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Lebanon – Salesian efforts to alleviate refugees' physical and moral wounds

1 month 1 week ago
Lebanon – Salesian efforts to alleviate refugees' physical and moral wounds

(ANS - Beirut) - In multi-confessional Lebanon, struck by the tragedy of the explosion in the port of Beirut on 4 August last, the proximity of the Salesians to those suffering most is being expressed in many ways: by helping in reconstruction, as well as by hosting recreational activities for the poorest and most traumatized families.

In Al Fidar, on the coast, about 30 kilometers from the capital, Salesians work with young people of all ages and backgrounds, offering a diverse range of activities related to the oratory and volunteer work. Their mission has now intensified.

“We know that families who live near the port, and also those in refugee camps, far from there, continue to be afraid. The shock was powerful and we're doing everything to bring a little joy and make them forget the deafening noise of that explosion that resembled that of bombs,” says Fr Zakerian, Syrian Salesian missionary, Director of the El Houssoun center, Lebanon.

According to data from the United Nations Refugee Agency, there are 200,000 families whose homes have been seriously compromised following what was an explosion of vast proportions. Many saw their homes collapse, others have been moved because their home is unusable. Not to mention those who already lived in precarious conditions in the reception camps: among the children who attend the oratory there are several Syrian, Iraqi and Palestinian refugees.

This is why the Salesians have decided to help them overcome trauma by offering them an opportunity for recreation and community, inviting different families in various shifts to spend a week in their home in El Houssoun.

“We did it to have these people rest,” he says, “especially the children, and remove them from the tension that still exists in Beirut since the day of the explosion ... The greatest pain is to see the repercussions on the most fragile: the families of Syrian and Iraqi refugees who live near the port; the people who were physically injured and psychologically touched by the event,” continues Fr Zakerian.

“It's not just a matter of material damage, as of moral repercussions: deep, psychological wounds inflicted on a population that also includes Syrian and Iraqi refugees, who fled 'their wars', and who in Lebanon found themselves involved in yet another drama,” he adds.

As an example, the Salesian has Suray in mind, an Iraqi refugee, whose leg was wounded while escaping from the site of the explosion. “This little boy is afraid that a violent act like that might happen again; he fled Iraq with his family because of the war and now the war seems to be following him,” he explains.

At the same time, the activities of the Salesians also concern the material reconstruction of the damaged houses: “from the very first days we went with the groups of local volunteers to try to repair the shattered window panes: people could not stay with the windows smashed.”

  • Libano
  • MOR MEDIO ORIENTE
  • Rifugiati
    Gian Francesco Romano

    Spain – “Misiones Salesianas” joins Global Educational Pact proposed by Pope Francis

    1 month 1 week ago
    Spain – “Misiones Salesianas” joins Global Educational Pact proposed by Pope Francis

    (ANS - Madrid) - More than 258 million children around the world do not go to school. More than 1 billion people don't know if their classrooms will reopen after the pandemic and around 24 million will never go back to school due to coronavirus-related closures. All this is happening while Pope Francis is calling for a Global Pact for Education.

    Children's education is the first and best response to poverty. “A child who goes to school will have tools and opportunities for the future. He will acquire knowledge that will help him find a better job and a better quality of life. He will marry later, will be a more responsible parent, and will want his children to go to school. He will also know his rights and will not let them be abused, and he will participate in decision-making in his community, town or country. It is a virtuous circle that begins with a pencil, a blackboard and a school,” explains Fr Eusebio Muñoz, Head of “Misiones Salesianas”, the Salesian Mission Office in Madrid.

    "Education is at the service of that path so that every human being can be the architect of his own destiny" warns Pope Francis in his latest encyclical Fratelli Tutti.

    "Misiones Salesianas" believes that education means to foster dreaming of a future full of hope. "We are committed to and work for the integral education of children, especially the most vulnerable, so that they have opportunities in life," adds Fr Muñoz. For this reason, the Salesian institution adheres to the Global Pact for Education proposed by the Pope, which invites us to look beyond. Because education has a dimension of global citizenship to create a world where everyone has their own place and where people and the Common Home are cared for. "Never before has there been such a need to unite efforts in a broad educational alliance to form mature people, capable of overcoming fragmentation and opposition and rebuilding the fabric of relationships for a more fraternal humanity," said the Pope when he launched the proposal for a Global Education Pact.

    The pandemic today constitutes a new immense challenge in the fight against poverty and for access to education. More than 100 million people will fall into extreme poverty as a result of the health crisis. Millions of people will no longer have opportunities for their future. "Misiones Salesianas", once again, claims and reiterates the power of education to fight poverty and change the future of millions of people.

    Mamadou, Raj, Grace, Tonmoy, Elena, Jon… They know the power of pencils and books. These are some of the more than 2.3 million children and young people who receive education in Salesian educational centers around the world. But, above all, they are children and young people who look to and at the present with hope.

    • Spagna
    • Procure Missionarie
    • Misiones Salesianas
    • Educazione
      Gian Francesco Romano

      Italy – Good Christians and Upright Citizens in the heart of Rome, serving the homeless

      1 month 1 week ago
      Italy – Good Christians and Upright Citizens in the heart of Rome, serving the homeless

      (ANS - Rome) - The Salesian commitment to fight Covid-19 is a global initiative as much as the pandemic is global, and has not left any Salesian Province or presence in the world indifferent. This is true not only in the extreme peripheries of the Congregation, but also at its base: last Friday, at the "Sacred Heart" in Rome, which houses the Salesian Headquarters, the young people of the Salesian oratory, in collaboration with the international volunteer organization "Serve the City", distributed health kits for the prevention of coronavirus infections to the homeless around Termini station.

      While Covid-19 has returned to lash European countries with greater vigor, and again, as in the spring, the Italian authorities have issued provisions and limitations to invite people, young and old, to stay at home, moved by Salesian charism (good Christians) and civic commitment (upright citizens) the young volunteers scoured the streets of the center of Rome to give hope and help to people without a shelter.

      From 19 to 24 October, the volunteers of “Serve the City - Rome” activated a campaign to collect anti-contagion products, carried out through social networks and word of mouth; for the collection of materials they were also able to count on the quarters of the "Sacred Heart" and the Salesian oratory-youth center, which is coordinated by Fr Francisco Santos. Thus, thanks to the solidarity of many individual citizens, Italians and foreigners, it was possible to assemble over a hundred "health kits" each containing a bottle of sanitizer, two masks, and packs of moistened tissues and paper tissues.

      On the evening of Friday 23, the distribution to the homeless took place. It was led by the boys and girls of the "Sacred Heart" oratory in Rome who, every Friday evening, as part of the activities of the "“La Banca dei Talenti, the Bank of Talents", are in the streets distributing food and drinks, why they can already boast a good knowledge of the people of the area, their stories and needs.

      “The spirit of our organization, born in Belgium about 15 years ago and then spread to many areas around the world, is to work in collaboration with organizations that are already present in the territory. Our interest, in fact, is not to replace anyone, but to create connections between resources and needs,” explains Caterina Berardi, coordinator of “Serve the City - Roma”.

      In line with the theme of the International Forum of "Serve the City", also held over the weekend just ended, the distribution of kits and meals took place under the motto "Spread Kindness". And given the happy experience achieved, the volunteers of both groups have decided to renew their commitment to cooperate in favor of those who live on the street, creating new expeditions to help them cope with the Covid-19 emergency and the cold of the forthcoming winter.

      {gallery}ICC - Servizio ai senzatetto 2020{/gallery}

      • Italia
      • Sacro Cuore
      • ICC ITALIA CIRCOSCRIZIONE CENTRALE
      • Coronavirus
      • Solidarietà
        Gian Francesco Romano

        Uganda – UN awards Salesian missionaries' work in Palabek for production of masks during pandemic

        1 month 1 week ago
        Uganda – UN awards Salesian missionaries' work in Palabek for production of masks during pandemic

        (ANS - Palabek) - The production and distribution of over 24,000 masks in the Palabek refugee camp in northern Uganda has earned Salesian missionaries recognition from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The symbolic award gives even more value to the work of the Salesians among the approximately 56,000 refugees present in the camp, mostly women and children who fled the war in South Sudan.

        Even before the coronavirus arrived, living conditions in Palabek were not easy: food distribution was scarce and there were difficulties in accessing drinking water. With the arrival of the pandemic, everything has become even more complicated. The amount of food delivered to refugees once a month has been reduced by 30%; classes and activities were suspended and episodes of violence, alcoholism and teenage pregnancies began to appear.

        Since March the Salesian missionaries have remained here to share this particular and complicated confinement with all the camp's other guests. In an area of ​​400 square kilometers and with more than 25,000 children and young people, the goal has always remained to carry out concrete actions in their favor.

        The Don Bosco Technical School, inaugurated in January 2019, has continued to operate thanks to the project of making masks. Despite very limited material resources, some young volunteers from the sewing workshop have begun to make these fundamental protective devices.

        In the first months of the pandemic alone, more than 10,000 masks were distributed to the refugee population and administrative staff of the settlement. Uganda’s Minister for Refugees, Hilary Onek, visited the settlement in July and praised the Salesian project. "The Don Bosco Center was very innovative and a pioneer in the production of masks not only in the settlement, but throughout the nation," she said.

        The Salesian missionaries were involved in this initiative and in other initiatives to help the population: distribution of seeds, hygiene products, clothing. “We had to start almost from scratch in Palabek,” said the Salesian missionary of Uruguayan origins Fr Ubaldino Andrade.

        The work carried out by the missionaries in recent months has made it possible to create, together with the UNHCR, the project "Masks for refugees and the host community". For this reason, the United Nations Refugee Agency has recognized the pioneering work of Salesian missionaries in the settlement and in the country, with the issue of this special diploma.

        Now the authorities of the settlement are studying, together with the missionaries, new proposals for income-generating activities for refugees. Success in manufacturing face masks for the refugee community could, indeed, be the first step towards making uniforms for schools and other agricultural activities.

        Source: COPE

        • Uganda
        • AGL AFRICA GRANDI LAGHI
        • Palabek
        • Coronavirus
        • ONU
          Gian Francesco Romano

          Chile – Faced with violence, Archbishop of Santiago and Provincial of Salesians call for dialogue

          1 month 1 week ago
          Chile – Faced with violence, Archbishop of Santiago and Provincial of Salesians call for dialogue

          (ANS - Santiago) - On the afternoon of Sunday 18 October, the churches dedicated to Maria Assunta and St Francesco Borgia in the center of Santiago were attacked by local demonstrators: the church of the Assumption was totally destroyed, while the second, the institutional chapel of the Carabinieri, was damaged, but was saved by the intervention of the Fire Department. The attacks took place on the first anniversary of the social mobilization that began with marches and clashes that left thousands injured and thirty dead and put Sebastián Piñera's government in crisis. The archbishop of Santiago, Msgr. Celestino Aós, and the Provincial of the Salesians of Chile, Fr Carlo Lira, expressed their views on the matter.

          We never justify violence,” said Msgr. Aós. “Violence is bad, and those who sow violence reap destruction, pain and death. Already a year ago we suffered an explosion of violence that caused us so much personal pain and so much material destruction that we thought it would have been a bitter and powerful lesson. It cost us to rebuild our structures, and it required constant sacrifice and hardship from the poorest; life has been made more painful for them.

          The poor are the most damaged. We hoped that these actions and images would not repeat themselves. Today we again suffer from violent actions and images of vandalism. We are saddened by the destruction of our temples and other public goods; but above all we feel the pain of many Chileans. Peaceful and generous people. These images not only affect and wound Chile, but also affect and wound in other countries of the world, especially our Christian brothers.”

          Fr Lira commented: “In Chile, there are some groups that have to do with 'deconstructionism', with gender ideology, feminism and extremist philosophies, which want to attack the Church for the fact of representing a type of traditional values, for the fact that the Gospel is an important part of the structure of Western society and its cultural heritage.

          Others are indifferent, as atheists or agnostics, and have no metaphysical concept of faith, which allows them to be indifferent to acts of profanation.

          But perhaps the most serious thing is that in Chile we are losing the capacity for dialogue; our society has become so polarized that today violence is legitimized as a means of expression and achievement of desired goals. The distrust of everything and everyone, in particular towards political, economic, security and religious institutions, means that there are no valid channels of expression and dialogue.

          Today we have the great challenge of accompanying these legitimate concerns to achieve greater justice and equity, but also of demonstrating that it is possible to do so through dialogue and agreements and the pursuit of the common good, and that violence will never be the way to achieve peace,” he concluded.

          • Cile
          • CIL CILE
          • Violenze
          • Vescovi
            Gian Francesco Romano

            Mongolia – Shuwuu parishioners grateful for new church

            1 month 1 week ago
            Mongolia – Shuwuu parishioners grateful for new church

            (ANS - Shuwuu) - Since 2016, the Catholic Prefecture of Mongolia has entrusted the Salesians of the Mongolian Delegation with a rural town called Shuwuu, about 40 km from the capital Ulanbaatar. Previously, from the earliest days of the Catholic mission, Shuwuu had been entrusted to the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary; it featured a social work, a kindergarten and a space devoted to agriculture. Then, the late Bishop Venceslao Padilla, who passed away in 2018, entrusted this promising community to the Salesians.

            During the last 4 years, this small Catholic community has slowly grown thanks to the care of two Salesians, Fr Mário Gaspar dos Santos, a Timorese missionary, and Fr Jaroslav Vracovský, a missionary from the Czech Republic. In recent years, 76 parishioners have committed, even with difficulty, to finding and creating an adequate place of worship, since the local population could not afford to build it with their own means. Now, finally, they have a new church at their disposal.

            The parish is not just a place of prayer or catechesis: there is also an oratory for local children and young people. Also, for the local population, the Catholic community of Shuwuu offers drinking water and shower facilities. The parish of Shuwuu is thus open and at the service of the area's entire population.

            The best expression of gratitude for this new church, now almost complete, comes from one of the parish's oldest members: “My God, I'm praising you for our new beautiful Church. Soon our bishop will arrive and bless it and it will become a real Church, where we will listen to the Word of God, learn from Him, spread it around the world.”

            On behalf of all the confreres, Fr Paul Leung, Delegate for Mongolia, expressed his gratitude to all the benefactors. “Dear friends, that our new Church construction is finishing and we are grateful to all donors and believe that also in the future you will support us as you did from the beginning. May God bless you all!,” he wrote. The parishioners, now praying for new missionaries to arrive in Mongolia, were also pleased and grateful.

            Meanwhile, the Salesians and all the Catholics of Mongolia expressed their joy at the arrival in the country of Msgr. Giorgio Marengo, Italian bishop and missionary appointed last April by Pope Francis as apostolic prefect of Ulanbaatar.

            • Mongolia
            • Missioni
            • VIE VIETNAM
              Gian Francesco Romano

              India – A “Widow’s Mite” story

              1 month 1 week ago
              India – A “Widow’s Mite” story

              (ANS – Boddupalli) – This story needs to be said. It’s not a story of massive donations received and distributed to the needy during the pandemic. This is the true story of a different kind of “Widow’s Mite”. But a story which was long in the making. Four very young little heroes, school children who are members of our Human Rights Clubs.

              Salesian ONG “People’s Action For Rural Awakening” (PARA) has an ongoing program of Human Rights Education in government run schools in the state of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Children learn that human rights education is for human rights defense. And, that it’s the right of others more than their own rights that they are standing up for. The pandemic brought out the best in many of them. This is one of the many such stories.

              “Bosco Seva Kendra” the Development Office of the St. Joseph’s Province of Hyderabad (INH) is involved in extensive relief operation in many parts of the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. In and around Hyderabad it also collaborated with PARA to reach out to needy children of the human rights clubs established by PARA. One such club is “Baba Saheb Ambedkar Human Rights Club” of Boddupalli village. Here one may recall that Baba Saheb Ambedkar hailed from a family of untouchables yet grew up to become the chief architect of the Indian Constitution.

              Prabhu Sharan, Swati, Thirumalesh and Venkatesh are the leaders of the club. When they received the relief kits consisting of mask, sanitizer, toilet articles, food grains, cereals, onions and oil they realized that in their houses they had sufficient provisions for the coming fortnight. They thought of other children who would not have provisions even for the next day. They travelled to Kollapadukal village and gave all their provisions to Mahesh, Akhilesh, Arun and Swatik. Incidentally, they belonged to the “Don Bosco Human Rights club” of Zilla Parishad Government High School. When the parents of the children asked why was it they were handing over to them the relief kits the kids had received, they replied that they had enough for the coming days and it was only fitting that they reached out to those who have nothing.

              The children were not sure if the lockdown would be lifted and they would not be running out of provisions for their own families. That did not matter to them. Every day during the school assembly they had been taking the oath “India is my country; all Indians are my brothers and sisters... And in their wellbeing lies my happiness”.

              Infront of the office of PARA are two statues: one of Ambedkar and another of Don Bosco. Below the statue of Don Bosco is a plaque with the words: “Friend of Youth, Teach Us” and plaque below the statue of Ambedkar reads: “Architect of our Constitution Lead Us”.

              Yes, the two years of working with children before the pandemic in moulding a human rights culture in them, after all was not in vain!

              Fr Thomas Pallithanam, SDB

              Incident narrated by Mr. Ashok Gowd,

              Human Rights Education Coordinator, Hyderabad District

              • India
              • INH INDIA HYDERABAD
              • Giovani Leader
              • Bambini
              • Coronavirus
              • Solidarietà
                Gian Francesco Romano

                Chile – Salesian Cooperators and actions that contribute to human brotherhood

                1 month 2 weeks ago
                Chile – Salesian Cooperators and actions that contribute to human brotherhood

                (ANS - Iquique) - Throughout 2019 and 2020, Chile has been experiencing two unprecedented events: a severe social crisis and a pandemic that has forced everyone to confine themselves to their homes. But these events did not prevent the Salesian Cooperators (SSCC) from continuing to maintain community life and to help those most in need.

                When the pandemic arrived in Chile, the Salesian Cooperators sent a letter to the local communities inviting them to carry out various initiatives. Among the first, there was that of encouraging - with a message of affection - closeness and hope for those who were most vulnerable and depressed, as well as being attentive to the needs of the poorest and therefore persevering in the works of spiritual and corporal mercy.

                The community of Salesian Cooperators of Iquique has maintained its contribution to the “Divine Providence” solidarity table at the Sacred Heart of Jesus Shrine in the city, a place that continues to serve 70 to 80 people living in the streets and people affected by Covid 19 and its consequences.

                One of the most significant aids that the group made was in Santiago, where it channeled an important donation of food to the "Domenico Savio" parish of San Ramón, to the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (FMA) and to the "community pots" of the municipality by El Bosque.

                In general, most of the communities in the country have been concerned with supporting the "community pots", or food kitchens, that have proliferated throughout Chile.

                The Salesian Cooperators understand their apostolate of solidarity as part of their group mission part of the Salesian Family and of the Church, and they believe that as lay people they must be especially supportive wherever they are, making the "spirituality of daily life" a given fact and task.

                For Sergio Yañez, National Coordinator of the Salesian Cooperators, it would be inconsistent to be alienated, or ddetached, from the current national context. "As Christians, we must express ourselves politically in view of the common good, especially since today it is imperative to be a serious contribution to help 'dream' the country we want," he said.

                “The communion of the Salesian Family is expressed in the sharing of life and mission. It is something indispensable to continue to help - not only those affected by this pandemic, and to contribute to the construction of the Kingdom of God in a permanent way, by looking especially to the salvation of young people - those who must be the protagonists to deal with the humanitarian difficulties of any reach and to give meaning to life, as missionary disciples of Jesus Christ. Without neglecting, of course, our presence in the world, as an 'outgoing Church'," he concluded.

                {gallery}Cile - SSCC 2020{/gallery}

                • Cile
                • CIL CILE
                • Coronavirus
                • Solidarietà
                • Salesiani Cooperatori
                • Fratellanza
                  Gian Francesco Romano

                  India – Innovative lung ventilator designed by Assam Don Bosco University professor

                  1 month 2 weeks ago
                  India – Innovative lung ventilator designed by Assam Don Bosco University professor

                  (ANS - Guwahati) - With 7,706,946 confirmed cases and 116,653 deaths, India has become the second country in the world, after the United States, to be most affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. This growing emergency has resulted in a skyrocketing demand for pulmonary ventilators. Thus, Dr. Bobby Sharma, of "Assam Don Bosco University", based in Guwahati, Assam State, took up the challenge and designed an internationally recognized, low-cost, easy-to-use and easy-to-build mechanical ventilator able to facilitate invasive, non-invasive, and CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) ventilator regulation.

                  Using a particular integrated control panel, this device allows the doctor to control all the necessary parameters, including airflow pressure, minute volume, and oxygen concentration. Auxiliary equipment related to the inspiratory/expiratory functions, such as airway hoses, can be connected to the machinery through two universal connection ports.

                  Unlike most existing ventilators, this device can integrate compressed-air oxygen with oxygen extracted directly from the surrounding environment. Based on the "pressure vacuum swing absorption technique" (PVSA), this device can convert ambient air into a gas mixture, composed of 88-92% oxygen by extracting and removing nitrogen; in other words, it can provide care simply via ambient air enrichment.

                  The innovative ventilator designed by the professor of the Salesian University was selected to participate in the competition organized by the "Montreal General Hospital Foundation" and by the Research Institute of the "McGill University Health Center", in Montreal, Canada. Dr. Sharma's creation was ranked among the 65 best ventilators in the world out of 2,639 participants, 1,029 teams and 94 countries competing.

                  Assam Don Bosco University (ADBU) is an initiative of the Salesians of the Guwahati Province, inaugurated in 2008. Winner of the "University of the Year  for Excellence in Commitment and Entrepreneurship for 2020 – Asia Pacific" Award and considered, in 2018, "University of the Year" among Indian universities existing for 1-10 years, ADBU has earned a place of honor among Indian universities for having managed in this time of pandemic, to adapt all the teaching, tests and exams in online mode, seamlessly.

                  "We have succeeded thanks to the dedication of our Faculty and our staff in putting our students' interests first ... And we have been supported in our efforts by our experience in distance education developed over the last ten years," said the Rector of the University, Fr Stephen Mavely.

                   

                  • India
                  • ING INDIA GUWAHATI
                  • Coronavirus
                  • Scienze
                  • Tecnologie
                  • ADBU
                  • Università
                    Gian Francesco Romano

                    RMG – EAO Region Salesian Cooperators Meeting

                    1 month 2 weeks ago
                    RMG – EAO Region Salesian Cooperators Meeting

                    (ANS – Rome) – For the first time in history, the EAO Region Salesian Cooperators and their delegates met online on 3 October 2020 for two hours. Mr Philip Yu, World Councillor for the EAO region moderated the meeting, attended by Mr. Antonio Boccia, World Coordinator ASC, Br. Dominic Nam, World Delegate SDB, Fr Joseph Phuoc EAO Regional Councillor SDB, and 30 Salesian Cooperators and Delegates from 20 different locations.

                    The World Coordinator shared briefly the solidarity during the pandemic with some ASC (Angola, Nicaragua etc) and introduced with a few slides all 11 ASC regions (members, aspirants and centres). Aside from the almost 30,000 promised members, the highest numbers of Aspirants are in the regions of Interamerica (USA, Canada, Mexico) with 816 and in Spain-Portugal region (603 aspirants).

                    Most of the time was dedicated to sharing the present situation and Laudato Si’ environment action in each province. The large variety of situations made it really very interesting. From tree planting with young people (Samoa), Laudato Si awareness campaign (Korea), No trash policy in SF meetings (FIN), stop the use of plastic bags (GIA) to reforestation action (TLS). Since 4 October is the last day of the ‘Season of Creation’, all participants were encouraged to continue the path of Don Bosco Green Alliance in their ordinary activities.

                    Among the common traits is also a constant growth of new ASC vocations: in Samoa at present time some 15 Aspirants are almost ready for their promise, Vietnam province received a promise of 51 young Cooperators, on the next day, October 4.

                    Br. Dominic Nam has prepared an enthusiastic message (full text on Boscolink). Starting from the short message of Fr. Joan Lluis Playa (Delegate of the RM for the Salesian Family), he has developed three points on the daily miracles of solidarity, mission going beyond our activities and a strong sense of communion in the Salesian Family to be really the salt of the earth and light of the world:

                    Thank to this blessed technology we can still be in touch and get closer to one another. It allows us to reach out to many people. With just one click, we can see thousands of meaningful works done in different parts of the world. It is true that miracles happen everyday before our eyes…. People who make miracles happen everyday, are members of the Salesian family all over the world.

                    …We also can ask ourselves the same question as SDB during their Chapter 28: “What kind of Salesian Cooperators for the youth of today?” How should we live our vocation actively and how do we share the mission with the Salesians? Also in Valdocco we have our model, the first lay cooperator, Mamma Margaret. She cooperated with her son until her last breath. She dedicated her life totally for the salvation of the poor youth. Sometimes we confuse mission with work, with activities. Instead, mission is a response to God’s call; it consists in bringing God to people, people to God and bringing people to Creation to protect the Nature…

                    … My dear Salesian Cooperators - eco-friendly Salesian Cooperators - with your unique identity, your presence in the Salesian mission, in your working place and in the world. You should have a strong sense of communion with the other members of the Salesian Family. You commit yourselves to the same mission to youth and to ordinary folk in a fraternal and united way. (PAL art. 6) and art. 16 says: “Salesian Cooperators know they are “in intimate solidarity” with the society in which they live and for which they are called to be light, salt, and leaven.

                    Also the new EAO SDB Regional Councillor Fr. Phuoc raised the spirits of the participants with his clear message about reciprocity of relationships within the Salesian Family: “Without the Salesian Cooperators the SDBs can’t keep their identity and also without the support of the SDB our Salesian Cooperators would not be able to live fully their Salesian lay vocation in the world”.

                    Among the 35 participants all 8 EAO SC provinces (CIN, FIN, FIS, GIA, KOR, THA, TLS and VIE) were present, together with some other groups (not yet established as provinces) like Mongolia, Samoa, Singapore and Myanmar. The meeting was a good chance to welcome many new Delegates – Fr. Lourenco Neves (TLS), Fr Bosco Park (KOR), Fr Noby Tamura (GIA), Fr Peter Niphon (THA). Also the ‘solemn’ presentation of the newly born Timor Leste province by their Coordinators and the presence of 4 FMA delegates (CIN, FIN, TLS, THA) was appreciated a lot.

                    Looking forward, probably this kind of EAO meeting is not the last. Next EAO Regional Congress was the last point of the agenda.

                    The EAO Salesian Cooperators made a history with this meeting. Now they are even closer than before, for some of them just ‘one click’ distance to far away lands.

                    The full text of Br Nam Message and all sharing of the first EAO ASC online meeting are available on BoscoLink

                    • Asia EstOceania
                    • Salesiani Cooperatori
                    • Joseph Nguyen Thinh Phuoc
                      Gian Francesco Romano

                      Italy – Distant, but united: Corsa dei Santi 2020 will be a "virtual race" version

                      1 month 2 weeks ago

                      (ANS - Turin) – This year the restrictions imposed for the containment of Covid-19 prevent the "Race of the Saints" - the sporting and solidarity event promoted by the Salesians on the occasion of the Feast of All Saints - from taking place in the manner that previously characterized it. Nonetheless, the event, promoted by "Missioni Don Bosco", the Salesian Mission Office of Turin, has been scheduled, albeit in a different form, and fully respecting the inspiring principles that have always guided it: as a collective celebration, sporting event and instrument of solidarity. The 2020 edition will, in fact, be a "virtual race": from 7:00 on 30 October 2020 to 20:00 on 3 November 2020 (UTC +1), anyone can participate in the event by running 10 kilometers on any track.

                      It will be a remote event realized thanks to the Gps tracking system created by "TDS" through an app, which will allow participants, once downloaded, to be able to record their performance in real-time, to check the kilometers traveled at any time, relate the individual route to what would have been the traditional route of the Corsa dei Santi in Rome, and at the end of the 10 km, to indicate the virtual ranking position of each competitor.

                      Even if at a distance, the "Race of the Saints" will thus unite thousands of running fans in the sign of solidarity.

                      And this year too, the Race of Saints will also serve to provide concrete support to Salesian initiatives in the world, thanks to the solidarity campaign "Your love can break down the bars".

                      This year's project is aimed at minors deprived of their liberty in prisons around the world. According to the United Nations, more than one million children and young people around the world are deprived of their liberty in prisons or in child detention centers, accused of petty crimes. Of them, 59% are awaiting trial, treated as criminals when in reality they would instead need support and social assistance.

                      Following Don Bosco’s thought, according to whom the change of young people takes place through education, the Salesians work in detention centers to make these young people feel the joy of being listened to and someone paying attention to them.

                      The action of the Salesians takes the form of specific interventions in the different realities and in the different phases of the detention process: in Freetown, Sierra Leone, the Salesian missionaries are today the only ones who can enter the Pademba prison, where they bring food, water and medicine, offering support and guidance. In Italy, they have been engaged for years in juvenile prisons with an educational action that provides for prevention, support for school integration, sports and workshop activities, social reintegration.

                      In Luanda, Angola, they work to give access to alternative measures to the prison system; in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, they take care of animation in prison, thanks to the "Brigada de la Alegria"; in Chennai, India, the reintegration of young people in the society…

                      It is for all these young people that the project “Your love can break down the bars” was conceived.

                      Further information on the website: www.missionidonbosco.org 

                      • Italia
                      • Corsa dei Santi
                      • Sport
                      • Missioni Don Bosco
                      • Carceri
                        Gian Francesco Romano

                        Spain – Mediterranean Region Councilor visits Council of Salesian Province "Mary Help of Christians"

                        1 month 2 weeks ago

                        (ANS - Seville) - The second working session of the Council of the "Spain-Mary Help of Christians" (SMX) Province took place from 13 to 15 October in Seville. In addition to the Provincial, Fr Angel Asurmendi, his Vicar, the Economer, and five Councilors, the Regional Councilor for the Salesian Mediterranean Region, Fr Juan Carlos Pérez Godoy, also made a stop in Seville to accompany the work done by the SMX Province, this during his itinerary of animation of the ten Salesian Provinces present in Italy (6), Portugal, Spain (2) and the Middle East.

                        Among the topics dealt with in the Council session are the new organization of the teams of the Youth Ministry Delegation, the work of the new councilors, the state of health of the religious and the situation of the schools after the summer break. The various Delegations commented on the start of the new year and the topics discussed in the meeting of the Provincials of the Mediterranean Region and the Iberian Conference were communicated. There was also the opportunity to reflect on various formative documents that emerged during both meetings.

                        The fraternal meeting with the Regional Councilor served to share common elements for the region and to outline the roadmap for the coming years. Some of the topics dealt with, also presented in the first interview granted by the Councilor to ANS, were the challenges linked to vocational fruitfulness; the revitalization of Salesian consecrated life; attention to the poorest young people at risk of exclusion, with special attention to immigration; and the missionary horizon.

                        In addition to working with the Regional Councilor, they also proceeded to analyze topics related to other issues that Council members presented, and there was also time for personal talks and interviews.

                        The session ended with the first meeting of the community directors of this new pastoral year, which took place on 15 and 16 October, online.

                        • Spagna
                        • SMX SPAGNA MARIA AUSILIATRICE
                        • Juan Carlos Pérez Godoy
                          Gian Francesco Romano

                          Brazil – Belo Horizonte Province launches "InovaSalê", an innovative project in collaboration with "TOTVS"

                          1 month 2 weeks ago

                          (ANS - Belo Horizonte) - On 6 October the "St John Bosco" Province of Brazil-Belo Horizonte (BBH) launched the "InovaSalê" project, created in collaboration with the "TOTVS" company. The project will serve to enable integrated management with a focus on corporate governance and process innovation of the BBH Province and its works.

                          The launch of this initiative, conducted by the team responsible for its implementation at the Provincial Center of Belo Horizonte, was broadcast live for all collaborators and interested people.

                          A video by BBH Provincial, Fr Natale Vitali, introduced the project, explaining its importance. Everyone was invited to get to know "InovaSalê", which will be an integrated platform for innovation and technological solutions in favor of the whole Province and its work.

                          Rodrigo Silveira Amaral, a representative of TOTVS and developer of the new system, then intervened on the customization of the project to meet the needs of the Province, while the administrative director of BBH, Marcio Sigaud Ferreira Filho, listed the needs to be met through the project, approved by the Provincial Council in July 2020, but which was carefully examined in the research and study phase for implementation over the last three years.

                          In the coming months, the systems of all the units will be integrated to form a single platform. After the preparation phase, with the mapping of activities and processes currently underway, the new system is now entering the "redesign" phase that will cover all areas of the Province. The following phases will be "Construction", "Transition" and "Implementation". At the end of the process, all current systems will be migrated and will communicate with each other, facilitating the functions performed in daily work.

                          The objective of this whole process is that all users feel guided and motivated, and that all solutions are implemented and available, generating the benefits that the new system will bring on a daily basis.

                          All the necessary steps will be communicated to the employees and personnel involved, and will follow this timetable: start-up phase, completed on 15 October; completion of the first phase, as of March 3, 2021; completion of the entire project on July 19, 2021.

                          • Brasile
                          • BBH BRASILE BELO HORIZONTE
                            Gian Francesco Romano

                            East Timor – Fr Ilídio Eduardo do Rosário Correia, SDB, passed away

                            1 month 2 weeks ago
                            East Timor – Fr Ilídio Eduardo do Rosário Correia, SDB, passed away

                            (ANS – Dili) – After one year of the passing away of Fr. João de Deus Pires, SDB, the Salesian Family in the East Timor Vice-Province (TLS), particularly the Salesians of Don Bosco, has again felt the loss of one of its members, Rector of the Postnovitiate House Blessed Artemide Zatti Comoro, dear Rev. Fr. Ilídio Eduardo do Rosário Correia, SDB, due to a heart attack. This beloved Salesian left this world while celebrating the Eucharist on Mission Sunday, this 18 October 2020.

                            He was about to read the names for birthday intentions, yet he was silent for a minute, stopped for a while then softly fell into the arms of people who were trying to help him. He was rushed to the hospital, but the doctors couldn’t help him either. Around 10.45 am (local time), Fr. Lito (his nickname) went to the loving embrace of the Father.

                            On the following day, Monday 19 October 2020, there was a funeral Mass for Fr. Lito. The Archbishop of Dili, Most Rev. Virgílio do Carmo da Silva, SDB, presided over the Eucharist celebration, concelebrated by around sixty priests, mostly Salesians and diocesan priests from three dioceses in East Timor. His Excellency Bishop Basílio was there as well. As the homilist, the TLS Provincial Superior, Fr. Apolinário Maria Ornai Neto, SDB, gave a deep reflection on celebrating the Paschal mystery of Christ himself and stated that the life of Fr. Lito was truly a great love for the Church and the Congregation.

                            Before the Mass ended, there were four witnesses, namely Fr. Apolinário, Bishop Basílio, Sr. Alma Castagna, Provincial of the FMA, and Archbishop Virgílio himself depicting in different ways the life of Fr. Lito. One Salesian past pupils, Mr. Joao Câncio, ex-minister of Education, from the part of the family of Fr. Lito, recited a poem and sang a song in great esteem of Fr. Lito. After the Mass, all participants were bringing flowers and candles and praying in a procession with a hearse carrying Fr. Lito to his resting place.

                            The TLS Salesians now express: “What a beautiful witness of his life! On 18 of October, he was celebrating the Eucharist and yet he was called suddenly going back to where he was. …. Fr. Lito was an energetic and passionate man, full of promise and potential who had his own brand of playing music that could lighten the heart and mind of any listener. He was always wearing a smile in his face! He made himself always be available to the people regarding the sacraments! He was truly a faithful son of Don Bosco whose heart is always beating for the young people!”

                            {gallery}TLS - Decesso don Lito{/gallery}

                            • Timor Est
                            • TLS TIMOR EST
                            • Decessi
                              Gian Francesco Romano

                              India – Don Bosco School Mebo has clean water access with new tanks thanks to Salesian Missions ‘Clean Water Initiative’

                              1 month 2 weeks ago
                              India – Don Bosco School Mebo has clean water access with new tanks thanks to Salesian Missions ‘Clean Water Initiative’

                              (ANS – Mebo) – “Don Bosco School Mebo”, in the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, has clean water access thanks to funding received by Salesian Missions “Clean Water Initiative,” which enabled it to build underground water tanks to harvest rainwater. Two of the three tanks have been constructed with the third delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. The water tanks have been completed at the school and near the boys’ hostel. A final tank will be built near the girls’ hostel.

                              Don Bosco School Mebo provides education for 120 boys and 100 girls ages 5-15. There are 125 students who board at the school, along with 12 teachers. Most of the children attending the school come from poor families in the region.

                              The school needed its own water supply since there are no water sources supplied by the local government. Students and teachers had to use the river for bathing and washing clothes. The water was not safe, and there was a drowning risk for students. Drinking water was collected in small tanks that were not enough to supply the school. The new water tanks will provide clean water access for drinking, bathing and washing clothing, decreasing the risk of waterborne illness for staff and students.

                              “The water tank was completed before the monsoon season, and we collected the water from the school roof,” explained Father Mathew Palackel, provincial economer. “We also made small filter tanks to purify the water before it’s collected in the main tank. The purification is done by letting the water go through bricks, sand and charcoal.”

                              With more than 1.3 billion people, India’s growing population is putting a severe strain on the country’s natural resources. According to Water.org, close to 77 million people do not have access to safe water, and 769 million have no sanitation services. Most water sources throughout the country are contaminated by sewage and agricultural runoff.

                              While India has made some progress in the supply of safe water, there remain gross disparities in safe water access across the country. The World Bank estimates that 21 percent of communicable diseases in India are related to unsafe water with diarrhea alone causing more than 1,600 deaths daily. Access to proper sanitation is extremely poor, particularly in rural areas where only 14 percent of the population has access to a latrine.

                              In response to this crisis, Salesian Missions has developed a “Clean Water Initiative” that has made building wells and supplying fresh, clean water a top priority for every community in every country in which Salesian missionaries work.

                              Source: MissionNewswire

                              {gallery}IND - Mebo 2020{/gallery}

                              • India
                              • Acqua
                              • IND INDIA DIMAPUR
                              • Missioni
                              • Procure Missionarie
                                Gian Francesco Romano

                                Portugal – “E-vangelizar” week brings together over 1680 pastoral workers

                                1 month 2 weeks ago
                                Portugal – “E-vangelizar” week brings together over 1680 pastoral workers

                                (ANS - Porto) - "E-vangelizar", the formation initiative promoted by "Edições Salesianas", the publishing house of the Portuguese Province, exceeds its boundaries: in the impossibility of carrying out the traditional itinerant mega-event, it transforms itself into a free, online week of formation. For eight nights, from 9 to 16 October, from 9 pm to 10 pm, the members were able to attend the training sessions for pastoral agents live on YouTube.

                                The sessions were led by experienced animators who regularly collaborate with Salesian educational environments, and covered different topics: from psychology to cinema, from educational techniques and dynamics in times of pandemics to the evangelization of families.

                                For each workshop, during the first 40 minutes of formation, the animators in charge presented the contents they had developed; then, in the remaining 20 minutes, there was the possibility for everyone to ask questions via chat.

                                Despite the physical distance and some understandable technical difficulties, the excellence of the formators guaranteed the maintenance of what already characterizes the training activities promoted by "Edições Salesianas": dynamism, a simple and captivating language, a factual competence gained from well-developed educational practices.

                                The fact that the event took place online, instead of being a limit, has extended the audience of pastoral agents, making it possible for catechists from all parts of the country, including the most remote islands, and even from other European and African countries to participate.

                                The training videos were always broadcast live. They achieved an average of 1,640 views and remained with the event subscribers for the 24 hours following their broadcast.

                                At the end of the week, the feedback was very positive and led "Edições Salesianas" to consider the opportunity to give life to other similar proposals.

                                • Portogallo
                                • POR PORTOGALLO
                                • Catechesi
                                • Catechisti
                                • Editrici
                                  Gian Francesco Romano

                                  Burundi – New frontier of apostolate for people with disabilities

                                  1 month 2 weeks ago
                                  Burundi – New frontier of apostolate for people with disabilities

                                  (ANS - Rukago) - As part of the new evangelization paths that call for the creation of new frontiers of the apostolate, the Salesian parish of Rukago has started a new branch: assistance to people with disabilities.

                                  The first meeting especially aimed at people with disabilities in the Salesian center of Rukago already took place this past summer. On the occasion, the parish priest, Fr Benjamin Gahungu, said that diversity in society is a wealth that must not be hidden by fear. Then he announced: “The parish is organizing itself to offer you vocational training to promote your autonomy. You have many skills and talents that we will help you discover and develop to fight poverty. Our duty is to encourage, form and accompany you.”

                                  After this presentation, there was a moment of questions and answers which stimulated those present to open their hearts. Then, during individual interviews, he was able to listen to the words of those who suffer, in addition to physical limitations, for the judgment of other people, or isolation, sometimes even in their own  families, and took the opportunity to console, encourage and confess those who had felt the need.

                                  On the occasion, people with disabilities launched many proposals to Fr Gahungu and, albeit slowly, implementation is now proceeding.

                                  The community economer, Fr Raphaël Katanga, and Sister Claudette Habarugira, head of the parish Caritas, are in fact in permanent contact with these new recipients. The Salesian community of Rukago and the members of the Parish Council continue to reflect together on how to respond to their needs. And the community of Rukago, the animating nucleus of all the parish activities, has begun the search for funding for the purchase of sewing machines and other equipment to be used in the vocational training of people with disabilities.

                                  The training course will be validated by a certificate of professional qualification. It features a prolonged formation and is to be made available in various locations so as to meet safety standards.

                                  Since the primary objective of this new apostolate is the social integration of people with disabilities, the Salesian community is not limited only to developing the path of vocational formation, but during the weekends it animates various recreational, sporting and cultural activities that help people with disabilities to develop self-esteem, build identity, maintain physical and mental health.

                                  • AGL AFRICA GRANDI LAGHI
                                  • Burundi
                                  • Disabilità
                                    Gian Francesco Romano

                                    Hong Kong – Another way of Salesian promotion

                                    1 month 2 weeks ago
                                    Hong Kong – Another way of Salesian promotion

                                    (ANS – Hong Kong) – The COVID-19 pandemic has brought both challenges and opportunities to Hong Kong, especially for the Salesian Vocation Office in CIN. It forces us to stay at home to avoid the spreading of COVID-19, and it also forces us to change to a new style of entering the digital platform. More than 20 students, coming from our Salesian Schools and Parish, join our Salesian Vocation camp once a month regularly. The Theme of the year is to know more and learn intensely about the holiness and virtues of our Salesian Saints, especially Bl. Artemide Zatti, St. Louis Versiglia and St. Dominic Savio.

                                    Before introducing the saints, there is a simple online game to let the participants know each other or to warm up before entering the main activities. Then they divide into small groups and read the life stories of the saint through articles and video clips, get to know the virtues, and encourage the participants to imitate them in their daily lives. A half-hour online Eucharistic adoration follows to provide opportunities to pray together with the youth, and finally, a Good Night Talk is given to conclude the online meeting.

                                    The Salesian Vocation Office has made their first attempt at having a monthly Salesian Vocation gathering on 16 October via Zoom. This time it focused on the charity of Bl. Artemide Zatti by sharing the stories of how he had treated the poor and the needy on the street spontaneously and being compassionate for them. From his daily schedule, we can see how he responded as much as he could to the vocation of God in his daily life, just simply to fulfill his duties as a nurse caring for the sick.

                                    Fr Antonio Leung, the Vocation Promotor of CIN, emphasized in the good night talk that the source of Zatti’s charity is from his intimate love for Jesus, which helps him to put God before everything. Zatti started a new day with prayer which gave him strength and motivation to be an instrument of God taking care of his patients. Fr Antonio also mentioned a similar example from the newly beatified young saint, Blessed Carlo Acutis, who firmly believed that Jesus is present in the Holy Eucharist, established a website and collected Eucharistic miracles around the world. As a child, Carlo believed that other than the Holy Eucharist, the rosary is the most powerful weapon to fight against the devil. So he devoted himself to the Mother of God and prayed the Rosary daily. Finally, Fr Antonio encouraged everyone to attend daily Mass and to visit more the Blessed Sacrament more frequently in the chapel of their own school.

                                    Since there are still COVID-19 confirmed cases locally and some with unknown infection sources in Hong Kong, online meetings still remained the medium for encountering the young and for Vocation Promotion. This new form of gatherings help us, the Salesians, to acquire the skills and knowledge of having a dynamic youth activity online, and to keep in contact with the young who are looking for their vocation. But surely it cannot replace face-to-face encounters. So hopefully sooner or later our Salesian Vocation camp can be reactivated to meet the young face-to-face!

                                    Source: AustraLasia

                                    • Hong Kong
                                    • CIN CINA
                                    • Vocazioni
                                    • Coronavirus
                                      Gian Francesco Romano

                                      Ethiopia – Online meeting of SC delegates of Africa-Madagascar Region

                                      1 month 2 weeks ago
                                      Ethiopia – Online meeting of SC delegates of Africa-Madagascar Region

                                      (ANS – Addis Ababa) – Speaking about Social Communication Art.43 of our Constitutions puts it this way “Our founder had an instinctive grasp of the value this means of mass education, which creates culture and spreads patterns of life; he showed great originality in the apostolic undertakings which he initiated to defend and sustain the faith of the people. Following his example, we utilize as God’s gift the great possibilities which Social Communication offers us for education and evangelization”. This was almost the sense of the final concluding words of Fr Gildásio Mendes, the General Councillor for Social Communications who spoke at length on Don Bosco as a Communicator and summarized his thoughts in 10 words such as: Fellowship and Unity, Hope, Communication, Institutional communication, Synergy, Convergence, Digitalization of communities, Ongoing formation for SC delegates, Being Creative, Unity in Diversity.

                                      The meeting of delegates of Social Communication began on 15 October 2020 and was carried out through the Zoom platform and saw the vibrant participation of 18 persons who included Salesian priests, brothers and two Salesian cooperators. In addition to the presence of Fr Gildasio Mendes, there was also the active presence of Fr Alphonse Owoudou, the Regional councilor for Africa-Madagascar, Fr Manolo Jimenes, the provincial coordinator representing the CIVAM and social communication delegates from various countries of the region.

                                      The meeting which lasted for three days, consisting of 4 hours of work per day, had three distinct themes to tackle each day. The first day saw an intense work on the Instrumentum Laboris which was presented to the whole group by two delegates: Fr Henry from AFE and Fr Boris from AFO. On the second day the focus was on the 8 priorities of the Rector Major from his programmatic letter after the GC 28. The region chose two priorities such as the Salesian sacrament of presence and Formation as urgent priorities for the region of Africa-Madagascar. The third day was a day of preparation of the roadmap of Communication to be presented to CIVAM. Even though an additional option was thought of for the online translation, finally the option of simultaneous translation was adopted. All through the meeting Italian, French and English were the common languages of communication.

                                      For his part, Fr Gildasio expressed his great satisfaction for the fine coordination of the meeting and the active participation of all the members in spite of the problems of power failure, unstable internet connectivity, the difficulty of the multi-lingual scenario, etc. “If communication was an appendix before, today it is fundamental. Every Salesian must be an expert in communication. Knowing how to communicate is essential for evangelization. The content of communication is born from the Gospel and is an ever new force,” he said in his concluding words.

                                      During the three days of meeting, the participants reflected on the Salesian charismatic identity, striking a balance between technology and mission, spiritual world and virtual world, on the role of young people, on working in synergy with the departments of Youth Ministry, formation and mission, on the need and importance of working with lay people, etc.

                                      Fr Lijo Vadakkan, SDB 

                                      • Etiopia
                                      • AET AFRICA ETIOPIA
                                      • Comunicazione Sociale
                                      • Gildasio Mendes dos Santos
                                      • Africa
                                      • CIVAM
                                        Gian Francesco Romano

                                        Solomon Islands – Celebrating Silver Years: October 1995-2020

                                        1 month 2 weeks ago
                                        Solomon Islands – Celebrating Silver Years: October 1995-2020

                                        (ANS – Honiara) – Nestled at the end of the world are the beautiful islands fondly called by the Spanish navigator Álvaro de Mendaña in 1568, the ‘Hapi Isles’, nowadays called Solomon Islands. This tiny little country of about 992 islands, a population of 700,000 people, 70 different tribes, and an equal number of languages, welcomed the Salesians 25 years ago: in 1995, Archbishop Adrian Smith, SM, Archbishop of Honiara, welcomed the presence of the Salesians and assigned them the parish of “Christ the King” in Tetere. Fr Pedro Balcazar, (Mexican), Br Tanaka Yukihiro (Japanese) and Fr Nichizawa Pedro Manabu (Bolivian) were the first ones in the Solomon Islands. Fr Ambrose Pereira (Indian) arrived on 2 April 1999 and Fr Luciano Capelli (Italian) arrived several months later.

                                        The regular visits of Fr Balcazar to the villages of Sali, Komporo, Talaura, Kola Ridge and Nonou won him the respect and love of his parishioners. He spent time with them, celebrated the sacraments and would even provide daily essentials to the people at cost price.

                                        In 2000, amidst ethnic tensions, the Salesians of Don Bosco commenced a workshop at the Correctional Centre, Rove. Three weeks after the coup on 5th June, the workshop closed as the prisoners were set free. Informal classes commenced at Henderson and Kola Ridge to cater to young people. Thus, began the work for the young people with prisoners as the first students.

                                        A few months later, the first formal classes commenced at Don Bosco Technical Institute, Henderson. The institute follows: ‘Reason, Religion and Rapport’, the three pillars of the Preventive System of Saint John Bosco.

                                        The “Don Bosco Rural Training Centre”, which opened in Tetere, was a response to the cry of the people for educational and health facilities. The Salesians were happy to set up a rural training centre on a piece of land adjacent to the parish.

                                        Moreover, in 2005, “Radio BOSCO FM 89.9” hit the airwaves, reaching 10,000 to 12,000 parishioners living across the plains, on the hills, the mountainside as well as the coastal areas. Fr Capelli suggested a local radio station, and Fr Pereira set about getting the necessary license from Spectrum, set up the radio and trained the volunteer broadcasters.

                                        Now, as the Salesians in the Solomon Islands celebrate their Silver Jubilee, Fr Pereira has produced a video (available at the bottom of the article) expressing gratitude and thanks for these years of education, human development and evangelization among a people “always smiling”.

                                        The Solomon Islands lie on the “Ring of Fire”, vulnerable to earthquakes, tsunamis, cyclones and climate-change impacts like rising sea-level, high daily temperatures, and heavy rainfall. A rugged country with coral islands and atolls, it is about the poorest in the Pacific Islands. It has a per capita income of less than one US dollar a day.

                                        Colonized by the British, the country gained its independence from Britain in 1978 and literacy is a little over 35% of its total population. Despite its limitations, there is always a smile on the faces of the people. They radiate joy, happiness and contentment at all times. Even now, 50% of its population are under the age of 18.

                                        The churches are the hope of the Solomon Islands. Nearly every Solomon Islander belongs to one church or the other. It is the church that brings people together for worship, fellowship, interaction, relaxation and networking. Christianity is just over a century old and its committed and dedicated missionaries brought with its education, health services and development. The country has just a few foreign missionaries who have made the Solomon’s their home. It is up to the islander priests, pastors and people to now minister to their own flock.

                                        {gallery}PGS - 25 anni Isole Salomone - 2020{/gallery}

                                        Gian Francesco Romano
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