out.

        6.   May the charism be renewed. Every charism needs to be renewed and evangelized, and in your case especially by the poorest young people.

        7.    It is important to say that we are not formed for the mission, but that we are formed in the mission.  Our whole life revolves around it, with its choices and priorities.

        8.    Coadjutor Brothers are a living expression of the gratuitousness that the charism invites us to safeguard. Your consecration is, above all, a sign of the gratuitous love of the Lord, and to the Lord in his young people, which is not defined primarily by a particular ministry, function or service, but by a presence.

        9.    The universal presence of your Salesian Family is a stimulus and an invitation to guard and preserve the richness of many of the cultures in which you are immersed without trying to get them all to conform. 

        10.   Dream of open, fruitful and evangelizing houses capable of allowing the Lord to show so many young people His unconditional love and also allowing you to enjoy the beauty to which you have been called. Dream...

        • Papa Francesco
        • Vaticano
          José Luis Munoz

          Italy - Omegna celebrates 150th anniversary of birth of Venerable Fr Andrea Beltrami, SDB

          1 month 1 week ago
          Italy - Omegna celebrates 150th anniversary of birth of Venerable Fr Andrea Beltrami, SDB

          (ANS - Omegna) - The city of Omegna, in Piedmont, this year commemorates the 150 years since the birth of Fr Andrea Beltrami, SDB, whose beatification process is underway. Born in Omegna on June 24, 1870, he was one of Don Bosco's first followers. He was a charismatic figure, enough to fascinate the Saint of Youth himself, who said: "Of Beltrami, there is only one." He died very young: on December 30, 1897, at the age of 27. Some time later, as evidence of the link with his city, the remains were brought to the parish church of Omegna, where they are kept with affection and veneration. In 1966 he was proclaimed Venerable by Pope Paul VI.

          Thanks to the parish priest Fr Gianmario Lanfranchini, a prayer group was formed and various initiatives were promoted to make Fr Beltrami known and to spread his devotion.

          On June 24, in the collegiate of Omegna, Fr Pierluigi Cameroni, Postulator General of the Causes of Saints of the Salesian Family, gave a conference in which he presented "The oblative dimension of the Salesian charism", which finds in Fr Beltrami the "precursor" of a long group of men and women who with their testimony expressed the deep root of "Da mihi animas", manifested with the radical needs of the "cetera tolle".

          Looking at Christ Crucified and imitating Don Bosco on the path of the arbor of roses, in fact, several members of the Salesian Family have come to "desire" the cross and to gather its inner joy. Death at a young age, poverty and humility, the experience of illness, the offertory and victim spirituality, participation in the Passion of Christ and the centrality of the Eucharist are especially profound traits, which recall the fruitfulness of suffering lived in light of the paschal mystery.

          In the following Eucharist, Fr Cameroni developed the parallel between the birth of John the Baptist, as an event of grace in the history of salvation that exalts the dignity of every life, and the birth of Fr Beltrami, who in his short life "lived in the Salesian garden fenced that Don Bosco had planted and irrigated, and where many fragrant flowers bloomed by virtue and holiness."

          "The young Andrea," continued Fr Cameroni, "did not hide the talents of his master, but like a giant who runs the race of his perfection, in a short time, he did great things ... Don Bosco's gaze is something that generated the young Andrea not only to the Salesian life, but to a typical way in which the young Salesian will follow the Father of the Young on the path of the arbor of roses."

          The Rector Major also wished to underline this anniversary by sending a video message ( with which he expressed thanks to the Christian and civil community of Omegna for preserving his memory live of Fr Beltrami as an illustrious fellow citizen and as an authentic disciple of Jesus, following the Master, on the way of the Cross lived with love.

          José Luis Munoz

          Uganda – Chariet: nightingale and mechanic, promotes health among Palabek refugees

          1 month 2 weeks ago
          Uganda – Chariet: nightingale and mechanic, promotes health among Palabek refugees

          (ANS - Palabek) - "Chariet" is the stage name of Charity Pinaloya, a 20-year-old young woman with two precious talents: a sweet and melodious voice and hands that are strong enough to repair cars and motorbikes. Her past is like that of thousands of rural Ugandan girls, who fight every day to earn a living. Charity lives with her mother and six siblings at the gates of the Palabek refugee camp. With few opportunities in life, she attended an improvised state primary school and did secondary school in a refugee school, because it was free.

          After completing her secondary education, through and despite many challenges, she came across an opportunity to learn a trade that could give her a living. In fact, Charity, a Ugandan citizen of the Acholi tribe, residing just 5 km from the Salesian Vocational Training Center, was welcomed there as a student and there she completed a six-month course in Motorcycle Mechanics.

          At the Salesian school Charity met joy and hope. She found an institution that is a house that welcomed her, a school that gave her skills, a theater where she could develop her talents, a courtyard where to relax and meet friends and a church where she could pray and grow in her faith.

          Her extraordinary melodious voice and her modest character were immediately noticed by Fr Roger Mbayo, SDB, the director of the youth center, who became her guide and friend. And in addition to helping her develop her talent, the Salesians also encouraged her to continue her studies. In fact, she now attends the fourth year of secondary school in Paluda, always within Palabek, and also attends the Salesian oratory.

          During the period of confinement due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the Salesians launched an awareness-raising campaign among the refugee population. And Charity's musical talent has been of great help.

          Together they recorded two songs:

          Both were played during awareness-raising tours. Having been found captivating, the songs were accompanied by videos and soon several local radio stations started broadcasting the songs and even Ugandan Catholic TV was happy to relaunch them on their airwaves.

          In her early songs, Chariet sensitizes the population about Covid-19, but also pays homage to the benefactors of the Salesians and to Trocaire, an Irish NGO that supports anti-coronavirus prophylaxis initiatives.

          “This is what Don Bosco did and the Salesians do today: make the lotus bloom in the ponds and among the muddy pools. We discover the potential and create opportunities to develop them. As lovers of music and social causes, we promote the efforts of Chariet and many other young people to foster their talents and make their life better and meaningful,” concludes Fr Lazar Arasu, SDB, Director of the Salesian mission in Palabek.

          • Uganda
          • Musica
          • Palabek
          • Coronavirus
            Gian Francesco Romano

            Spain – A local, responsible, educational summer thanks to collaboration of 1,500 volunteers

            1 month 2 weeks ago
            Spain – A local, responsible, educational summer thanks to collaboration of 1,500 volunteers

            (ANS - Madrid) - Innovation, security, physical distancing and local action. It is with this approach that the Confederation of Don Bosco Youth Centers in Spain asks for a broader vision of the needs of children and young people for this summer in the face of the new normal that society is facing after the Covid-19 health crisis.

            Forecasts indicate that this year around 10,000 children, adolescents, and young people will participate in the summer activities of the youth centers of the Salesians and the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians. These initiatives are possible thanks to the collaboration of 1,500 volunteers who offer their free time to be at the service of others.

            In the current context, the Don Bosco Confederation believes that ordinary accompanying and leisure activities and free time must be reinvented and reoriented in a local dimension. Likewise, they argue that it is time to act in neighborhoods and villages, giving adequate solutions and looking to the local youth center as a reference point.

            The Confederation's proposal is to adapt, redesign and innovate its activities, making the reality of children and young people compatible with the established health and hygiene measures. In this context, they launch the Verano en positivo (A Positive Summer) campaign, which aims to make visible all the activities that take place in youth centers, to provide healthy and ecological resources for leisure, to transmit to families and minors a reassuring message and trust in the proposed activities, to motivate the youth centers not to interrupt their activity and to publicize their value proposition.

            With the #VeranoEnPositivo campaign, the Don Bosco Confederation defends the commitment of the Salesian Youth Centers not to stand still, working locally with responsibility, always putting the person and his or her needs at the center, paying special attention to young people at risk of exclusion.

            The Confederation believes that during this health crisis, children, adolescents, and their families were left aside when it came to establishing measures or making decisions.

            As part of its responsibility and charism, the Don Bosco Confederation will continue to take care of children and young people despite the challenges and difficulties that this pandemic is posing, and hopes to transform all this into a new opportunity to assist and accompany young people, with the conviction that the needs generated by the current situation make the work of the volunteers, the Salesians and the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians absolutely necessary.

            Today Don Bosco's phrase "The happiness of nations depends on the healthy education of young people" weighs more than ever in the hearts of all those who make up the Confederation.

            Salvi Macías


            • Spagna
            • Oratorio
            • Estate Ragazzi
            • Coronavirus
              Gian Francesco Romano

              RMG – After 150 years, the gift of the Past Pupils is renewed ... to today's "Don Bosco"

              1 month 2 weeks ago

              (ANS - Rome) – Just as Carlo Gastini, expressing the sentiment of all the Past Pupils of the Don Bosco Oratory, donated coffee cups to the Saint of Youth on June 24, 1870, so too yesterday, June 24, 2020, on the 150th anniversary of that tribute, representatives of the Past Pupils of Don Bosco gave Fr Ángel Fernández Artime a set of coffee cups, accompanied by words of sincere gratitude.

              The symbolic rite took place at the end of the Eucharist presided over by the Rector Major in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart. In the choir of the church, Vito Gentili, Salesian Past Pupil and collaborator in many initiatives carried out at the "Sacred Heart" of Rome - which houses the Salesian Generalate - said on behalf of all the Past Pupils of the world: “The figure of Don Bosco is fascinating and we see you [Fr Artime] as his Successor. We feel your closeness and encouragement towards us. Thank you for the many initiatives to strengthen the Salesian Family, for your dynamism, action, prayer and testimony.”

              “Enjoy this feast day! We assure you of our collaboration, our prayers, and all our affection!” he concluded.

              Subsequently, Biagio Narciso, a lawyer from Caserta, who recently joined the World Council of the Confederation of the Past Pupils as a representative of the Young Past Pupils (GEX) of Europe, gave the tribute to Don Bosco's Successor.

              A tribute which, in the best Salesian tradition, is not an end in itself, but has a solidarity value. In fact, the cups were accompanied by coffee from the "DI BOSCo – the Coffee of Past Pupils" project. “A project,” they reminded everyone, “that is not only based on the quality of the coffee produced, but also on the quality of the people who produce it and with whom we collaborate. The 'Gastini blend' comes from the collaboration of Past Pupil entrepreneurs from Europe and Asia, thus creating a global project.” In fact, the sale of coffee and cups produced for the anniversary, in a limited edition of 150 copies, will serve to support the educational and social projects of the Past Pupils in America, Africa and Asia.

              For his part, the Rector Major also replied with phrases coming directly from his heart as Father and Center of Unity of the Salesian Family: “Thanks to all the Past Pupils of the world! Looking at you, you make us think of all the good that is being done in the Salesian presence in the world. Because we know that for many boys and girls, to come to a Salesian house at the hands of Mary means to change one's life.”

              And finally, he concluded: “When I think of the Past Pupils I immediately think of the millions of boys and girls that we have in all our presences, and I say to myself: we must give them the best of ourselves, because one day they will be Past Pupils and Past Pupils like those we have today. Let's move on, go forward, always in communion with Don Bosco!”

              The closeness, affection and mutual gratitude between the Salesians and those who received an education according to the Preventive System are alive and tangible, today as they were 150 years ago.

              {gallery}RMG - Tazzine a RM - 2020{/gallery}

              • RMG CASA GENERALIZIA
              • Rettor Maggiore
              • Exallievi
              • Anniversari
              • Ángel Fernández Artime
                Gian Francesco Romano

                RMG – "Salesians@prayer": app for Salesian prayer already available in 8 languages

                1 month 2 weeks ago

                (ANS - Rome) - The new app "Salesians@prayer" is already available in 8 languages ​​- French, UK English, US English, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish, and Latin American Spanish; only Brazilian Portuguese is missing and will be made available as soon as possible. The app is a tool that puts all the prayers that the Salesians pray throughout the day at special weekly, monthly and during liturgical times at the disposal of communities and confreres.

                The Italian text of In Dialogue with the Lord is already available on the website and will soon be available in other languages. Each Regional Councilor, with the Provincials, will decide on the printed version.

                The revision project also includes a new edition of the "Proprio Salesian" - Missal, Lectionary and Liturgy of the Hours. These texts will be printed in various languages ​​and will eventually be available both on the "Salesians@prayer" app and on the website.

                The video tutorial clearly explains how to download the app from the iOS and Android stores and how to use it.

                "We wish you all good prayers!" concludes Fr Ivo Coelho, General Councilor for Formation.

                • RMG CASA GENERALIZIA
                • Formazione
                • Preghiera
                • App
                  Gian Francesco Romano

                  Solomon Islands – A dream come true: new "St John Bosco" primary school inaugurated in Gizo

                  1 month 2 weeks ago

                  (ANS - Gizo) - “If you want to harvest soon, plant vegetables… if you want to harvest, after a long time, fruits for generations, educate persons now.” Thus says popular wisdom. And evidently in Gizo, the capital of the Province of New Georgia, in the Solomon Islands, they have decided to invest in the future: on Saturday 13 June, in fact, in the presence of the local bishop, the Salesian Msgr. Luciano Capelli, the new primary school "St John Bosco" was inaugurated.

                  The officials of the Catholic Church Gizo Registered Trustees (Inc.) solemnly inaugurated the new, recently registered school. The ceremony was attended by 205 students, from first to fifth grade, who will benefit from the new school, alongside their parents and community representatives.

                  These children belong to various communities located in the area most affected by the 2007 tsunami, on the west side of the city of Gizo: in Nusabaruku, the fishing village and other small villages in the coves behind the fishing village, who find it difficult to reach Gizo every day by boat.

                  The new school is located on the top of the hill known locally as "Millionaire Point", now renamed with the Christian name of "Nusa-Bosco" - where "Nusa" in local language means "Island", and "Bosco" is given in tribute to the Saint of Youth.

                  If today hundreds of children can access quality education, it is primarily thanks to the help offered by the Salesian Mission Office "Don Bosco Mission Bonn" in Germany, and to the "Opera Don Bosco" Foundation in Milan, who operated in synergy with friends and benefactors of the Catholic diocese of Gizo and other foreign countries.

                  Gratitude was also expressed towards the local authorities, who leased the land used for educational purposes to the diocese.

                  On a practical level, the construction of the school was carried out by several past pupils of the local Catholic schools, the so-called Diocesan Boys, trained by the many Italian volunteers who worked hard over the past 13 years in the post-earthquake and tsunami reconstruction program of the diocese of Gizo.

                  The six classrooms and the multipurpose room are now ready for children to attend, as are the three houses for school staff. The project also included a cemented path to facilitate access to the institution, avoiding children from injuring themselves or sinking their feet into the quagmires that often arise.

                  “We are grateful to God for this gift to these 205 children who feel one in their task of growing into good Christians of their own respective churches and honest citizens of Solomon Islands. We might not see the fruits of what we are planting, the children of these children will receive the fruits of their education now their fathers and mothers now use.”

                  {gallery}Isole Salomone - DB 2020{/gallery}

                  • Isole Salomone
                  • AUL AUSTRALIA PACIFICO
                  • Luciano Capelli
                  • Vescovi
                  • Educazione
                  • Procure Missionarie
                    Gian Francesco Romano

                    Ethiopia – 24 hours a day at school with the Salesians. Thus young people at risk during confinement are "reborn"

                    1 month 2 weeks ago

                    (ANS - Addis Ababa) - Ethiopia closed schools and universities for the pandemic three months ago. All at home, even the teachers of the Salesian technical school in Addis Ababa, the heart of the "Bosco Children", directed by Fr Angelo Regazzo. But he had a problem. Indeed, a hundred. “We could not send the children gathered from the streets of Addis Ababa to the streets, they who had not yet finished the rehabilitation process to be reintegrated into their families. We would have lost them,” explains the Salesian, who opted for a radical choice. General lockdown: Salesians, young people, cooks, social workers, guardians and some workers, including the driver. All inside.

                    “It was forbidden to go out and those very few who could go out and come back, including the driver, had to disinfect and wash thoroughly at the entrance gate. In this way, we have been able to stay healthy to date, but we must not let our guard down,” he explains.

                    The confinement at the "Bosco Children" was organized in such a way that the kids were busy 24 hours a day: school, library, computer school, sports, manual work, projection of educational videos, drawing competitions, language study.

                    “As the days passed, some kids became nervous and asked to reunite with their family or some close relative. After informing ourselves about who they were going to live with, we gave them permission. They would return at the end of the emergency.” Those who left also received financial help because, says the priest, “the families of origin are already very poor.”

                    But the majority preferred to stay and face a quarantine that immediately became an educational opportunity. Meanwhile, outside, the virus was spreading. After a month in which it appeared that Covid-19 had disdained Ethiopia, according to official statistics of June 24, there are 75 victims and 4,848 infections. The government has decided not to impose the lockdown on the capital to prevent poverty from leading to starvation in the peripheries but some parts of the metropolis have been isolated and “unfortunately there is great irresponsibility on the part of people who do not keep their distance physical and do not wear a mask. The police have begun to make arrests and give high fines,” adds the Salesian.

                    "Bosco Children" is also helping those outside the fence. Thousands of street children have been collected by the Federal Police in large Assistance Centers and are also assisted with the help collected by Fr Regazzo.

                    But the strongest sign is certainly the surgical mask factory set up in the tailoring workshop. “So far we have made and distributed about 15,000 of them. Every two or three days our driver with the pickup truck brings all these goods to the street children in the Assistance Centers and to many other poor people. We also rescued the street boys and girls of the Prison-Reformation who are in dire need because of Covid-19.”

                    Paolo Viana

                    Source: Avvenire

                    • Etiopia
                    • Coronavirus
                    • Solidarietà
                    • Giovani a Rischio
                      Gian Francesco Romano

                      Spain – "Educational Second Chance" schools: opportunity for young people to recover their studies

                      1 month 2 weeks ago

                      (ANS - Madrid) - "Educational Second Chance" is an initiative of the Employment Area of ​​Pinardi, Federation of Social Platforms of the Salesians of Spain-St James Major, which aims to encourage the educational return of young people who work or seek a job and do not have the basic qualification. The school offers 10 places and is part of the "Second Chance School" model. The success of the program is due to two factors: the commitment of young people to their development and individualized personal support. All of this year's students passed their respective High School and Bachelor's degree modules and were promoted to the next course or gained access to university.

                      The first year of the project, developed by the Pinardi Employment Area in collaboration with Radio Ecca, closes with the online promotion ceremony for the 10 students of the "Pinardi Educational Second Chance School."

                      In a very moving online ceremony, the boys, girls, educators and guests attended this moment of recognition and celebration in which they recalled the three semesters, the different academic and recreational activities that they carried out in a group and how the lockdown affected them in the last few months of study.

                      The Pinardi School of Educational Second Chance was the turning point for David, one of the students of the program who had already participated in the "First Professional Experience" program. After receiving training at the UPS logistics company, he realized "that without the diploma nothing's possible, one must have at least that to be able to aspire to a better future."

                      Among the other students there is Ivan: after many unsuccessful attempts, he managed to obtain a high school diploma, combining study with work. Lucía is another young student who will not continue the project next year because she graduated.

                      Gratitude, recognition and much enthusiasm for the work done since September is what the educators who accompanied these young people day by day emphasized. As Don Bosco said: “Education is a thing of the heart. We really experienced it during this course."

                      The educators were the point of reference for the great majority of young people, and have accompanied them to the promotion ceremony, much-awaited for and dreamed of, in some cases, for 12 years.

                      After this first pilot experience, the methodological model of the "Pinardi School of Second  Educational Opportunity" will be replicated in the Salesian Social Platforms of Puertollano, Puerta del Sol and Alcalá de Henares, allowing more young people to feel protagonists of their own development and to return to study.

                      • Spagna
                      • Giovani a Rischio
                      • Federazione Pinardi
                      • Educazione
                        Gian Francesco Romano

                        Italy – Reflection and many projects for Don Bosco Past Pupils on 150th anniversary

                        1 month 2 weeks ago
                        Italy – Reflection and many projects for Don Bosco Past Pupils on 150th anniversary

                        (ANS - Rome) - Tomorrow, June 24, 2020, it will be exactly 150 years since Carlo Gastini, together with other young people from the Salesian Oratory, delivered coffee cups to Don Bosco as a thank you for the education received and on the occasion of the feast day of St. John the Baptist. The solemn anniversary is both an occasion for a profound reflection on the meaning of the mission of Don Bosco's Past Pupil in the Salesian Family in the Church and in society today, and opportunities for launching numerous initiatives.

                        A few days ago Michael Hort, the President of the World Confederation of Past Pupils of Don Bosco, shared his thoughts:

                        I am often asked how the Past Pupils belong to the Salesian Family. When we were students or lived at Salesian schools and works, we were the ones who were trained and educated. From the moment we leave these environments and become Past Pupils, we have to look for a way to remain close to Don Bosco and contribute, in our lives, to making this "circle" of the Salesian Family grow more and more.

                        I see that this is of huge importance for the Past Pupils –  developing their sense of professionalism and competence and testifying in everyday life and our society, even on the smallest occasions, to our motto that is also the title of this year’s Strenna: “being good Christians and upright citizens”. I am convinced that it is our vocation to struggle openly, publicly, against injustice, superficiality, indifference. Our professionalism allows us to be present at various levels in public life, as well as in personal life, to bear witness to the importance and meaning of being Don Bosco's children.

                        Dear members of the Salesian Family, we feel that you are an important part of our life as tutors, teachers, educators, mentors and spiritual guides.... Please remember these words: we need you, your heart, your prayers, your example and your company. At the same time, we offer you our professional skills and talents to support your service together with ours. I ask you to use our offer to help us better live out our vocation and our mission as Past Pupils. I am convinced that we all have a mutual need.

                        Because of this solemn anniversary, the Confederation has also planned several special initiatives:

                        - a book and a statue dedicated to Carlo Gastini;

                        - a book on the past pupil of Don Bosco and Blessed, Alberto Marvelli;

                        - a publication on 150 prominent figures among the Past Pupils;

                        - a publication on 150 projects and initiatives of the Past Pupils who deserve to be known to inspire others;

                        -  the coffee cups with a 150th anniversary logo: 150 special and exclusive gift packs, accompanied by a pack of coffee from the project "DI BOSCo – Coffee of Past Pupils", the sale of which will serve to support the educational and social projects of the Past Pupils in America, Africa and Asia. For further information, write to 

                        Mr. Hort concludes: "For the Past Pupils it is a blessing to be alive at this special time and to be able to see how Don Bosco’s dreams are being realized every day." 

                        • Italia
                        • Exallievi
                        • Anniversari
                          Gian Francesco Romano

                          India – "We delivered food to more than one million people in India during the pandemic"

                          1 month 2 weeks ago

                          (ANS - New Delhi) - The news from India is shocking: since the first coronavirus infection was confirmed on January 30, the cases have not stopped increasing. To date, India has recorded 440,000 cases of contagion, and 14,011 victims, and as these figures continue to grow, containment measures are beginning to be lifted.

                          The harsh quarantine imposed initially on 1.3 billion people, and subsequently extended, particularly affected the poor and migrants. A gradual return to relative normality began on 9 June, but the country is still the fourth in the world in terms of the number of infected people.

                          Coronavirus is becoming for many people, living on what they earn day by day, a matter of survival. The only concerns are being able to go home to enjoy at least a sense of emotional security and have something to eat at the end of the day.

                          Together with the "Don Bosco Network" active in India and the other Salesian NGOs operating in all the states of the country, the Salesians offer food to over 1.2 million people with prepared meals and the delivery of 170,822 essential food kits.

                          The members and volunteers of the Salesian organizations have created and distributed over half a million masks to the most needy population. From the beginning, the Salesians in India, as in the rest of the world, have concentrated their beneficial work on people in conditions of extreme poverty and greater vulnerability.

                          The "Don Bosco Network" has been at the side of the poor and displaced people since the very beginning.

                          For its part, the Salesian Mission Office in Madrid, "Misiones Salesianas", has contributed by delivering a weekly kit of food and hygiene products to hundreds of families from tribal communities in the state of Tamil Nadu. Thousands of people benefited from this action aimed at alleviating the effects of Covid-19 lockdown and preventing contagion.

                          Taxi drivers, street vendors, migrants, refugees and people living on the streets were identified. The action was also aimed at people who were alone, vulnerable elderly people and children. Everyone is helped according to their specific needs.

                          In addition to food, the Salesians have provided accommodation, transportation and medical assistance. The Salesian NGOs, for their part, worked with many local administrations to coordinate the relief work and obtain the maximum benefit.

                          • India
                          • Procure Missionarie
                          • Misiones Salesianas
                          • Solidarietà
                          • Coronavirus
                            Gian Francesco Romano

                            Argentina – Home vegetable gardens: to continue taking care of the "common home"

                            1 month 2 weeks ago

                            (ANS - Santiago el Estero) - The oratory of Santiago del Estero continues to advance its project "Jóvenes campesinos, hacia una participación responsable y sustentable" (Young farmers, towards responsible and sustainable participation). The project has been carried out since 2018 at the Salesian house with a basic training in environmental matters that includes workshops, separate waste collection and the creation of agro-ecological gardens - an element of success that is now intended to be extended to every home.

                            Pope Francis' Encyclical Laudato Sì, on the "Common Home" recalls that the Earth is "like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us"; but also underlines the importance of education and training capable of shaping a lifestyle and fostering environmental responsibility, says the Pope (LS 1 and 211).

                            To truly make the Earth a common home, it is necessary to lay the foundations for the education of future generations.

                            Encouraging the environmental commitment of young people was the first objective set to start this proposal for an integral, comprehensive impact. Thus, thanks to the contribution of the “JuWe Vereinigung Don Bosco Werk” (Switzerland), multiple initiatives have been developed over the course of almost two years to help achieve the set objectives.

                            Among the actions actually carried out - in addition to those currently suspended due to the current health crisis - training workshops on environmental issues have been developed within the "Pro-huerta" program: autochthonous forest and forest nursery, management of native forests and forests, agro-ecological gardens, education and environmental management.

                            Other concrete actions were the installation of the agro-ecological vegetable garden in the Don Bosco oratory in operation since 2019, the installation of a separate collection and recycling system for waste in the Salesian house itself, and the generation of institutional bonds promoted by the young people themselves with other realities to achieve a real impact on society.

                            Furthermore, today, in light of the growing sensitivity towards the environment, the community of the oratory begins to rethink this project to extend it to all families.

                            At the Salesian Oratory Bárbara Villalba and Nancy Campos, environmental assistants are working on the maintenance of the garden and the differentiated collection of solid waste.

                            The new proposal is to bring families a "virtual environmental program" with the aim that children can create their own gardens at home. This proposal will have a positive impact from the point of view of food assistance, responsible and healthy consumption of the family group.

                            Bárbara and Nancy are working on the seeds and collecting the permits necessary to bring or send them, according to the official regulation and the local climatic conditions of the places where each young person lives, so that their horticultural activity can be carried out with success.

                            • Argentina
                            • Ambiente
                            • Creato
                            • Laudato Si
                              Gian Francesco Romano

                              Syria – "We hoped that the worst had passed ... But we realize that we are about to starve"

                              1 month 2 weeks ago

                              (ANS - Damascus) - A cry of desperation and a cry for help comes ever louder from Syria. Below is a summary of the testimony of a collaborator from the Middle East Province (MOR), residing in Syria.

                              I am 25 years old and live in Jaramana, a neighborhood on the outskirts of Damascus that during the war welcomed many refugees (...) it received thousands of mortar rounds and witnessed several car explosions that caused hundreds of deaths.

                              After a relative stabilization between 2016 and early 2020, the current economic situation has started to change. The first reason is the economic crisis in Lebanon, (with the freezing by banks of all savings, including Syrian citizens). Lebanon is the main channel of relations and trade between Syria and the world, as well as the source of all imports.

                              Then there was the pandemic and the restrictions imposed on the population, which caused a large part of the population to lose their source of income for three months, and another part to totally lose their jobs.

                              In 2011 the exchange rate between the US dollar and the Syrian lira was 1 to 45; in recent weeks, the currency has been swaying between 2,000 and 3,000 Syrian pounds per dollar and the fear is that it may reach 5,000.

                              Average monthly wages are between 39 and 62 dollars, but the cost of living is around $ 465. It is estimated that a family of 4 consumes around $ 180 just for food.

                              People today live in conditions of extreme poverty. I personally saw some people eating from the rubbish bins, and they were not homeless: they were just hungry people!

                              The current situation is erasing any hope left and everyone reproaches himself for not having left the country ... It was better to die by trying than to live like this.

                              Everyone is concerned (...) especially after the introduction of the new sanctions imposed by the US Caesar Authority (which will strengthen existing sanctions, ie preventing anyone from doing business with Syrian institutions or from participating in the reconstruction of the Country).

                              Educational institutions have had to increase their prices by 100% and the chances of access to quality education are minimal. We hope that the construction of the new Salesian work can be carried out in Jaramana, which also includes a Vocational Training Center, first aid, medical wards and the oratory.

                              This is the worst situation Syria has ever witnessed since the beginning of the war, worse than the bombing, kidnappings and killings, because now most people are fighting hunger.

                              “In the face of so much agony," Fr Pietro Bianchi concludes, SDB, “there are no adequate words. Let's not turn off the spotlight on this situation! We, Salesians and lay people, renew our commitment not to abandon our brothers - tried and in despair. Pray for us!"

                              • Siria
                              • MOR MEDIO ORIENTE
                              • Guerra
                              • Povertà
                              • Fame
                                Gian Francesco Romano

                                Brazil – Salesian missionaries produce video in Xavante language to warn Indigenous of pandemic

                                1 month 2 weeks ago
                                Brazil – Salesian missionaries produce video in Xavante language to warn Indigenous of pandemic

                                (ANS - Nova Xavantina) - As in the entire Amazon region, the Indigenous people of Brazil are among - or segments of - the population most at risk for coronavirus. The Indigenous people of this area live far from hospitals and often have very few basic infrastructures, no specialist assistance, few medicines. The only thing left for the Salesian missionaries to do is "prevent" contagion and the risk of death. To achieve this, they have produced a video in the Salesian spirit.

                                The 15-minute video was produced and directed by the Salesian Fr Aquilino Tseré'ub'õTsirui'á, of Xavante ethnicity, and Fr Bartolomeo Giaccaria. The audiovisual tells the story of the origin of the virus, speaks of the general guidelines of transmission and prevention, and quotes the messages of Pope Francis, the Rector Major of the Salesians, and the Superior of the Province of Brazil-Campo Grande (BCG), Fr Ricardo Carlos. The editing was handled by the indigenous director of the Sangradouro mission, Divino Tserewahú, with the intention that the material be shared by the locals through apps and social networks.

                                That Covid-19 is aggressive and dangerous to the health of the Xavante is beyond doubt: in Brazil, in three months of the pandemic, official data published by the Special Secretariat for Indigenous Health reported, as of 14 June, 281 victims and 5,361 infected people.

                                From the news of the arrival of Covid-19 in Brazil, the Salesian missionaries immediately realized that the materials that spoke of prevention measures and behavior guidelines were all in Portuguese, and the Xavante did not understand them. A part of the indigenous population even refused to take preventive measures. Thus was born the idea of ​​producing the video in the Xavante language, whose focus would not have been simply prevention, but the demonstration of the existence of the disease, its origins and the fact that it is a pandemic.

                                One of the Xavante's mistakes was thinking that this disease would only affect non-indigenous people of the cities. "The video explains that coronavirus attacks everyone and that it is not enough to have Christian faith or culture to be immunized," clarifies Fr Eloir de Oliveira Gonçalves, SDB.

                                Due to the community's resources and technological access, the distribution of the video initially took place via DVD. Hundreds of disks were distributed, along with messages on WhatsApp.

                                Some Xavante have already realized the serious risks of this pandemic and are convinced of the need to follow the general rules of prevention: to reduce contacts with the non-indigenous people of cities as much as possible; avoid gatherings; use masks and other personal hygiene measures.

                                Although many continue to insist on wanting to protect themselves only by performing healing rituals and invoking the good spirits, the broadcast of this video will help to stop indigenous people from being infected and dying.

                                • Brasile
                                • BCG BRASILE CAMPO GRANDE
                                • Coronavirus
                                • Indigeni
                                • Comunicazione Sociale
                                  Gian Francesco Romano

                                  United States – “Helping Hands”. When a Salesian pupil uses his skills to give back

                                  1 month 2 weeks ago
                                  United States – “Helping Hands”. When a Salesian pupil uses his skills to give back

                                  (ANS – Ramsey) – Salesian Institute “Don Bosco Prep”, located in Ramsey, NJ, United States, has announced with proud and joy that junior Aidan Lloyd of Lodi, NJ, has received his “Eagle Scout Ranking”, and that his project is being considered for the National Eagle Scout Project of the Year. Aidan, 17, took his love of Engineering and Robotics, fostered through his involvement in Robotics classes as well as the Engineering Club at Don Bosco Prep, to create his project, “Helping Hands.” It was inspired by a troop mate from Scouts who doesn’t have a hand. Aidan is a member of Church of the Ascension Troop 291 in New Milford.

                                  Aidan first got involved with Robotics as an eighth grader at “St. Joseph School” in Oradell, as part of a grammar school summer program created by DBP and run by Fr. Lou Konopelski, SDB. Aidan became part of the Engineering/Robotics Pathway and, while working on the 3-D printer in class, fostered an interest in modelling and prosthetics.

                                  “I always had an interest in the sciences, but I really enjoyed learning about different forces in Physics class. This helped me understand and appreciate the inner workings of the hand and my project as a whole.”

                                  As part of completing an Eagle Scout project, Aidan researched and planned each step of the process. He was required to enlist, mentor, and oversee volunteers, as well as seek product donations from local businesses.

                                  Aidan bought his own 3-D printer and filament, and used STL files from a website to fabricate and print out the models for each hand, each taking about 10 hours to print. With Aidan’s guidance, two teams of eight volunteers, including fellow DBP students, assembled fifteen hands, “piece by piece, screw by screw, finger by finger, applying both physics and engineering.” Each assembly session took approximately four hours. The hand works based on tension, with little strings that go from the gripper box through the hand and up to the fingers and thumb. The fingers move and the hand can actually close.

                                  Fourteen prosthetic hands were shipped to SUNY Polytechnic University in Utica, NY for distribution. The final hand will be given, post pandemic, to his scout troop mate who inspired his project.

                                  “I am really proud of the hand and really proud of who we are helping,” Aidan said. “We really did well. It gives you the ability to be there for people without really being there.”

                                  But Aidan didn’t stop there. During this stay-at-home order, he has continued to put his 3-D printer to great use. He has made over 600 mask extenders, which is a plastic piece that hooks around the elastic of a face mask and reduces the pressure and discomfort behind the ears. Aidan’s father, a retired Sheriff’s Sergeant, has delivered them to local pharmacies and police forces, healthcare workers and first responders, and a portion has been mailed to an Air Force base in New Mexico. Last week he gave 36 extenders to Don Bosco Prep’s school nurse for distribution at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Paterson, NJ and Valley Hospital in Ridgewood, NJ.

                                  “First responders are working hard to help those who are sick every day,” Aidan said. “This is my way of helping them out.”

                                  Aidan is also a member of DBP’s Ski and Crew teams. His future plan is to major in Astrophysics and pursue a doctoral degree.

                                  “Aidan has great abilities and has accomplished an extraordinary achievement,” said President Bob Fazio. “As a student, Aidan has modelled how to maximize your great potential.”

                                  Source: Don Bosco Prep

                                  • Stati Uniti
                                  • SUE STATI UNITI EST E CANADA
                                  • Scienze
                                  • Tecnologie
                                  • Solidarietà
                                  • Coronavirus
                                    Gian Francesco Romano

                                    RMG – 150th anniversary of birth of Venerable Andrea Beltrami, SDB

                                    1 month 2 weeks ago
                                    RMG – 150th anniversary of birth of Venerable Andrea Beltrami, SDB

                                    (ANS - Rome) - The 150th anniversary of Venerable Andrea Beltrami's birth, SDB, born in Omegna on June 24, 1870, will take place on June 24th. After receiving a deeply Christian education within his family, it developed in the Salesian boarding school of Lanzo where he enters in October 1883; in 1886, he received the religious habit from Don Bosco. In the two years spent in Turin-Valsalice he entered into a spiritual friendship with the Polish prince Augusto Czartoryski, now blessed. The young Beltrami is called to assist Fr Augusto, suffering from tuberculosis. Fr Beltrami also falls ill with the same disease. On February 20, 1891, the first symptoms of an illness that would later undermine his health and lead him to the grave.

                                    The illness brings the young Beltrami a progressive consumption and forced isolation. Only the grace of faith allows him to accept that condition that day after day assimilates him more and more to the crucified Christ and that a statue of the Ecce homo, which he wanted in his room, constantly reminds him of it. "To know how to suffer": for one's sanctification, atonement and apostolate. He celebrates the anniversary of his illness as a time of grace: "February 20 is the anniversary of my illness: and I celebrate it, as a day blessed by God; auspicious day, full of joy, among the most beautiful of my life."

                                    Ordained priest in private form in Don Bosco's bedrooms by Msgr. Cagliero, with a passionate desire for holiness, he consumes his young existence in pain and incessant work: "The mission that God entrusts to me is to pray and suffer," he says. "Neither heal, nor die, but live to suffer," is his motto. To his companion who commiserates him, he replies: 'Leave,' he said, 'God knows what He is doing; for each to accept his place and in that to be truly Salesian. You other healthy people work; I ill - suffer and pray,' thus was he convinced to be a true imitator of Don Bosco.

                                    Exact in observance of the Rule, he has a filial openness with his superiors and a truly ardent love for Don Bosco and the Congregation. In the four years of his priestly life, he wrote ascetic books and devoted himself to hagiography, writing biographies of saints and volumes of pleasant and educational readings. He died on December 30, 1897, three months after Saint Teresa of the Child Jesus, of the same disease and with the same spirit of offering: he was 27 years old. His body rests in the church of Omegna.

                                    Fr Beltrami's testimony confirms Don Bosco's statement: "There is only one Beltrami", as if to indicate the originality of the sanctity of this son of his in having embodied the secret core of Salesian apostolic holiness: the fruitfulness of pain lived and offered for love.

                                    • RMG CASA GENERALIZIA
                                    • Andrea Beltrami
                                    • Santità Salesiana
                                      Gian Francesco Romano

                                      RMG – Fr Giuseppe Costa in Rector Major's secretariat and co-spokesman of Salesian Congregation

                                      1 month 3 weeks ago
                                      RMG – Fr Giuseppe Costa in Rector Major's secretariat and co-spokesman of Salesian Congregation

                                      (ANS – Rome) – The Rector Major of the Salesians Fr Ángel Fernández Artime called the Salesian Fr Giuseppe Costa to collaborate in his Secretariat also with the task of being co-spokesman for the Congregation.

                                      Fr Giuseppe Costa is already well-known in the field of Communication for his many and much-appreciated work in the Church and in the Congregation.

                                      He was a Professor at the Salesian Pontifical University. He also taught at Luiss and Lumsa. In the United States, he completed a two-year Master's degree in Journalism at Marquette University in Milwaukee.

                                      For ten years he was Director of the LEV - Libreria Editrice Vaticana.

                                      From 1983 to 1991 he was Director of the Salesian Bulletin, and always within the Congregation, he was Director of SEI - Società Editrice Internazionale, a publishing company.

                                      He is the author of publications with specific attention to religious publishing and the world of youth.

                                      He recently participated in the 28th General Chapter of the Congregation.

                                      • RMG CASA GENERALIZIA
                                      • Giuseppe Costa
                                      • Rettor Maggiore
                                      • Nomine
                                        Jesus Jurado
                                        12 minutes 14 seconds ago
                                        ANS - Agenzia Info Salesiana. Periodico plurisettimanale telematico, organo di comunicazione della Congregazione Salesiana
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