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South Africa – “Waves of Change”: Salesians for redemption of young people in difficult situations

2 days 7 hours ago
South Africa – “Waves of Change”: Salesians for redemption of young people in difficult situations

(ANS - Cape Town) - South Africa is a place rich in history, which has not yet managed to come to terms with its past: apartheid, racial segregation, has been definitively abolished, but social inequalities continue to still run deep. Being born from a family that until a few years ago was experiencing the violence of segregation is really a big burden to bear: unemployment, crime, dropping out of school continue to be phenomena that involve those young people who are still suffering the effects of apartheid.

Furthermore, the legacy of apartheid, together with the irreconcilable differences in interpreting its meaning, still hinders the effort to create a consolidated national identity and a coherent and inclusive social order. The townships, the symbolic ghettos of apartheid, still exist and are more crowded than ever. And in this reality many young people of color continue to grow up in situations of extreme difficulty.

The Salesians arrived in the country in 1896 and, as is their style, they immediately concentrated their efforts on creating real opportunities for the future for the most vulnerable youth. The Sons of Don Bosco know that in order to free oneself from a condition of social risk, one must first of all start from formation, the key to access to decent work and, consequently, to a peaceful life far from the risks of the road.

Now, for this reason, in the specific reality of Cape Town, where they have been active since 1910, they have decided to start a vocational training project aimed at young people at risk: street children, ex-prisoners, gang members, often suffering from addictions, all without a job and a family network. This is the "Waves of Change" program (WOC) and that in a city where the port is one of the world's most important and the induced activity generated by the naval sector has a very significant weight, it aims to increase employment of young people at risk in the maritime industry.

Specifically, the Salesians in Cape Town intend to train 200 young people and young adults at risk (aged between 18 and 35), so that they become qualified sailors who can work with competence and dedication aboard ships. In addition to specific training in the sector, the project also provides special attention to the so-called "Life Skills", the set of social, cognitive and personal skills that allow us to positively face the demands and challenges that the professional environment reserve for us in everyday life in general. A dimension that is by no means negligible, especially for these young people marked by problematic situations.

For more information, visit the site: www.missionidonbosco.org 

  • AFM AFRICA MERIDIONALE
  • Formazione Professionale
  • Sudafrica
    Gian Francesco Romano

    Spain – International Day against Child Slavery. Over nine million children chained in 21st century

    2 days 7 hours ago
    Spain – International Day against Child Slavery. Over nine million children chained in 21st century

    (ANS - Madrid) - They are an economic and submissive workforce, easily replaceable, requiring little food, no wages and who, not knowing their rights, do not protest: these are the children in conditions of slavery. More than 150 million children work around the world. Of these, nearly half, more than 73 million, are employed in dangerous jobs that put their lives at risk. At least 9 million children in the world are slaves in the 21st century, and today, April 16, is the International Day against Child Slavery. The Salesians want to break the chains that oppress and enslave them.

    They are forced to work long hours with little rest. Most of them work in mines, agricultural estates or as domestic slaves. Others are involved in armed conflict, in the business of begging, or forced into early marriages. All are abused and many are victims of trafficking or sexual abuse. They do not go to school, they do not know their rights and they or their families have been victims of a scam.

    On the International Day against Child Slavery, which is commemorated today, the Salesians intend to continue to give visibility to these children whom they are constantly trying to help in Africa, Asia and the Americas. The goal is clear: that in the 21st century there be a political and social commitment to end slavery.

    Slavery has been officially abolished, but it still exists in the 21st century. It is present in at least nine million lives of children who work in domestic service, in the loading of goods in ports, in mines, in factories, in armed conflicts, in human trafficking, prostitution, in child marriages, in forced begging.

    The consequences for the more than 150 million children in the world forced to work are many, but the main one is the loss of childhood and developmental difficulties. In the current moment of the pandemic, at least 9 million continue to be enslaved and exposed to infections without the necessary health security measures.

    They live far from their families, without education or access to health care. They have lost their childhood and have no time to play and almost no time to rest. The Salesians work together with state and civil organizations to sensitize families and employers on the rights of minors. Through shelters to make children feel safe, they create a family environment, while seeking their families for the reintegration of minors whenever possible.

    The most important tool for breaking the chains of child slavery is education. Children who know their rights and who have the opportunity to train, be educated and learn will be able to change their future without losing their childhood.

    • Spagna
    • Bambini di Strada
    • Giovani a Rischio
      Gian Francesco Romano

      Brazil – Official start of new Salesian presence in Oeiras

      2 days 7 hours ago
      Brazil – Official start of new Salesian presence in Oeiras

      (ANS - Oeiras) – On Wednesday 14 April, Msgr. Edilson Soares Nobre, diocesan bishop of Oeiras, in the state of Piauí, Brazil, presided at a Eucharist in the Cathedral Church of Our Lady of Victory to give thanks to God for the arrival of the Salesians of Don Bosco in these lands of the interior of Piauí. The celebration was accompanied by the city's parish priests and by a group of lay people and young people from the parishes. Fr Gabriel Romero, Councilor for the America South Cone Region, was present at the celebration to sign the deed that officially launches this new Salesian presence and to accompany the religious who, a few weeks prior, began to extend the Salesian charism and Don Bosco's missionary dream even further.

      In the homily of the celebration, Msgr. Soares Nobre emphasized that “this is a simple but very meaningful moment and the arrival of the Congregation in the Diocese is a moment of spiritual growth... Our Salesian brothers will be able to help all the people of Oeiras, especially the young, to meet with the radiant light of the Risen One ever more, so that it may be a reference in our life.”

      The bishop of Oeiras also expressed that the diocese feels privileged to be able to welcome the Salesians, especially since their arrival in this time of the Covid-19 pandemic is a sign of hope and blessing. He commented that the diocese of Oeiras is small, but has a great pastoral dynamism, and was especially grateful for the presence of the two Salesians who have already started their missionary activity among the young people of this city, the oldest in the State of Piauí, of which it was also the capital, and whose patroness is the Mother of Victory.

      At the conclusion of his sermon, he prayed that Divine Providence increase the number of vocations for the Church and for the Congregation.

      Later, Fr Romero also spoke; he wished to share three sentiments with participants: “Of gratitude, to God, for having aroused this missionary desire, and to the Bishop and parish priests of this Church, who with affection and generosity invited and received us; (...) of joy, because the image of our Father and Teacher Don Bosco comes here to this land and comes with our Salesian brothers to share this joy so characteristic of our charism; (...) and of sincere humility, because we have come to learn from the pastoral work of this diocese, to join this pastoral dynamic and contribute with our grain of sand, which is the beauty of our charism, with deep respect to enter in this 'holy land' which today opens its doors to us.”

      {gallery}BRE - Romero a Oeiras 2021{/gallery}

      • BRE BRASILE RECIFE
      • Brasile
      • Gabriel Romero
      • Nuova Presenza
        Gian Francesco Romano

        Peru – Farewell to Msgr. Marcello Melani, SDB, bishop and missionary

        3 days 7 hours ago
        Peru – Farewell to Msgr. Marcello Melani, SDB, bishop and missionary

        (ANS - Pucallpa) - His loved ones - first and foremost the poor, the indigenous and the needy whom he has always served – shall miss Msgr. Marcello Melani, Salesian, Bishop Emeritus of Neuquén, Argentina. The prelate died yesterday morning, April 14, at the age of 82, while hospitalized in Pucallpa, Peru, from complications generated by the Covid-19 virus.

        With 59 years as a Salesian, 51 as a priest and 28 as a bishop, the prelate lived in Peru, where he was sent as a missionary ad vitam, as part of the 150th Salesian Missionary Expedition. At that moment, faithful to his episcopal motto - "Not to be served, but to serve" - ​​Msgr. Melani acknowledged: “I believe the Lord keeps telling me 'Don't be afraid ... I'm by your side'. The Christian life is a missionary life, we must not be afraid to follow it… With Jesus everything is possible.”

        Upon hearing the news, the Salesian Provincial of Peru, Fr Manolo Cayo SDB, shared: "On 8 December 2019, he arrived in the Apostolic Vicariate of Pucallpa ... During this period, he dedicated himself completely to the people who came to him for advice and prayers. At the end of March, he contracted the Covid-19 virus and, following the complications, he experienced his Easter today, which leaves us very sad and, at the same time, very grateful for so much dedication and generosity. Dear Marcello: you lived your motto intensely, you served and gave yourself generously to your people, you gave everything. Your missionary heart rests in peace, but your example and your testimony will remain alive among us, as a clear and luminous sign of God's love for us."

        Marcello Angiolo Melani was born in Florence on September 15, 1938. He made his first religious profession on 16 August 1962 in Chieri and was ordained a priest in Turin on 21 March 1970.

        In 1971, he arrived as a missionary in Argentine Patagonia and for just over 20 years he served there as Director and as Parish Priest of various works (Bahia Blanca, Esquel, Junín de los Andes, Bariloche). On 23 July 1993, he was appointed coadjutor bishop of Viedma, was ordained bishop on 18 September 1993, and assumed the office of titular bishop of Viedma, by succession, on 28 June 1995. On 9 January 2002, he was appointed bishop of Neuquén. In the Argentine Episcopal Conference, he was a member of the Commission for Aboriginal Pastoral Care and of the Commission on Migration.

        After presenting his resignation from episcopal service, from the end of 2011 he returned to serving the needy in Salesian works: first in Zapala, near Neuquén, then again in Junín de los Andes, finally, in Peru, in the Apostolic Vicariate of Pucallpa.

        On his Facebook page, the testimonies full of affection from those who knew him multiply. Below, a short interview with him in which he talks about his choice to leave as a missionary at the age of 81 years.

        Source: Aica

        {gallery}Morte vescovo Melani 2021{/gallery}

        • Perù
        • PER PERÙ
        • Missioni
        • Spedizione Missionaria Salesiana
        • Decessi
        • Vescovi
        • Marcello Melani
          Gian Francesco Romano

          Spain – Looking back to leap forward: Salesians of Úbeda betting on experience of OndaAlegre radio station

          3 days 7 hours ago
          Spain – Looking back to leap forward: Salesians of Úbeda betting on experience of OndaAlegre radio station

          (ANS - Úbeda) - The Salesian institute in Úbeda is starting a new community communication project, which involves the recovery of the old radio station "Radio Atalaya". This station operated on radio waves, but the new project, "OndaAlegre", foresees the use of current technology, which will allow this school radio to be developed digitally, and to ensure that students and Salesians who want to share their stories can also be heard from places much further away than before.

          "We have decided to give a different answer from those that we already put into practice in the classrooms in the traditional way and with which students are often saturated, in the awareness of the importance of linguistic competence in the development of students," the promoters of the initiative explained. "Why we have clear in mind that we must look for an innovative and attractive methodology, which 'involves' students from the start, to work and expand our Reading Plan," they add.

          The situation generated by the Covid-19 pandemic has led, in fact, to an increase in the use of Information and Communication Technologies, especially among the very young; therefore, with this project, they want to propose an opportunity to advance in the knowledge and practice of other technologies at the service of information and communication, capable of helping students in the development of other skills and in achieving new objectives.

          The program's aim is to establish relations between the world of education and the radio, working on different aspects of the linguistic area, in a functional and dynamic way through radio-based activities; looking for objectives that facilitate the students' oral expression; discovering characteristic aspects of radio broadcasting: informing, educating, entertaining, persuading, making the experience known to the immediate environment ... The project also pursues the objective of encouraging and perfecting the vocalization of students and, at the same time, promoting reading comprehension. “With the radio they will learn to listen, to express themselves, especially some minors who do not dare to speak, and not to remain silent,” they explain.

          “The launch of this project was born with the hope of being a project in which the whole educational community participates and of providing a space where everyone has a place to express themselves. We therefore hope that it will also increase motivation in collaborative and coordinated work,” say the promoters.

          • Spagna
          • Radio
          • SMX SPAGNA MARIA AUSILIATRICE
          • Educazione
          • Scuole
            Gian Francesco Romano

            Rwanda – Rango street children and opportunities at Don Bosco Center

            3 days 7 hours ago
            Rwanda – Rango street children and opportunities at Don Bosco Center

            (ANS - Butare) - In Rango, in the city of Butare, in southern Rwanda, there is a Salesian work that was started in 1996, two years after the terrible genocide that cost the lives of 800,000 people. It is composed of a parish, an oratory, and a large Vocational Training Center. The house, currently expanding, with works that aim to offer new and better opportunities to young people in need, also gives shelter and the possibility of changing their lives to dozens of street children, who otherwise would risk spending their entire existence living by expedients, on the fringes of society.

            One of these is Kande, 16, who arrived at the Salesian house to ask for a piece of bread. He started living on the street when he was 10. “Life was hard. Sometimes the police came to arrest us and took us to the Mbazi rehabilitation center and we stayed there for about five months, and then, when you came back on the street, you struggled to even find a place to sleep.” Beside him, eating soup, is Dakarai, begging on the street after his mother killed his father in a family quarrel and ended up in prison. “I continued to live on the street for about 13 years,” he says, “so far I have had the opportunity to study Mechanics, thanks to the Salesians.”

            “I'm grateful to the priests because they brought me to vocational training,” explains Juvenal. “Today I study mechanics with my peers, but we don't have everything we need. We lack school uniforms, and even shirts and shoes are hard to find due to poverty. But if you lack something to eat, you can put up with it and go back to school because you have a goal to achieve.”

            Ishimwe, on the other hand, is a young woman who was raised by her maternal grandmother. But when the old woman no longer had the strength to work in the fields, she too turned to the Salesians in Rango, asking for help to be able to attend the cooking course.

            “They come from the street asking to eat and many manage to include them in vocational courses such as those for mechanics and shoemakers,” says the parish priest, Fr Remy Nsengiyumva. “We offer school supplies and uniforms, but the problem is food. Some, in fact, live completely on the street, others receive food in the host families; still others eat only in the evening where they study for technical courses.”

            For them, Fr Nsengiyumva and his parishioners are organizing to create a small canteen and to cook at noon. There is still no real project, although it already has a name - "Ejo heza" (Better tomorrow) - and it was started when at the beginning of the pandemic in Rwanda, in the spring of 2020, children from the street began to knock on the parish. “Since their companions have been treated well, now they come in large numbers,” concludes the religious. “And we ask all those who can to give us a hand.”

            • Rwanda
            • AGL AFRICA GRANDI LAGHI
            • Bambini di Strada
              Gian Francesco Romano

              Brazil – UniSales of Vitória offers free treatment to patients with post-Covid-19 disorders

              3 days 7 hours ago
              Brazil – UniSales of Vitória offers free treatment to patients with post-Covid-19 disorders

              (ANS - Vitória) - With almost 13.7 million people infected and more than 361,000 dead (John Hopkins University data), Brazil is today among the countries hardest hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. For this reason, the initiative carried out by the Salesian university center "UniSales" of Vitória, in the State of Espírito Santo, for those people who, having recovered from the disease, continue to suffer from long-term ailments, takes on even greater value.

              To help people suffering from the after-effects of Covid-19, the Faculties of Physiotherapy and Nutrition of the Salesian University Center are carrying out assistance, both in presence and at a distance, in the Integrated Community Health Care Center (CIASC). The need for care arose after realizing that even after convalescence and recovery from the disease, many patients still experience symptoms such as fatigue when performing very simple activities such as, for example, taking a bath, or shortness of breath, muscle pain, mental confusion... and sometimes they do not even know that these are symptoms associated with the disease and its subsequent course.

              For Professor Miriam Paixão, of the Faculty of Nutrition, dietary guidance will help the recovery of these patients. "We believe that offering this accompanying pathway will help the population of Espírito Santo who are not in a position to afford prolonged treatment for full recovery from Covid-19."

              "The patient, after being intubated, does indeed need attention with regard to diet," she further adds. "And nutritional orientations can help in the improvement of other symptoms such as weight regain and increased muscle mass, against hair loss and weakened nails, muscle fatigue, joint pain and many other problems that may be associated with chronic diseases that individuals already previously could suffer. In addition, adjusting the consistency of the diet can be a simple guideline that can already ensure that there is an improvement in the nutritional status and health of the individual who has passed through this disease."

              The services are free and bookable with a simple phone call. They include: respiratory, motor, neurological and metabolic physiotherapy, as well as the accompanying pathway for patients who have been intubated and present dysphagia, reflux, dyspnea, hair loss, alteration of the gastrointestinal tract, weight loss, joint pain or weakened nails.

              More information

              • Brasile
              • BBH BRASILE BELO HORIZONTE
              • Coronavirus
              • Salute
              • Università
                Gian Francesco Romano

                East Timor – Easter Celebration in midst of a natural disaster

                4 days 7 hours ago
                East Timor – Easter Celebration in midst of a natural disaster

                (ANS - Dili) - The floods caused by cyclone "Seroya" in East Timor and Indonesia have had a heavy toll. According to data updated up to yesterday, April 13, 2021, there are 223 victims - 180 in Indonesia, 42 in East Timor and one even in Australia - and 102 people are missing.

                In East Timor alone it is estimated that over ten thousand people have been displaced by the floods and thousands the destroyed homes and infrastructures, for the most part concentrated in the country's capital, in Dili, which in recent days has been defined as a "pit of mud". Among the areas affected and damaged, there are also two isolation facilities for those affected by Covid-19 and the national hospital "Guido Valadares", which also raises concerns about possible repercussions in the fight against Covid-19.

                In such a difficult context, even if they are also tried by circumstances, the Salesians of the "Saint Callisto Caravario" Vice Province of East Timor (TLS) have done and are doing what they do best: they put themselves at the service of the most needy.

                Fr Manuel Pinto, Vicar of the TLS Vice Province, tells us:

                Our celebration of Easter vigil and Sunday Easter in East Timor was never meant to go back to normal. Two consecutive celebrations of Easter (2020-2021), which saw churches and chapels normally crowded by faithful people, were reduced to five to ten people only attending because of COVID-19.

                Aside from the COVID-19, what surprised us more in the entire country on Sunday Easter was the huge natural calamities of heavy rain and strong winds which were followed by landslides, floods everywhere. Rivers destroyed bridges, thousands of poor families lost their shelters and things, and even many of lives were gone including one of our former Salesians, Alcino Kefi (student in Postnovitiate). Dili, the capital, and some other districts were living under water. Many people are without clean water, no food, homeless and many more with nowhere to hide and shelter. Fortunately those living near the religious communities were able to find places and able to have some humanitarian help.

                Don Boscos communities of Comoro, particularly the community of the Training Centre, were able to host more than 3,000 people living around us - our parishioners and those who were brought by the International Red Cross. The Rector of Don Bosco Training Centre, Fr. Hermenegildo Pereira SDB, and the Principal Bro. Adriano de Jesus SDB are the main coordinators and always standby to welcome the people with a Salesian smile. Our Practical Trainees and other 40 Post-novices were also on standby to give a hand to assist and distribute things.

                The Good Lord is continuously sending us food, water, clothes and many other basic needs through so many generous people, NGOs, our past-pupils and the Salesian Family. May the God of love recompense their kindness.

                Lets pray for all those displaced people in Timor Leste and in all parts of the world. May the Risen Lord bless them all. Hallelujah.

                {gallery}TLS - Pasqua 2021{/gallery}

                • Timor Est
                • TLS TIMOR EST
                • Disastri e Calamità Naturali
                • Pasqua
                  Gian Francesco Romano

                  Bolivia – "Don Bosco Popular Schools" continue to grow

                  4 days 7 hours ago

                  (ANS - El Alto) - The ceremony of laying the foundation stone of one of the new blocks of the "Centro Virgen Niña - EPDB" began with a solemn blessing; the center is a special education center located in the city of El Alto that serves many children and adolescents with different types of disabilities. It is part of the Don Bosco Popular Schools network (EPDB, in Spanish) and the implementation of this project takes place as part of the constant strengthening of the Educational Units affiliated to that network, made possible thanks to the funding of the Swiss Salesian NGO “Jugendhilfe Weltweit” and to the fieldwork of the EPDB staff.

                  After demolishing the old infrastructure during three weeks of hard work, the new construction began on 6 April 2021, which involves a huge investment: over 208 thousand euros. The ceremony was attended by all the staff of the "Centro Virgen Niña - EPDB", the staff of the EPDB network and the staff of the DyCOC construction company.

                  The director, Manuela Quenta, made a prayer of thanks to God and to all the people who contributed to making this project happen; she also asked for the safety of the workers, the successful completion of the work, and for all the children, young and old, who will benefit from this center where their dreams will begin to take shape.

                  This project was directed by the National Management and the Planning and Development Area of ​​the EPDB network, after observing the architectural barriers that hindered people with disabilities who go to the center. The new infrastructure will consist of four floors and will count on several classrooms and training workshops, administrative rooms, toilets, corridors connecting with the adjacent block and ramps and steps to access the upper levels.

                  The "Centro Virgen Niña - EPDB" Association is a non-profit Catholic organization founded by Sister Grazia Micaelli and which is run by a group of Bolivian lay people. It started its activities 28 years ago, in 1993, with six children, and today it has 189 beneficiaries of different ages. The Association focuses on the human, social and educational development of the families that make up the community, working on the values ​​of charity, solidarity and dignity, together creating the conditions for them to be subjects of their own development.

                  Fr Luis Adolfo Tórrez, SDB

                  National Director of the EPDB

                  {gallery}BOL - EPDB - El Alto 2021{/gallery}

                  • Bolivia
                  • BOL BOLIVIA
                  • Scuole
                  • Disabilità
                    Gian Francesco Romano

                    Democratic Republic of Congo – Latest tributes to Msgr. Jean Pierre Tafunga Mbayo, SDB

                    5 days 7 hours ago
                    Democratic Republic of Congo – Latest tributes to Msgr. Jean Pierre Tafunga Mbayo, SDB

                    (ANS - Lubumbashi) - The Catholic faithful of Lubumbashi, in the Province of Upper Katanga, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, have lost their pastor, fully active until then, following an illness: Msgr. Jean Pierre Tafunga Mbayo, a Salesian of Don Bosco, in fact, passed away on March 31, 2021, and in recent days has received several and dutiful tributes to his memory for the work done in his diocese and throughout the country.

                    The remains of the metropolitan archbishop arrived from South Africa in the capital of Upper Katanga on Wednesday 7 April, and were received by the religious, political and administrative authorities and then taken to the "Saints Peter and Paul" cathedral in Lubumbashi. Meanwhile, the diocesan Church had already announced five days of  mourning in his memory from Monday 5 April to Friday 9 April, which took place amid Masses and vigils in the cathedral.

                    On Friday 9 April, the day of the funeral, many people came from all over the country to give the last farewell to Msgr Tafunga. After the Mass, presided over by Msgr. Marcel Utembi, President of the National Episcopal Conference of Congo (CENCO), some moving words of remembrance and farewell to the life and work of the Salesian prelate were read. Finally, the body of the archbishop was buried in the crypt of the cathedral.

                    Born in Panda-Likasi, Democratic Republic of Congo, on 23 July 1942, Msgr. Tagunfa had joined the Salesians in 1964, attending the novitiate in Kansebula. He made his first vows on 28 August 1965 and his perpetual vows on 20 February 1971 in Lubumbashi. He was ordained a priest on 16 September 1972 in Likasi.

                    He was Director of the Salesian house in Goma, in North Kivu, from 1981 to 1987, and Director of the Salesian center in Kansebula from 1987 to 1990. In that year, he was then installed as Provincial Superior of the "Assumption of Mary" Province of Central Africa, becoming the first African to take up this post. However, he was unable to complete his six-year term because in October 1992 Pope John Paul II appointed him bishop of Kilwa-Kasenga, receiving episcopal ordination on the subsequent Feast Day of Don Bosco, January 31, 1993.

                    On 10 June 2002, John Paul II again appointed him bishop of Uvira. On 31 July 2008, he was appointed coadjutor archbishop of Lubumbashi by Pope Benedict XVI, with the right of succession, becoming titular of the archdiocese on 1 December 2010 and assuming its pastoral guide on the following 30 January.

                    "Amor et misericordia" was his motto and the insignia of his pastoral action.

                    • AFC AFRICA CENTRALE
                    • Rep Dem del Congo
                    • Vescovi
                    • Decessi
                      Gian Francesco Romano

                      Ecuador – Forming yourself as a leader for a more just America

                      5 days 7 hours ago
                      Ecuador – Forming yourself as a leader for a more just America

                      (ANS - Quito) – On Friday 9 April, the “America Social Salesiana” Network (RASS) began its formative proposal for 2021 with the module “Salesian leadership for social transformation”.

                      The ongoing education center "The Institute of Salesian Studies at Don Bosco Hall", located in Berkeley, California, USA, is the entity responsible for the development of this transversal module, considered of vital importance by the RASS, as it offers alternative formation aimed at strengthening Salesian leadership within social works and services, generating innovative experiences that have relevance and impact in different contexts, and that can bring about a social transformation for the benefit of children and young people at risk, people with whom members of RASS share life, mission and work on a daily basis.

                      Fr Rafel Bejarano, Coordinator for Social Works of the Youth Ministry Sector, together with James Areiza Bolivar, Delegate of the RASS coordination team, and the operational team of the Network, gave a cordial and fraternal welcome to the 64 consecrated Salesians and lay people of the Salesian Works and Social Services of America, representatives of the 15 Provinces of America who committed themselves to participating in this formative space through synchronous digital meetings on the Zoom platform.

                      To encourage participation and the exchange of experiences among the participants, the sessions take place in two groups of 32 participants each, with a duration of two hours, for 7 consecutive Fridays and at different times.

                      The objective of this module is to provide knowledge and tools focused on transformational and authentic Salesian leadership models, so that they are effectively applied in the social and organizational field on the basis of innovative evidence and experiences that have already testified to have generated a significant impact in different contexts and which have therefore achieved a social transformation.

                      “We are moved by the hope of being able to make a contribution to the task of fostering Salesian leadership. We are convinced that this is an elementary and essential theme for working as active agents of change and establishing structural changes to reduce the social inequalities that we live in our continent, especially those that our children and young people face,” say those responsible for the Salesian Social America Network.

                      • Ecuador
                      • Rete America Sociale Salesiana
                      • Pastorale Giovanile
                      • Opzione Preferenziale
                        Gian Francesco Romano

                        United States – The city of Downey seeks support from the Salesians

                        5 days 7 hours ago
                        United States – The city of Downey seeks support from the Salesians

                        (ANS – Downey) – Once the Governor of California gave schools in Los Angeles County the green light to return to in-person instruction, the city of Downey found itself without any after-school program for their 12 elementary schools. There were only seven business days before the schools opened again, and they needed to hire 26 people to staff the district's after-school programs.

                        Veronica Lizardi, Director at Downey Unified School District, contacted JC Montenegro, Director of the “We Care” program at St. Dominic Savio Parish, to see how the Salesians could help the children of Downey using the model of the We Care after-school program of St. Dominic Savio.

                        The We Care program started in 2014 at Savio with the simple objective of serving the children of the neighborhood who were on a waiting list for the after-school programs provided by the city of Downey. “We started with just 35 children and were soon serving over 115 children every school day,” stated Jonathan Lara, the program coordinator.

                        Through the “We Care program”, the Salesians of Savio were able to hire and train twenty-six young adults to serve in the city of Downey’s after-school programs. Today we serve over 200 children every school day. We believe this was a miracle; we had only seven days to create a program, find and train its staff and accomplish all the legal steps to be ready to serve children. We believe Don Bosco helped us to bring to reality a new Salesian presence among the children of Downey.

                        Juan Carlos Montenegro

                        {gallery}SUO - Downey 2021{/gallery}

                        • Stati Uniti
                        • SUO STATI UNITI OVEST
                        • Pastorale Giovanile
                        • Scuole
                        • Animatori
                          Gian Francesco Romano

                          Senegal – Guaranteeing "A New Opportunity" and development projects at home: VIS commitment

                          5 days 7 hours ago

                          (ANS - Dakar) - Migration must be a right, not necessarily an obligation dictated by situations of necessity. And when life leads you to have to retrace your steps, then the help of someone who gives you "A New Opportunity" is essential to starting over. The Salesian NGO of the "International Volunteering for Development" (VIS) firmly believes in these principles. And the story of Elhadi Ndiaye, a Senegalese worker and father, is a perfect testimony to this.

                          Elhadi says:

                          My name is Elhadi Ndiaye and I am the father of six children. I have 19 years of migratory experience in Italy, where I worked as a worker in a leather and hide processing factory and later as a seller of costume jewelery and footwear.

                          Over the years my residence permit expired and my self-employment could not guarantee its renewal. I had become an undocumented migrant and was no longer able to meet my and my family's needs in Senegal.

                          I therefore decided to take advantage of the assisted voluntary repatriation opportunity offered by VIS as part of the UNO project - "A New Opportunity". This allowed me to return to Senegal permanently and to develop my own business project.

                          As soon as I arrived, through the UNO project I had a grant to start a sheep breeding and fattening project in Gossas: I buy sheep at low prices and then resell them at a higher price once they have reached a good fattening condition. In addition, during the wintering period, the profits from sheep farming allowed me to cultivate a two-hectare land in my village, to develop food crops.

                          Currently, these breeding and cultivation activities have allowed me to successfully reintegrate into my community, abandon the migration project and take care of my family and the education of my children.

                          Senegal has 105,937 people in Italy, equal to 4.19% of the foreign population residing in Italy. Among them, 39.9% are inactive or unemployed. Thanks to the UNO project, VIS works to offer an opportunity for redemption and socio-economic reintegration to people who wish to return to their country of origin, providing support to their entrepreneurial activities that contribute to the development of the territory.

                          • Senegal
                          • VIS
                          • Migranti
                          • Sviluppo Sociale
                            Gian Francesco Romano

                            Angola – Pedro Sánchez visits "Dom Bosco" Center in "Lixeira"

                            6 days 7 hours ago

                            (ANS - Luanda) - After the institutional and commercial meeting held in Angola on 8 April, the President of the Spanish government, Pedro Sanchez, visited the "Dom Bosco" Center of the Luanda Salesians, located in the Lixeira district, one of the city's most disadvantaged districts, which is home to 250,000 inhabitants and whose name translates as “landfill”.

                            The Salesians arrived there in 1996, starting their educational work with small schools. It was 2003 when the current center was built, thanks to the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID, in Spanish) and its Portuguese counterpart.

                            A sign painted at the entrance to the Salesian school, which reads "Educating is a matter of the heart", welcomed Pedro Sánchez. About 1,500 students greeted the Spanish politician, who personally received the affection and sympathy of the students, whose smiles were evident even if hidden behind masks.

                            The President of the Spanish Government had time to visit the facilities of the Center, see firsthand the educational work that is carried out there, take an official photo with the authorities and school staff, and give a short speech to those present, in which he underlined the "commendable" educational work that the Salesians carry out in the country. Accompanying him were the Superior of the Vice Province of Angola, the Uruguayan Salesian Fr Martín Lasarte, and his provincial Vicar and Director of the Center, the Spanish Salesian missionary Fr Manuel Ordóñez.

                            On his official Twitter account, the President of the Spanish government expressed his satisfaction with the visit to the Salesian educational center, underlining the importance of education for the progress of society: “We are proud that Spanish citizens are working on this project and promoting the formation of Angolan children and adolescents. It symbolizes the great collaboration between Spain and Angola.”

                            About 6,000 students are educated in this educational center, including infant, primary, secondary education, bachelor's-level degrees and vocational school. Given the lack of classrooms to accommodate all students, the center has lessons in three shifts: already at 7:30 am the school opens its doors to younger students, then continues in the afternoon with primary and secondary school students, and finally, in the afternoon and evening, with the students of the bachelor's degree, until 10:30 pm.

                            Thanks to the work they carry out with the students of this center, the Salesians have received the National Literacy Prize for several years; and the “Don Bosco Method”, as it is called, has also served as a reference for the Angolan government in the process of literacy. Without forgetting that vocational training and attention to minors in situations of vulnerability are other characteristics of this Salesian educational center.

                            In a Country severely affected by the war (1975-2002), the Salesians have been present since 1981, and they arrived there in response to the missionary appeal made by the then Rector Major, Fr Egidio Viganó, through the "Africa Project". Currently, the Congregation animates 11 houses scattered throughout the country, with about 120 Salesians, more than half of whom are in the formation phase.

                            • Angola
                            • ANG ANGOLA
                            • Personaggi illustri
                              Gian Francesco Romano

                              RMG – #SYMPRAYSFORMYANMAR

                              6 days 7 hours ago
                              RMG – #SYMPRAYSFORMYANMAR

                              (ANS - Rome) - Young people who pray for young people. This initiative promoted by the Youth Ministry Department stimulated prayer for Myanmar from every continent yesterday, Sunday 11 April. The Department for Youth Ministry has also prepared a related video.

                              Young people know that there is a promise in prayer, because whatever is asked of the Father in the name of Jesus, He will do it; they remember the summons to pray and keep watch, because the days are bad; and they undertake a direct channel to meet God: to pray at all times.

                              The video is available on ANSChannel.

                              • RMG CASA GENERALIZIA
                              • MGS Movimento Giovanile Salesiano
                              • Pastorale Giovanile
                              • MYM MYANMAR
                              • Myanmar
                                Gian Francesco Romano

                                Vatican – Pope calls two Salesians and a Daughter of Mary Help of Christians among Consultors of CIVCSVA

                                6 days 7 hours ago
                                Vatican – Pope calls two Salesians and a Daughter of Mary Help of Christians among Consultors of CIVCSVA

                                (ANS - Vatican City) - On Saturday 10 April, the Press Office of the Holy See announced the names of the new Consultors of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life (CIVCSVA) appointed by the Holy Father. Among the 19 chosen, three members of the Salesian Family. They are:

                                • Fr David Ricardo Albornoz Pavisic, SDB, Judge of the National Ecclesiastical Court of Appeal of Santiago de Chile. Born in Punta Arenas on 4 November 1963, he has been a professed Salesian since 1989 and was ordained a priest in 1996. For the Chilean Province, he is currently also Provincial Vicar, Delegate for the Salesian Family and the Salesian Bulletin;
                                • Fr Mario Oscar Llanos, SDB, Dean of the Faculty of Education at the Salesian Pontifical University in Rome. Argentine, from Córdoba, he was born on 17 April 1959, and has been a professed Salesian since 1978 and a priest since 1987;
                                • Sister Pina del Core, FMA, Director of the Institute of Psychological Research in the Educational Field of the Pontifical Faculty of Educational Sciences Auxilium in Rome and former Dean of the "Auxilium" for nine years. In 2016, she had already been appointed by Pope Francis as a Consultor of the Congregation for Catholic Education.

                                The consultors are appointed by the Supreme Pontiff - for a five-year term - to collaborate with the members of the Congregation according to their specific competence and in relation to the objectives and commitments of the Dicastery. The consultors offer their contribution through consultations, studies or opinions on specific situations or questions concerning the life, mission and government of the Institutes of Consecrated Life and Apostolic Societies.

                                {gallery}Vaticano - Consultori{/gallery}

                                • Vaticano
                                • Vita Consacrata
                                • FMA Figlie di Maria Ausiliatrice
                                • Nomine
                                  Gian Francesco Romano

                                  Italy – US shopping vouchers for poor families in Sampierdarena, thanks to Salesian commitment

                                  6 days 7 hours ago
                                  Italy – US shopping vouchers for poor families in Sampierdarena, thanks to Salesian commitment

                                  (ANS - Genoa) - Over 70 needy families in the Genoese district of Sampierdarena have received a shopping card that will allow them to shop for 35 euros a week for the next three months, for a total of 420 euros per family. This is a concrete measure to  help the many people in difficulty following the pandemic, deployed in the Salesian "Don Bosco" parish in Genoa thanks to a loan from "UsAid", the American international development agency, to “Salesiani per il Sociale APS” and to the Salesian NGO “International Volunteer Service for Development” (VIS).

                                  Wafa arrived in Italy from Tunisia 20 years ago with her husband. She has three children and her husband's bricklaying job had allowed them to get by until recently, but with the pandemic, the demand for labor has decreased and "keeping five people without even one salary is impossible," she testifies.

                                  Those who received the card are originally from Senegal, Tunisia, Ecuador, but also Eastern Europe and some from Italy; they have lived in Sampierdarena for years, and if before the pandemic they'd managed to keep a family, not without difficulty, they can no longer do so today. Overall for Sampierdarena, it is 30 thousand euros, an important breath of fresh air in a reality like the one that revolves around the “Don Bosco” parish.

                                  The choice of families to help with the "Money Cards" required much work. Fr Pierdante Giordano, parish priest of "Don Bosco", committed himself to this initiative with the volunteers of the parish Caritas group and the "Nodo sulle Ali del Mondo - Node on the Wings of the World", referent in Sampierdarena of "VIS" and "Salesians for Social APS". They started with families already assisted by Caritas itself and by "San Vincenzo"; scores were assigned based on the members of the family unit, the Equivalent Economic Situation Indicator (ISEE), the possible loss of work of one of the members, the age of the children ... and the work has also expanded beyond the parish.

                                  Caritas of Sampierdarena, through the Salesians of Don Bosco, has been helping various families in the area in conditions of poverty for years: “For now, we are following 180 and these 72 are the most needy among those to which the young people of 'Don Bosco' bring their food packages that they prepare by drawing on the food bank. This Card is a great help for these groups, which we will continue to help anyway,” he adds.

                                  The rechargeable card project, says Michela Vallarino, Vice President of VIS, “was born at the request of the Italian Salesians who asked themselves how to support families in this pandemic. This is a cooperation project made in collaboration with the United States and which was not limited only to the Cards, but which in Sampierdarena also saw the distribution of protective devices, when last year they were difficult to find, and of 470 tablets throughout Italy, to enable those who could not afford a device to access distance learning.”

                                  • Italia
                                  • Stati Uniti
                                  • ICC ITALIA CIRCOSCRIZIONE CENTRALE
                                  • Solidarietà
                                  • Coronavirus
                                    Gian Francesco Romano

                                    RMG – Eighth video-seed: community mission accompaniment

                                    1 week 2 days ago
                                    RMG – Eighth video-seed: community mission accompaniment

                                    (ANS - Rome) - In the process of disseminating the Salesian Formation document "Young Salesians and accompaniment - Orientations and Guidelines", the focus in this month of April is "Role of community and mission" (from n. 140 to 151 of the text).

                                    No. 141 reads: “There is a reciprocal relationship between spiritual accompaniment and community. We keep in mind that by community we mean not only the Salesian religious community but also the educative and pastoral community (EPC) – and this is especially significant in the phase of practical training. A good formation journey helps one become more open to others and more willing to make a gift of oneself in service. On the other hand, it is also true that the community ambient has a great impact on the journey of each one, and on his openness and ability to benefit from spiritual accompaniment.”

                                    The eighth video-seed is precisely an invitation to read and share this part of the document. It was made with the help of Christopher, Ignazio, Wellington, Enrico and Orazio, in the room, now a chapel, where Don Bosco wrote his Letter from Rome of 10 May 1884. It is from what he sees from this room in the courtyards of Valdocco and that makes him suffer, that the: “It is not enough to love! They must realize that they are loved”. The Salesian way of being among young people and with those who share the same mission forms and attunes the heart to what is dear to Don Bosco.

                                    This is also the strong message that Pope Francis addressed to the Salesians during the GC28:

                                    “We are formed not for the mission but in the mission, around which our whole life revolves, with its choices and priorities. Initial and ongoing formation cannot be considered as something prior, parallel to or separate from the disciple’s identity and sensibility. The mission inter gentes is our best school: it is where we learn to pray, reflect, study and rest.”

                                    The seed video ends with three questions to stimulate reflection and exchange within the communities:

                                    - How do relationships within the Salesian community, the educative pastoral community and in the open field where we interact with young people become my and our formation?

                                    - What and how significant is the interaction with the laity in the formation phase I am experiencing?

                                    - What value do we give to pastoral experiences and their accompaniment? Do they become "learning from experience," the heart of our ongoing formation?

                                    The video is available in English on the specific language channel of ANSChannel.

                                    To download the video and related animation materials, and to access material offered with the previous 7 video-seeds, click here.

                                    • RMG CASA GENERALIZIA
                                    • Formazione
                                    • Accompagnamento
                                      Gian Francesco Romano

                                      RMG – April video of "CaglieroLIFE" series

                                      1 week 2 days ago

                                      (ANS - Rome) - The videos of the series entitled “CaglieroLIFE”, conceived and created by the Missions Sector of the Salesian Congregation, continue. Every 11th of the month - monthly recurrence of missionary day - one-minute videos are published, which present a theme linked to the Salesian intention of the month, which can be used as a tool for animation, discussion and sharing within the various youth groups. The April video is about RESPECT: I am loved, therefore I respect.

                                      All the videos are published on the YouTube channel of the Salesian Missions Sector and, subsequently, also uploaded to the Facebook page.

                                      With the publication of the video in April, the Sector for the Missions also invites you to adhere to the proposal of the General Councilor for Youth Ministry, Fr Miguel Angel García Morcuende, and of the Salesian Youth Movement from all over the world, to pray for Myanmar on Sunday April 11th at 3 pm local time (10:30 am Italian time) and to share the moment on social networks using the hashtag #SYMPRAYSFORMYANMAR.

                                      A prayer composed by a citizen of Myanmar will be recited, a beautiful moment of spiritual union, precisely on the 11th day of the month in which the Salesian missions are remembered.

                                      The April video is available here

                                      • RMG CASA GENERALIZIA
                                      • Missioni
                                      • Myanmar
                                        Gian Francesco Romano

                                        Myanmar – The country today: a report from a Burmese citizen

                                        1 week 2 days ago
                                        Myanmar – The country today: a report from a Burmese citizen

                                        (ANS - Yangon) - In view of the prayer initiative promoted by the Salesian Youth Movement of the Youth Ministry Department of the Salesian Congregation in favor of Myanmar (Sunday 11 April, Myanmar 15:00), a Burmese citizen wanted to share with ANS a report on the current situation in the country.

                                        On 1st February 2021, the military of Myanmar staged a coup, arresting the President, the State Councillor and many other members of the government and civilians. It was the end of 5 years of an experiment in democracy in the country under the leadership of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. Myanmar has been under military dictatorship since 1962 with different names of the government. Only in 2015 was a democratically elected government installed.

                                        This time, instead, things are quite different. The people of Myanmar, especially the young did not bow to the junta. Tens of thousands of them protested daily in all parts of Myanmar. Civil Disobedient Movement (CDM) did a great impact to the junta that the military is not able to run the government until now. The Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH), which is made up of elected law-makers of the General Election of November 2020, is working hard in the field of diplomacy to reach out to the  international community and their work impose much pressure on the junta.

                                        After more than two months of the coup, the Young People, who call themselves Generation Z, keep demonstrating in so many places of the country. The military has no other way but to use violent means – shoot and arrest – to suppress the protests. So far, they have shot and killed about 600 people and many are wounded; 2751 people have been detained and most of them do not even know the reason of their arrest. The junta continues to shoot and kill. The worst action is night raids, in which the soldiers and police go around in the residential areas shooting recklessly; they break into houses in the middle of the night and shoot, beat and arrest people arbitrarily; they take away their money and valuable things in the house. The people have nowhere to turn to for security and justice.

                                        Most of the young people feel the need to take up arms for self-defense. They have formed Civil Defense Force (CDF) to protect the people. However, the people have no ammunition that can compete against the fully-armed soldiers. Many expected that the international community would intervene to stop the killing of unarmed people. The situation is as such that the people of Myanmar will have to be their own masters and fight back as much as they can. If things go on like this, a bloodbath is unavoidable in Myanmar. As usual, the young are the ones that suffer in all the social transformation.

                                        So, dear friends, please pray for Myanmar earnestly and please know that your solidarity is our strength to go through this difficult crisis.

                                        • Myanmar
                                        • Violenze
                                        • Giovani
                                          Gian Francesco Romano
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