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News - Salesians of Don Bosco

Eritrea – Church under attack, common people hurt

3 weeks 2 days ago
Eritrea – Church under attack, common people hurt

(ANS - Asmara) - The Catholic Church in Eritrea has always collaborated and cooperated with the institutions. In the specific case of health services, the quality of the service offered by its facilities was considered by the government itself as an excellence of the country. However, in the months of June and July, twenty-two health centers managed by Catholic organizations were forced to close, and there is also fear for the fate of schools. But by depriving the Church of its works, it only damages the Eritrean population itself, especially the most needy.

The last Catholic hospital was closed on Friday 5 July: the sisters who ran the facility in Zager were forced to leave by the police and seals were placed on the doors. The nuns were told to leave the hospital immediately and were prevented from taking hospital equipment with them. Another 8 Catholic centers had already been confiscated between 2017 and 2018 in the name of a law of 1995 through which the State imposed itself as the sole manager of social works.

The structures is meant to become public, but, as explained to the foundation "Aid to the Church in Need" by a source close to the Eritrean Church - anonymous for security reasons - "there has been no transfer: the agents simply sealed everything, depriving the population of a vital service. The patients were of every faith; we Catholics in Eritrea are just barely 5%."

In this wave of confiscations, some have read the regime's response to the criticism of the Church of its government. In their pastoral letters, the Catholic bishops had called upon for deep political reforms in the country that currently has no constitution and has never organized presidential and legislative elections.

At the moment there is a strong fear of the fate of 50 schools, from elementary to high school, and over 100 nurseries managed by the Catholic Church in Eritrea. Greater certainty about the fate of the institutes may be had in September with the beginning of the new school year.

Eritrea, according to a report by the American NGO "Freedom House", committed to defending human rights, is a nation in a continuous state of emergency: "The restrictions and violations of fundamental rights, the prospect of a draft for an indefinite period in the form of a national service (armed forces) and the limited opportunities for work and education push thousands of Eritreans each year to try to escape from the country," Fr Mussie Zerai, priest of the Eparchy of Asmara and representative of the Agency Habeshia, said to the Fides agency.

He adds, to conclude: "I urge the international community not to remain silent, so that the drama of the Eritrean people does not fall into general indifference."

  • Eritrea
  • Chiesa
  • Salute
    Gian Francesco Romano

    Angola – In support of Luanda's underage mothers

    3 weeks 2 days ago
    Angola – In support of Luanda's underage mothers

    (ANS - Luanda) - In Angola one child out of six does not reach the age of five and in the country's capital, Luanda, a city of extreme contrasts, the number of minors living on the streets is increasing exponentially from month to month. Faithful to the charism of their founder, the Salesians place themselves at the service of these most needy children.

    Many of these children run away from home due to their parents' lack of interest, others as a result of abuse, others because they are undermined by the popular belief that they are "feitiseiri" (sorcerers, witches) who attract misfortune onto the family. Once on the street, these children wander from neighborhood to neighborhood, sleep wherever possible, and survive thanks to small jobs in the center of Luanda: shoe shiners, window washers, porters ... Many girls end up prostituting themselves, and virtually everyone inhales gasoline and glue to calm the pangs of  hunger and to find an apparent consolation to their solitude, to the sense of emptiness they experience.

    The Salesians began working for the recovery of street children in the 1990s when groups of children fleeing the war that tore the country apart for almost thirty years flowed into the capital. Today the motivations have changed, but the phenomenon of street children continues and for this reason the Salesians have developed new strategies: if in the war years the main objective was to offer first assistance to minors, now it is to reunite, through a path of reception and rehabilitation, street children to their families of origin.

    The spiritual Sons of Don Bosco are currently developing a special project for single mothers living in the streets; to this end, they are renovating a building wherein to welcome them and their children: they want to build a safe nest or shelter in which mothers and children find a home that can guarantee protection and warmth.

    Every year, thanks to this initiative, twenty underage girls shall be welcomed and involved in health and psychological assistance activities, alongside the possibility of attending vocational training courses and a family reunification path with the family of origin.

    For more information: www.missionidonbosco.org

    • Angola
    • Missioni
    • Ragazze
    • Donne
    • Giovani a Rischio Sociale
    • Bambini di Strada
      Gian Francesco Romano

      Brazil – Missionary Week: over 1,000 youths committed to building Kingdom of God

      3 weeks 3 days ago
      Brazil – Missionary Week: over 1,000 youths committed to building Kingdom of God

      (ANS - São Paolo) – In Brazil the month of July is traditionally the period of school holidays. But at the same time, for many young Christians, it is also the period in which rest and leisure are put aside to devote time and energy to their faith: thus the experience of the Missionary Week promoted by the Salesian Youth Ministry of the Province of Brazil São Paulo (BSP) through the Mission Animation Service - an experience now in its 25th edition.

      In 2019, for the second consecutive year, there were over one thousand young people involved in the mission. They are pupils and past pupils of the Salesian Schools Network, young people who attend social works, parishes, institutes of higher education and oratories of Salesian presences in the State of São Paulo.

      Accompanied by more than 100 leaders and spiritual assistants, in a climate of Salesian youth spirituality constantly alive and joyful, the young people divided themselves into groups in the parishes of 11 cities within the State of São Paulo: Alambari, Angatuba, Cajuru, Cunha, Jacareí, Lorraine, Morungaba, Rio das Pedras, Saltinho, Tatuí and Tuiuti.

      For a week the groups of boys, girls and young people made their operative bases in the parish structures, from which they then departed every day on an expedition: they carried out visits and blessings in the houses, animated liturgical celebrations and workshops and games with the community, offered training sessions ...

      Some groups also visited organizations active in the social sector or helped organize the feast of the patron saint, such as the Salesian groups of Americana, Araraquaraquara, Araras and São Carlos, who were on a mission in the city of Cajuru and actively participated in the novena to St. Benedict, patron of the local parish, whose liturgical feast was celebrated on 11 July.

      Now empowered by the experience of 25 editions, Mission Week is more and more a pastoral project with a double value: on the one hand, it leaves an important mark in the communities that welcome the young people, who are contaminated by new joy, faith and spirit they carry with them; on the other, it also indelibly marks the young missionaries, who have the opportunity to learn about new realities, help other people, deepen the Salesian charism, form groups and networks, put themselves on the line and make their talents available in an unusual way.

      Anderson Bueno

      {gallery}BSP - Settimana Missioniaria 2019{/gallery} 

      • Brasile
      • BSP
      • Missioni
        Gian Francesco Romano

        Thailand - Celebrating 50th anniversary of Catholic community "Ban Thap Christ"

        3 weeks 3 days ago

        (ANS - Khlong Cha-un) - On Sunday, 21 July, the Salesian Msgr. Joseph Prathan Sridarunsil, SDB, bishop of the Diocese of Surat Thani, presided over the solemn Eucharist celebrating the 50th anniversary (1969 - 2019) of the Catholic community "Ban Thap Christ" - a Christian village in the municipality of Khlong Cha-un, district of Phanom, province of Surat Thani. The celebration took place in the parish dedicated to Mary Help of Christians, which - like the entire area - has always been under the pastoral care of the spiritual Sons of Don Bosco.

        The Salesian mission is currently led by Salesian parish priest Fr Terry Tapay. Before the actual feast the inhabitants prepared for the anniversary through a community spiritual journey, for which the priests and religious present went to visit each family, and Mass was celebrated for groups. Then, on the morning of 21 July 2019, the Pastoral Council, in collaboration with the local authorities, the village chief and many volunteers, organized the "Thap Christ Mini-Marathon", which crossed the streets and alleys of the village, involving a total of over 1,600 people.

        The history of this Christian village is intimately linked to the Salesian presence: since the Christian population in the area of Baan Saeng Arun was growing and there were not enough land for the younger generations, Msgr. Pietro Caretto, SDB, asked the government for an area of 500 acres located in the district of Phanom. The government accepted this request on December 29, 1969. The first group of Catholic faithful came from the church dedicated to Our Lady of Fatima to Saeng Arun, led by Fr Delfino Crespi, SDB, who celebrated the first mass in a small church of the new community on 23 January 1970.

        With Fr Pietro Jellici, SDB, small bamboo houses were then built with cogon grass roof. In the 1970s, many other people began to populate the area, having an area of 5 acres per family. Life at the beginning was very hard: the locals had to build roads and bridges to connect to the main road, 17 km away, and to market their agricultural products.

        But among difficulties and problems Fr Crespi inculcated a strong faith in God and a great devotion to Mary Help of Christians in the hearts of people.

        "We thank God that allowed the Salesian missionaries to start and consolidate the foundations of this Catholic village," say the inhabitants of Ban Thap Christ today.

        {gallery}50 anni di Ban Thap Christ - 2019{/gallery}

        • Thailandia
        • THA
        • Anniversari
        • Vescovi
        • Joseph Prathan Sridarunsil
          Gian Francesco Romano

          Vatican – "Positio super virtutibus" of Servant of God Felice Canelli consigned

          3 weeks 4 days ago

          (ANS - Vatican City) - The Positio super Vita, Virtutibus et Fama Sanctitatis of the Servant of God Felice Canelli, priest of the Diocese of San Severo (Foggia-Italy), was delivered to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints on Friday 19 July 2019, his Cause of Beatification being followed by the Salesian Postulation.

          The Positio's curator was Fr Zdzisław Kijas, OFM Conv., its Postulator Fr Pierluigi Cameroni, SDB, and as Collaborators: Dr. Lodovica Maria Zanet and Sister Francesca Caggiano, Daughter of Mary Help of Christians.

          The "Positio", which presents all the documentary and testatory evidence relating to the virtuous life of the Servant of God in an articulated and in-depth manner, will now be examined by the Theological Consultors of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

          Fr Canelli was born in San Severo (Foggia, Italy) on 14 October 1880 from a very poor family. In 1886 he was orphaned by a father, entered the seminary in 1892 and was ordained a priest on 6 June 1903. In a difficult time for the Church and the Catholic faith, he chose to be "a true priest", poor and indefatigable, a living sign of Jesus among the forgotten, the sick, the popular masses burned by hunger and instigated by the enemies of the Church, the landowners and the bourgeois clergy.

          Spiritually attracted by St. Francis of Assisi and St. Vincent de Paul, in 1905 he met the Salesian charism, which he made his own right up until his death. Highly regarded by his Superiors, he was the diocesan director of the Salesian Cooperators and spiritual guide and father of the Past Pupils, Salesians and Daughters of Mary Help of Christians. By the people he was considered "Don Bosco redux" and a little St Vincent for his great love for young people and the poor. He made the Salesian charism the lever for the diocese's renewal.

          With the past pupils and adults of the Salesian work, he constituted the propelling nucleus of the diocesan lay associations - in the ecclesial, educational, welfare and political spheres - under the banner of Rerum Novarum.

          A profoundly Eucharistic and Trinitarian soul, he was a priest who was perpetually reaching out, "outgoing", and of the peripheries. From 1 May 1927 and almost uninterruptedly until his death, he was pastor of Croce Santa in San Severo, almost a land of first evangelization. With a paternal and familiar style, a virtuous life and the fervor of apostolic works, he became close to the people, helping them with their primary needs to bring them nearer to the Lord.

          He died on 23 November 1977 in San Severo at the age of 97, after having recited the Glory be to the Father.

          • Vaticano
          • Felice Canelli
          • Servo di Dio
          • Santità Salesiana
            Gian Francesco Romano

            Belarus – XX Salesian Youth Evangelization Pilgrimage

            3 weeks 4 days ago
            Belarus – XX Salesian Youth Evangelization Pilgrimage

            (ANS - Budslau) - This year the traditional Salesian Evangelization Youth Pilgrimage (SMEP, in Belarusian) which went from Smorgon to the Marian Shrine of Budslav reached its 20th edition and was therefore celebrated with special attention. In the six days of walking, from 30 June to 5 July, more than 130 young pilgrims commemorated the origins of this journey and prayed for those who gave life to this beautiful tradition; before departure they had even collected memorabilia, testimonies and photographs of previous editions.

            The theme that guides the SMEP every year is the motto of the Rector Major's Strenna. Hence, this year, the reflections were dedicated to the theme: "Holiness for you, too." They were guided by the new Salesian priest Arthur Lyashnevski who, in his meditations, dealt with the theme starting from the parable of the seed tossed onto the good earth. In accompanying the young, on the road and with his words, the Salesian often presented examples from his personal and family history, something that the pilgrims especially enjoyed as they could see what it means to engage in a journey of holiness in everyday life.

            Furthermore, each day of the pilgrimage had a specific patron saint, chosen among the figures of holiness of the Salesian Family, whose image led the journey, and to whom the requests for intercession for that day were especially addressed.

            "We cannot fail to notice the enormous contribution of young people to the pilgrimage. Several teams of animators were responsible for the activities of each day: moments of prayer, relaxation, singing, animation, respect for the timetables …," the organizers said.


            Organizers and young people together, with the fundamental contribution of the Salesian Cooperators, also prepared open working groups in which the pilgrims could discuss and explore a certain issue: to know more about the patron saint, to reflect on the Holy Scriptures, to discuss holiness, sing, play or share their impressions on social networks.

            And, as usual, on the last day, all the pilgrims together participated in an exciting Via Crucis.

            Among this edition's novelties was the participation of a group of young people from the Salesian oratory in Moscow; also an increasingly appreciated and typical aspect is the great response of the population of the villages that the SMEP cross - for whom the energy and youthful enthusiasm represent a great impulse to the life of faith - and the spirit of service and evangelization proper of young people in Salesian circles.

            {gallery}Bielorussia - Pellegrinaggio a Budslau 2019{/gallery}

            • Bielorussia
            • PLE
            • Pellegrinaggi e Peregrinazioni
            • MGS Movimento Giovanile Salesiano
              Gian Francesco Romano

              Philippines – Synodo 2: Discerning Together

              3 weeks 4 days ago
              Philippines – Synodo 2: Discerning Together

              (ANS – Makati City) – The Philippines North Province (FIN) continues its process in renewing the Salesian Youth Ministry in the Province in this Year of the Youth in the country through its series of SYNODO that began last February 25, 2019.

              SYNODO is a spiritual journey where the Salesians of Don Bosco, the young people, and those who share in the charism of Don Bosco come and journey together with the Lord Jesus just like in the Emmaus story. They listen to what the Lord Jesus wants to tell them by listening to each other under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. They discern the Will of God together on how to be more effective evangelizers of the youth through a renewed Salesian youth ministry.

              Last July 6, 2019, representatives from the different Salesian settings gathered at the JOY Center of Don Bosco Technical Institute, Makati City, to go through the process of discernment of what already happened in the previous two SYNODOs [SYNODO 1: Youth Forum and Youth Festival, February 25 and SYNODO 2: Youth Festival, May 18]. This SYNODO 2: Youth Forum last July 6 focused on discerning the outputs collected during the SYNODO 1.

              Under the guidance of Fr Renato “DEGS” De Guzman, SDB, all the participants took part in the process of discernment that began with a personal time with the Lord Jesus in front of the Blessed Sacrament. Using the printed materials provided to them that contain all the gathered data before and during the first SYNODO, the participants divided themselves into small groups where they shared the fruits of their personal reflections.

              In this group sharing, the participants shared their hopes for the SDB priests and brothers especially in making themselves the Don Boscos for the youth of today. They also shared the challenges they encountered in being youth ministers either as SDBs or as lay youth ministers, or even as fellow youth to others. They also shared the directions they hope to take in renewing the Salesian youth ministry that is deeply rooted in Christ after the example of St. John Bosco.

              After lunch, the group sharing resumed for another hour. The moderator, Fr Degs, encouraged every group to share to the assembly any of the points the group wished that everybody in the assembly to know and be aware. The FIN Commission on Youth Ministry (CYM) gathered all the points that were shared and discussed during this inter-group sharing.

              The celebration of the Holy Mass was the finale of this day’s youth forum. Fr Ditto Gueco, SDB, the FIN Provincial Vicar, was the main celebrant. Together with him were a number of Salesian priests who were together with the young people the whole day, listening to them and discerning with them towards a renewed Salesian youth ministry.

              {gallery}FIN - SYNODO 2019{/gallery}

              • Filippine
              • FIN
              • Sinodo sui Giovani
              • Giovani
                Gian Francesco Romano

                Spain – "Suriya Project" unites children and young people from Aleppo and Spain

                3 weeks 5 days ago

                (ANS - Seville) – This summer seven young Syrians and one Spaniard are participating in an exchange of Salesian animators: this is a new proposal of the "Suriya Project" which aims to bring together children and young people from the youth centers of both countries.

                During this period, the youth of Aleppo and Damascus will participate in a number of summer activities of various Salesian youth centers in Spain. The aim for this exchange experience is to make the reception and sharing experiences between Syrian and Spanish animators real and concrete. Rita, Talin, Anna, Joelle, Reem, Tala and Amer, divided into two groups, are working and having fun as animators and group leaders in a summer camp in Sanlúcar La Mayor (Seville) and in another camp in Somalo (La Rioja) from 18 to 29 July. Later, they will participate in the urban camps of Vigo and Ourense. They will also have time to visit Madrid and Santiago de Compostela.

                Furthermore, Benjamín Morales, animator of the Youth Center "Francisco Míguez" of Malaga, will leave for a trip to Damascus next August. He shall meet with some friends he had befriended during a gathering of Salesian animators from Europe and the Middle East. Since then, he has kept in touch with them, but over time, explains Benjamin, "the impatient desire to go there and see things directly with my eyes was born in me."

                "This project, which started three years ago with a vigil for peace, is more than a solidarity initiative, because it seeks to unite children and young people from both countries," explains Fr Santiago Domínguez, SDB, the project's promoter. Through festivals, street markets and solidarity parties, the Spanish youth centers have collected around 20,000 euros in three years, which have been earmarked for the needs of young people in Syria - money with which the Syrian Salesians have been able to buy school supplies and organize various activities.

                Immediately after this experience of exchange between animators, the Don Bosco Confederation of Spain intends to give a new twist to the project. "We want to reorganize the project to support a youth business plan developed by the local Salesians. In this way, every center in Spain would commit itself to financing the business plan of a young person in Syria and with this procedure we could have a direct contact between the centers and the young people we will help," explains the Salesian.

                To continue to raise funds, the "Suriya Project" has launched the sale of solidarity colored pencils, under the motto "Don Bosco pinta el verano" (Don Bosco paints the summer), which can be obtained by writing to proyectosolidario@confedonbosco.org 

                Those who wish to collaborate can also do so by raising funds, making a donation or promoting the project on social networks.

                {gallery}Spagna - Progetto Suriya scambio animatori 2019{/gallery}

                • Spagna
                • Siria
                • MOR
                • SSM
                • SMX
                • Pastorale Giovanile
                  Gian Francesco Romano

                  Italy – Mother Graziella Benghini re-elected as Superior General of Salesian Oblates of Sacred Heart of Jesus

                  3 weeks 5 days ago
                  Italy – Mother Graziella Benghini re-elected as Superior General of Salesian Oblates of  Sacred Heart of Jesus

                  (ANS - Rome) – Yesterday, 22 July 2019, during the XI General Chapter of the Salesian Oblate Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (SOSC), and on the birthdate when the founder, Msgr. Giuseppe Cognata, is commemorated, the elections of the Superior General were held. Mother General Graziella Maria Benghini was re-elected for a second six-year term, that is 2019-2025. After her re-election, the Mother received homage from all the sisters present in the Generalate and a song of thanksgiving to God was sung next to the founder's remains.

                  Taking place from 6 to 28 July 2019, the XI General Chapter is developing on the theme "With Mary, the true oblate, chosen to be holy and immaculate ... sent into the world to be a prophecy of joy, hope and charity".

                  "In these days," declared the Mother General, "we have been working in the XI General Chapter on the various activities we have as a charism, at the service of our recipients and at the service of the mission in parishes and schools, an educational-pastoral activity that develops in different countries of the world."

                  Today's challenges are many, especially in the service they offer to girls and children suffering from broken family. The attention of the sisters is directly aimed at children, without forgetting the fundamental work that is developed with families. "In a confused and disoriented world, among so many problems and economic and work difficulties," explains the Superior, "we look to our parishes. This collaboration with the parish priests benefits families, girls and boys we serve."

                  The date of 22 July is special for SOSCs, birthdate of their founder, Msgr. Cognata, whose remains is found in the chapel of the Generalate of the religious, and who left the motto to the sisters: "Caritas Christi urget nos" (It is the love of Christ that fills our hearts and urges us to evangelize).

                  Mons. Cognata, a Salesian, founded the Congregation of the Salesian Oblate Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in 1933. The SOSC animate an active Congregation with a missionary vocation. They are dedicated above all to education in kindergartens and to the formation of young people, with special attention to catechesis and assistance to groups of young people in collaboration with parish priests. Currently there are about 250 sisters working in Italy, Bolivia and Peru.

                  {gallery}Elezione Madre Benghini SOSC 2019{/gallery}

                  • Italia
                  • SOSC Salesiane Oblate del Sacro Cuore
                    Gian Francesco Romano

                    Malawi – Young Salesian in formation killed in road accident

                    3 weeks 5 days ago
                    Malawi – Young Salesian in formation killed in road accident

                    (ANS - Kasungu) - Paul Mbalame, a young Salesian in formation of the “Zambia-Malawi-Zimbabwe-Namibia” Vice Province, died last Saturday afternoon, July 20, in Kasungu, Malawi, in a road accident involving the public transport vehicle he was traveling on.

                    The young Paul, just 28 years old, was born on 22 February 1991 in Zulu, Malawi, and had attended the Salesian novitiate in Makeni, near Lusaka, Zambia, between 2013 and 2014, making his first vows on August 15 of 2014.

                    He had subsequently completed his post-novitiate in Moshi, Tanzania, completing it in 2017. He had just finished his internship in his native country, between Lilongwe and Nkhotakota, and was preparing to go to Kenya, to the Nairobi-Utume Theologate, where next month he would have started training.

                    In communicating the sad news, the Secretary of the Vice Province of ZMB, Fr Vincent Tembo, requests prayers in suffrage for the young Salesian who has died prematurely.

                    • Malawi
                    • ZMB
                    • Decessi
                      Gian Francesco Romano

                      Cambodia – Cagliero Project Immersion Experience 2019

                      3 weeks 6 days ago
                      Cambodia – Cagliero Project Immersion Experience 2019

                      (ANS – Phnom Penh) – Every year the “Cagliero Project” journeys with a group of young Australians for an immersion experience. This year the group travelled to Cambodia. The group was composed of young people from Salesian works across Australia. The immersion with the Salesians took place at “Don Bosco Technical Centre” in Phnom Penh. The immersion program is a great opportunity to build upon the long lasting and ongoing relationship that the Cagliero Project has with this incredible community.

                      The immersion group was kept busy for the duration of our time in Cambodia and there were so many different facets to the experience. We began with a hands-on project to create cement to help with the drainage around the football field. After coming from a very cold Australia, this work left us dirty and tired but with a great feeling of satisfaction. What was best about this project is that we participated with the local students and were able to start building relationships right from the outset of the immersion.

                      A highlight for the group was the opportunity to stay with a local Khmer family. Our young people were welcomed beautifully into the homes of local teachers from Don Bosco and were able to have a real experience of day-to-day life in Cambodia.

                      After spending some time during the week to learn about Cambodia’s brutal history we turned our attention to running a three-day youth leadership program. Salesian youth travelled from around Cambodia to Phnom Penh to be part of this special program. This weekend was pure fun and enjoyment as both the young Australians and Khmer deepened their understanding to what it means to be a young Salesian. The program culminated in an activity day for the school that was run by the program participants. It was incredible to see all the young people empowered to take ownership of being a young Salesian leader and to see them put this into action. Although the day was exhausting, everyone was buzzing with excitement at the end of the day for all they had achieved.

                      With heavy hearts and many tears, the immersion group departed from Phnom Penh to spend our final days visiting the temples in Siem Reap. We also took the opportunity as a group to reflect, debrief and pray about all that we learned and experienced. The overwhelming sentiment as we returned home was of immense gratitude.

                      “We are so grateful for the very special relationship that we have with the Salesians in Cambodia. And now – we have yet another group of young people who have been captured by the Salesian spirit and by the wondrous, Kingdom of Cambodia,” says Lauren Hichaaba, Director of the Cagliero Project.

                      • Cambogia
                      • AUL
                      • Australia
                      • Missioni
                      • Volontariato
                        Gian Francesco Romano

                        Ecuador – Nataly's willpower to overcome her serious physical problem

                        3 weeks 6 days ago
                        Ecuador – Nataly's willpower to overcome her serious physical problem

                        (ANS - Pesillo) - Nataly is 19 and was born prematurely, when she was seven months old, due to her mother's illness. She lives in a very poor area of ​​Ecuador and has had to make many sacrifices to overcome the disability in her legs that she'd had since birth. Thanks to the Salesians, she now leads a normal life and her testimony is an example for the children in difficulty in her country.

                        Nataly was born in the community of Pesillo. Her mother had a tumor when she was pregnant and this seems to have been the cause of the two-month early delivery. Being born prematurely, along with other circumstances of the pregnancy, marked her deeply, and Nataly was born with deviant feet.

                        She started walking at the age of four and this prevented her from playing and developing simultaneously with other children of her age. As a child her mother took her to rehabilitation, but when Nataly was two her mom died, and so she stopped receiving health care for her problem.

                        Her problems increased when her father went to live with another woman: Nataly was entrusted to her grandmother, a very poor old woman who could not take her to continue rehabilitation.

                        Two years ago, an aunt of Nataly took her to the Salesian clinic in "Mitad del Mundo" where she had an x-ray and was visited by a traumatologist. She had a tumor on her left leg and had to undergo surgery. Fifteen years had passed since the previous medical examination and the family had to raise funds to be able to operate. But the "Casa Campesina" of the Salesians also supported her so that she could be operated.

                        From that moment on, Nataly started going to the Salesian clinic for rehabilitation and began to walk better and without pain. She started running and feels safer and more stable. Moreover, following the therapy helped her to relate to other children and young people of her age and every day she thanks the Salesians for the help they offered to start a new life.

                        • Ecuador
                        • ECU
                        • Salute
                          Gian Francesco Romano

                          Spain – Alejandro Cuenca, Salesian student in Madrid, saves a child from drowning

                          3 weeks 6 days ago
                          Spain – Alejandro Cuenca, Salesian student in Madrid, saves a child from drowning

                          (ANS - Madrid) – It's around 4:00 pm. 15 July. The thermometer is well over 30° C. The scene is the usual setting at this time of the year: a child slips into the neighborhood pool – in this case, in Vicálvaro, Madrid. After some time in the water, the boy begins to feel sick. The lifeguard, Alejandro Cuenca, notices the child no longer moves in the water and dives in without hesitation to save the boy.

                          Word is out that the minor is in danger. Alejandro had in fact noticed something strange when the child first entered the pool. "I realized that he had been in the water for more than 5 seconds, he wasn't diving, and he wasn't doing anything. I approached and then dove towards him. He was unconscious, his eyes wide and his mouth full of foam," Alejandro told Telemadrid. The young lifeguard remains calm and practices Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) on the child.

                          It's now 4:20 pm and at the 112 Emergency Center doctors have already received warning that there is a child who seems to have drowned. When the ambulance of the Medical Emergency Service of Madrid (SUMMA) arrives at the pool, it practically has nothing to do: the child is alive,  has come out of cardiorespiratory arrest thanks to Alejandro's actions. However, the medical staff decide to stabilize the child and take him to the hospital.

                          The protagonist of this venture was Alejandro Cuenca, 20, a Salesian student, who is currently attending the Higher Vocational Training Course - Social-Sports Teaching and Animation - at the Salesian Institute "Domingo Savio" in Madrid, a center he has been attending since Basic Vocational Training.

                          Recalling what he did in an interview with Telemadrid, Alejandro talked about the importance of training in these cases. However, his wish is not to have to behave like a hero again: "It's the first time in my life and I hope it's the last time, that it never happens to me again."

                          According to the Emergency Service of the Community of Madrid, "Alejandro's intervention was providential because he managed to reverse the cardio-circulatory arrest thanks to his speed and his professionalism."

                          • Spagna
                          • Sport
                          • Studenti
                            Gian Francesco Romano

                            United Nations – Salesian Participation at U.N. Political Forum

                            3 weeks 6 days ago
                            United Nations – Salesian Participation at U.N. Political Forum

                            (ANS – New York) – From Tuesday, July 9, to Thursday, July 18, the annual High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) took place at United Nations headquarters in New York City. The program attracted more than 2,000 participants, including some 100 government ministers. Over 40 countries have presented their Voluntary National Reviews.

                            The HLPF is the main U.N. platform for follow-up and review of the progress made toward the 2030 Agenda, consisting of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that were set out in 2015.

                            The theme of this year’s meeting was “Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality.” Included on the program were an in-depth review of SDG 4 (quality education), SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth), SDG 10 (reduced inequalities), SDG 13 (climate action), and SDG 16 (peace, justice, and strong institutions). In addition SDG 17 (partnerships for the Goals) is reviewed every year. 

                            According to Inga Rhonda King, president of the U.N. Economic and Social Council (ESOSOC), the entity that supports the HLPF, this event is a global platform to showcase experiences and forge partnerships, an “unprecedented opportunity to talk to each other and learn from each other.”

                            Salesian Participation

                            In this context the Salesians, through Fr. Thomas Pallithanam, our representative at the U.N., proposed two side events during the main forum, on July 10-11, in partnership with other institutions, such as Misean Cara from Ireland.

                            According to the organizers, it is really important that whenever possible the Salesians make efforts to promote this kind of activities and actively participate in major U.N. events. Wojciech Mroczek, Don Bosco Network coordinator, stated: “When you participate in some structures and events, this is how to be heard. This is when you have an influence. This is a different type of missionary work. All the structures already exist, so if we don’t present our voice, there is no voice of the Gospel in these institutions.” In addition, these forums offer a great opportunity for networking and improving the public relations of Salesian Missions, which benefits all Salesian works around the world.

                            The first one side event, “Addressing Inclusion, Inequality, and Institutions,” had connections with almost all the SDGs under review this year, except no. 13. That Goal was discussed intensely in the second side event, “Youth Aspirations and Climate Urgency.” (See separate article, here.)

                            For the first side event, the Salesians invited selected representatives from Salesian projects which have a capacity of advocacy in their realities at local and national level and are part of the discussion about implementing the SDGs Agenda.

                            Young people were invited to lead the discussion about climate change, particularly by presenting the Don Bosco Green Alliance. The young activists came to New York to share their concrete experiences and led the conversation about “hope and aspirations in a world that threatened by the adverse effects of climate change and threats to environment, ecology, society, and economy.” According to Fr. Savio Silveira, founder of the Don Bosco Green Alliance, “It was truly inspiring to engage with these young people, each of them from a different continent, all of them committed to the cause of climate action, because they feel strongly that climate change is threatening the aspirations of young people.”

                            All panelists, moderators, and organizers of side events were subscribed as participants of the whole HPLF. Since most of them were from Salesian works, the Salesians enjoyed a great representation during the event, specially through the young people, who had the opportunity for a special experience in their lives and were able to strengthen their convictions as activists and changemakers connected with the Salesian charism.

                            Addressing Inclusion, Inequality, and Institutions

                            The first side event, on July 10, was promoted in partnership with Misean Cara. The discussions and reflections of this session focused on the Voluntary National Reviews process in the participating countries and the possibilities for strengthening VNR mechanisms and the evaluation of the SGDs, in order to achieve them. The section was moderated by Eamonn Casey, project officer for human rights at Misean Cara.

                            The keynote was presented by Sandra Epal-Ratjen, international advocacy director of Franciscans International. She highlighted the need to promote accountability, since the SDGs are voluntary. “They are political commitments, [but] there is no political obligation to the SDGs.” On the other hand, human Rights are legal obligations and need to be monitored. So, according to Ms. Epal-Ratjen, human rights obligations can be used to hold governments accountable. “Because we have a record of complementarity correspondence, we can use human rights more effectively to attain and infuse this accountability and these legal obligations, which nations should declare will be put in place to implement and achieve the SDGs,” she argued.

                            Ms. Epal-Ratjen gave the example from Uganda, where she works; together with other NGOs and civil society colleagues, the Franciscans have decided to be engaged more in monitoring, which will enable them to call for more policies.

                            In general, she maintained that to look at the SDGs from the human rights perspective can be the best way to monitor more precisely and give visibility to particular issues and find solutions to attain the SDGs. Systems of measurement and monitoring of human rights and SDGs require more dialogue among participating governments and NGOs.

                            To complement the discussion, the panelists presented their own grass roots experiences and learnings. They were all from Africa, but different countries, projects, and realities, two of them from Salesian presences.

                            Benson Osei-Savio Boateng , coordinator of the Anglophone West Africa Salesian Province’s development office, showed what Salesian works in Ghana, especially Don Bosco Technical Institute, are doing to provide diverse educational programs that will meet the demand for skills training. The Salesians help youths gain the skills needed to find stable employment. Mr. Boateng’s topice directly with related to SDG 8.

                            Samuel Thomas Bojohn, assistant director of Don Bosco Fambul, in Freetown, Sierra Leone, described how the Salesian work with the victims of trafficking and prostitution. This work corresponds with SDGs 4 and 8, and enables the Salesians to advocate for government accountability.

                            Finally, Colin Kenneth Northmore, director of Three2Six, a Marist program in South Africa, shared the experience and efforts to give access to education for migrants and refugee children, through the action, advocacy, and sensitive work with the institutions and society to generate inclusion and justice.

                            The audience was really attentive during the session and interactive. After the panel presentations, many good ideas and perspectives, especially about minority groups and how to take them into account, and questions about relationships with governments helped to deepen the discussion and induced the panelists to bring forth more detailed information and ideas.

                            During the conclusions and recommendations, Mr. Mroczek highlighted the importance of networking and the necessity of inclusion, points that featured during the whole main event and all the discussions.

                            An invitation to brainstorm produced more recommendations. Participants also have the possibility of sending additional contributions.

                            Fr. Pallithanam and the representatives of Misean Cara and Don Bosco Network commented that they were very happy to engage with other people about marginalized populations in the side event. The participants look forward to keeping in touch and making further observations.

                            By Jakeline Magalhães

                            • ONU
                            • Don Bosco Network
                              Gian Francesco Romano

                              Democratic Republic of Congo - Another fire in Bukavu

                              4 weeks 2 days ago
                              Democratic Republic of Congo - Another fire in Bukavu

                              (ANS - Bukavu) - Another fire shook Bukavu last June 30 and, still today, the city is dealing with the damage caused by the flames.

                              The fire broke out around 21:00 local time on Sunday 30 June and started in a home in the neighborhood known as "Camp Zaire", which is part of the parish territory. The fire soon spread from one house to another and, as usual, people tried to limit the damage. Many fled their homes and had to spend the night outside. On the morning of 1 July, the smoke could still be seen: the severity of the fire was striking.

                              "In our city, fires are unfortunately frequent and have different causes," explained Fr Piero Gavioli, a Salesian missionary in the country. "At the root of these inconveniences, there is a long series of irresponsibility and bad governance often denounced by our bishops: lack of control, neglect, corruption, impunity," he continued.

                              In fact, only 10 months ago, another devastating fire started in Bukavu, causing casualties and destroying many homes. This new fire, as Fr Gavioli explains, has also destroyed a dozen houses of "Mothers Courage", supported by the Don Bosco Center.

                              For this reason, Fr Piero Gavioli, together with Bienvenu Karume, social worker of the Don Bosco Center, have returned to ask for help for families affected by the fire.

                              "I therefore appeal to your solidarity," writes Fr Piero. "Any offer, even if it seems small, is precious. It can help a child, a family. We will again use the money we will receive to pay school fees for children whose families have lost their homes, clothes, school objects and all their belongings in this fire."

                              The proceeds of the offers, in fact, will not be used to rebuild the houses. After the first fire, the Salesians, in collaboration with the diocesan Caritas and the parish of Nguba, used the money to pay school fees for the year 2018-19 for about 160 pupils of the families affected and, this time, the purpose is the same. The reason they don't want to rebuild their homes is simple: they would be built in the same way and could catch fire and burn again at any time.

                              The Don Bosco Center has also signed a collaboration agreement with the local NGO CCF (Célébrons le Courage des Femmes), which aims to improve socio-economic living conditions. The head of the CCF, who is part of the Salesian Youth Movement, aims to raise awareness among women in the affected neighborhoods. In fact, women play a fundamental role in economic and social life.

                              • AFC
                                Virginia Nitto

                                Italy - Today's VDB mission

                                4 weeks 2 days ago
                                Italy - Today's VDB mission

                                (ANS - Frascati) - The eighth General Assembly of the Secular Institute of Volunteers of Don Bosco (VDB) began yesterday, 18 July; its theme: "Today's VDB mission". A new world moderator will be elected at the General Assembly, who will follow Olga K, who ends her term after two consecutive mandates. All 84 members with voting rights will be casting their votes to elect the new moderator.

                                The VDB Secular Institute has almost 1,200 members who are located in 60 countries around the world and who live their consecration to God through the vows of obedience, poverty and chastity in their ordinary daily lives. They do not live in communities, but usually gather as a group once or twice a month, to live together days of recollection and formation.

                                Sometimes it is not easy for the other groups of the Salesian Family to understand the "secular consecration" of the VDBs. Through the simple words of the outgoing World Moderator, Olga K, entrusted to the quarterly magazine of the VDB "Crescere", one can however understand a little more about this Secular Institute. "I want that the good Lord makes of me and all my sisters a living tabernacle in this world," she said.

                                We can all help the delegates of the General Assembly with our prayers. During the period of preparation for the Assembly, the Institute indeed proposed to support them by reciting the following prayer:

                                 

                                Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit:
                                Your name is Love. With this infinite Love, you enter the heart of every person and into human history.
                                Holy Trinity God, God of Love, bless our eighth General Assembly.
                                Guide our steps to discover new and profound ways to offer your water to the world,
                                the only one that can quench our thirst.
                                We believe that every time we open our hearts to discover the face of our needy brothers and sisters,
                                we receive the fresh water of your Love, the courage and joy of announcing your Word, like the Samaritan woman.

                                We ask you: renew in us the desire for your Love and the thirst for you,
                                so that we may welcome the living water that you offer us.
                                Give us the strength of the Holy Spirit to become a water of love for the entire world.
                                Amen.

                                Mary Help of Christians, pray for us.
                                Saint John Bosco, pray for us.
                                Blessed Philip Rinaldi, pray for us.

                                • VDB Volontarie di Don Bosco
                                • Italia
                                  Virginia Nitto

                                  Argentina - "Germinating young entrepreneurs": offering vocational training

                                  4 weeks 2 days ago

                                  (ANS - Mendoza) - In the small town of Rodeo del Medio, Mendoza, needs abound. The Don Bosco house seeks to respond through the Salesian educational proposal. For years, the economic crisis has intensely crossed Rodeo del Medio, a town in the department of Maipú in the province of Mendoza, Argentina. The local population is mainly rural, their income from the land, or so it is for 72% of the families. There is a lack of employment opportunities, which demotivates local students, has a lot of students leave school early and generates a culture of "non-work", which in turn brings them closer to the environment of addictions and violence.

                                  In this sense, the education that young people receive in general is not adequate to their real needs and is lacking in the tools necessary to motivate them and give them an entrepreneurial spirit, an appreciation for work.

                                  It is here that one remembers the life and work of Don Bosco, a life that inspires us to think of quality professional training that can offer children the tools and knowledge they need today. Thus, the house and work of Rodeo del Medio has expanded over the years through its educational offerings at various levels (initial, primary, secondary, tertiary, higher education and job training), all to promoting the development of skills, technical and human abilities.

                                  This is the idea behind the "Germinating Young Entrepreneurs" project. It aims to expand the current educational offer offered by the Don Bosco Institute and the Vocational Training Institute, providing professional training in the area of ​​beekeeping, gardens and aromatic plants.


                                  In 2018, the idea of ​​restructuring and preparing the place where these working activities could be perfected began to materialize, and courses began.

                                  In this way they have tried to broaden and qualify the Institute's educational offer, equating the possibilities for progress for the area's young people and providing them with the necessary tools so that they can access the world of work. The center also tries to foster values that contribute to a better society.

                                  The steps taken include the construction of a new greenhouse, the production of aromatic plants, modernizing the apiary and the infrastructure for an educational laboratory and a tool room.
                                  The Salesian House of Rodeo del Medio, without a doubt, is a space of containment that knows how to give support and offer different opportunities to young people who want to pursue their dreams, even in the face of an un-encouraging panorama.

                                  • ARN
                                  • Argentina
                                  • Formazione Professionale
                                    Virginia Nitto

                                    Ecuador - Consecration of new parish temple "Our Lady of the Rosary"

                                    1 month ago

                                    (ANS - Tarqui) - The Eucharist and the consecration of the new parish temple "Our Lady of the Rosary" in Tarqui were celebrated on Saturday 13 July. Monsignor Eduardo Castillo Pino, Apostolic Administrator of Portoviejo, presided over the Eucharist, concelebrated by many priests. Hundreds of faithful attended the event, which also saw the presence of Fr Francisco Sánchez, Salesian Provincial from Ecuador, and of Fr Francisco Gómez, the parish priest. Also present were various civil authorities, including the city mayor, Agustín Intriago.

                                    The celebration began with a historical overview of the parish and with the explanation of the construction process by the director of ETINAR, the construction company. Subsequently the Bishop, to begin the consecration of the parish, knocked on the door three times, commemorating the three days passed before the Resurrection of Christ. Once this passage was concluded, the religious and all the citizens entered the procession, thus beginning the Eucharist.

                                    "At this moment, in which we are inaugurating this Church dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary, we feel sentiments of joy and satisfaction being born. I want to say that 'She had done everything', as Don Bosco said. This Church that we inaugurate today will be a place of prayer and meeting for our young people of the 'Collegio St Joseph' and for all those who will come," said the Provincial.

                                    From 16 April 2016, the day of the earthquake, the Salesian Congregation, benefactors and parishioners have in fact responded to the need to rebuild this Church.

                                    The parish of "Our Lady of the Rosary" was consecrated on 1 April 1944 by bishop Nicanor Gavilanes, apostolic administrator of Portoviejo. Fr Julio Haro was its first pastor. During the early years, the place of worship was a chapel built with the help of the locals, where an image of the Virgin of the Rosary was venerated. The first church was then built by Fr Aldo Canzi in 1970; since then, 22 Salesian parish priests have followed.


                                    Currently, the catechesis of the Parish of Our Lady of the Rosary is taught in 5 centers, which are: the Mary Help of Christians Oratory, the Saint Joseph Missionary Center; the Church of the Apostles Peter and Paul, the Educational Unit Leonie Aviat and the Salesian Oratory of St. Joseph.

                                    • Ecuador
                                    • ECU
                                    • Santuario
                                    • Parrocchie
                                      Jesus Jurado

                                      Paraguay - Participation of Sebastián Núñez at NASA campsite and "TED Talks"

                                      1 month ago

                                      (ANS - Asunción) - Sebastián Núñez is a Salesian Past Pupil who completed his studies at the "Salesianito" School of Asunción, Paraguay, in 2018. A few days ago he spoke of his 2018 experience at NASA in the "TED Talks". TEDs are online conferences whose slogan is: "Ideas worth spreading". Sebastián's achievement is not just an idea, but an experience worth making known, especially among young people in search of their vocation.

                                      In July 2018, Sebastián Núñez received the best news of his life: he was accepted into NASA's "Space Camp" program at the "Space & Rocket Center" in Huntsville, Alabama, USA. The young man said he went through a long process before being selected. To win the competition, he had to present numerous documents, reference letters, an experiment he had done and had had to document with photographs and videos. "It was a goal we achieved because I've always dreamed of being part of a NASA program and even working there," Sebastián said.

                                      "As difficult as it may seem - some more, others less – for those who have always dreamed of being an astronaut," Sebastián continued, "it seemed such a distant objective, yet I went ahead to achieve it. The experience of the Space Camp was a further step forward that brought me closer to what I had always dreamed of," he said.

                                      After completing his experience at NASA, in July 2019 Sebastian was sent to participate in the "TED Talks" which, as mentioned, is an online program where young people talk about their dreams and their experiences. "At home I had no internet, but I had a collection of encyclopedias and books," Sebastián explained to the audience, "and I would spend my time drawing planets and comets. At night I spent hours looking at the sky and the stars. As a child I cultivated this dream of becoming an astronaut. I'm happy to share my personal experience, to show that it is possible, with the utmost dedication, to fulfill one's dreams."


                                      Participating in this conference, Sebastián not only narrated his experience, but also listened to other stories, of other young people, which are a source of inspiration for others. He then wanted to emphasize that the future of nations is in the hands of the new generations.

                                      • PAR
                                      • Paraguay
                                      • Salesianito
                                      • NASA
                                        Virginia Nitto

                                        Italy - Radio INE goes live!

                                        1 month ago
                                        Italy - Radio INE goes live!

                                        (ANS - Mestre) - Radio INE is a new feature show dedicated to life in the Salesian "San Marco" Province (INE) of Mestre. It was created in collaboration with IUSVE Cube Radio. It represents a radio program where young people can talk and, together with Provincial Fr Igino Biffi, discuss important topics concerning vocation, formation and education. A summing up, also, of the most heartfelt and shared parts of the "Provincial's Letter", published every 24th of the month on the website www.salesianinordest.it and sent to all the directors of the 33 Salesian realities of the Triveneto.

                                        The radio show will also be a place to talk about experiences and activities related to the work organized by the Youth Ministry Team of Mestre (www.donboscoland.it), with episodes featuring testimonials of young people who took part in the different activities. Last but not least, a space will be dedicated to the most popular news from the Salesian Houses in the Mestre Province.

                                        The presence of the Provincial, Fr Igino Biffi, will be flanked by radio show host Dr. Francesca Bonotto (integrated communication of the Salesian Province of "San Marco" INE of Mestre) and by several guests alternating from episode to episode, each narrating their story or experience of the activities of the month in the Province.

                                        Participating in the first episode of Radio INE was Elisa Ghirardon, a student of IUSVE, engaged in a year of Salesian National Civil Service at the Istituto Superiore Salesiano San Marco of Mestre. Two Salesian realities were also mentioned, namely the Salesian Oratory of Schio and the Salesian Institute "Rainerum" of Bolzano, for their ability to involve the young in the activities and their unique nature.

                                        A special mention goes to the IUSVE Cube Radio team, the Salesian University Institute of Venice and Verona which, under the guidance of professor Marco Sanavio, director of the radio station and of the multimedia laboratory, made this new experience possible, supporting professionally as they did the provincial communications and transforming it into voice and video aimed also at children.


                                        One has but to tune in via the website www.salesianordest.it and follow the official pages of the social networks of the Salesian Province "San Marco" INE in Mestre to keep up to date.


                                        These links are available at "Lettera dell'Ispettore": with the first episode of Radio INE - June 2019.

                                        • INE
                                        • IUSVE
                                        • don Igino Biffi
                                          Virginia Nitto
                                          ANS - Agenzia Info Salesiana. Periodico plurisettimanale telematico, organo di comunicazione della Congregazione Salesiana

                                          Eritrea – Church under attack, common people hurt

                                          3 weeks 2 days ago
                                          Eritrea – Church under attack, common people hurt

                                          (ANS - Asmara) - The Catholic Church in Eritrea has always collaborated and cooperated with the institutions. In the specific case of health services, the quality of the service offered by its facilities was considered by the government itself as an excellence of the country. However, in the months of June and July, twenty-two health centers managed by Catholic organizations were forced to close, and there is also fear for the fate of schools. But by depriving the Church of its works, it only damages the Eritrean population itself, especially the most needy.

                                          The last Catholic hospital was closed on Friday 5 July: the sisters who ran the facility in Zager were forced to leave by the police and seals were placed on the doors. The nuns were told to leave the hospital immediately and were prevented from taking hospital equipment with them. Another 8 Catholic centers had already been confiscated between 2017 and 2018 in the name of a law of 1995 through which the State imposed itself as the sole manager of social works.

                                          The structures is meant to become public, but, as explained to the foundation "Aid to the Church in Need" by a source close to the Eritrean Church - anonymous for security reasons - "there has been no transfer: the agents simply sealed everything, depriving the population of a vital service. The patients were of every faith; we Catholics in Eritrea are just barely 5%."

                                          In this wave of confiscations, some have read the regime's response to the criticism of the Church of its government. In their pastoral letters, the Catholic bishops had called upon for deep political reforms in the country that currently has no constitution and has never organized presidential and legislative elections.

                                          At the moment there is a strong fear of the fate of 50 schools, from elementary to high school, and over 100 nurseries managed by the Catholic Church in Eritrea. Greater certainty about the fate of the institutes may be had in September with the beginning of the new school year.

                                          Eritrea, according to a report by the American NGO "Freedom House", committed to defending human rights, is a nation in a continuous state of emergency: "The restrictions and violations of fundamental rights, the prospect of a draft for an indefinite period in the form of a national service (armed forces) and the limited opportunities for work and education push thousands of Eritreans each year to try to escape from the country," Fr Mussie Zerai, priest of the Eparchy of Asmara and representative of the Agency Habeshia, said to the Fides agency.

                                          He adds, to conclude: "I urge the international community not to remain silent, so that the drama of the Eritrean people does not fall into general indifference."

                                          • Eritrea
                                          • Chiesa
                                          • Salute
                                            Gian Francesco Romano

                                            Angola – In support of Luanda's underage mothers

                                            3 weeks 2 days ago
                                            Angola – In support of Luanda's underage mothers

                                            (ANS - Luanda) - In Angola one child out of six does not reach the age of five and in the country's capital, Luanda, a city of extreme contrasts, the number of minors living on the streets is increasing exponentially from month to month. Faithful to the charism of their founder, the Salesians place themselves at the service of these most needy children.

                                            Many of these children run away from home due to their parents' lack of interest, others as a result of abuse, others because they are undermined by the popular belief that they are "feitiseiri" (sorcerers, witches) who attract misfortune onto the family. Once on the street, these children wander from neighborhood to neighborhood, sleep wherever possible, and survive thanks to small jobs in the center of Luanda: shoe shiners, window washers, porters ... Many girls end up prostituting themselves, and virtually everyone inhales gasoline and glue to calm the pangs of  hunger and to find an apparent consolation to their solitude, to the sense of emptiness they experience.

                                            The Salesians began working for the recovery of street children in the 1990s when groups of children fleeing the war that tore the country apart for almost thirty years flowed into the capital. Today the motivations have changed, but the phenomenon of street children continues and for this reason the Salesians have developed new strategies: if in the war years the main objective was to offer first assistance to minors, now it is to reunite, through a path of reception and rehabilitation, street children to their families of origin.

                                            The spiritual Sons of Don Bosco are currently developing a special project for single mothers living in the streets; to this end, they are renovating a building wherein to welcome them and their children: they want to build a safe nest or shelter in which mothers and children find a home that can guarantee protection and warmth.

                                            Every year, thanks to this initiative, twenty underage girls shall be welcomed and involved in health and psychological assistance activities, alongside the possibility of attending vocational training courses and a family reunification path with the family of origin.

                                            For more information: www.missionidonbosco.org

                                            • Angola
                                            • Missioni
                                            • Ragazze
                                            • Donne
                                            • Giovani a Rischio Sociale
                                            • Bambini di Strada
                                              Gian Francesco Romano

                                              Brazil – Missionary Week: over 1,000 youths committed to building Kingdom of God

                                              3 weeks 3 days ago
                                              Brazil – Missionary Week: over 1,000 youths committed to building Kingdom of God

                                              (ANS - São Paolo) – In Brazil the month of July is traditionally the period of school holidays. But at the same time, for many young Christians, it is also the period in which rest and leisure are put aside to devote time and energy to their faith: thus the experience of the Missionary Week promoted by the Salesian Youth Ministry of the Province of Brazil São Paulo (BSP) through the Mission Animation Service - an experience now in its 25th edition.

                                              In 2019, for the second consecutive year, there were over one thousand young people involved in the mission. They are pupils and past pupils of the Salesian Schools Network, young people who attend social works, parishes, institutes of higher education and oratories of Salesian presences in the State of São Paulo.

                                              Accompanied by more than 100 leaders and spiritual assistants, in a climate of Salesian youth spirituality constantly alive and joyful, the young people divided themselves into groups in the parishes of 11 cities within the State of São Paulo: Alambari, Angatuba, Cajuru, Cunha, Jacareí, Lorraine, Morungaba, Rio das Pedras, Saltinho, Tatuí and Tuiuti.

                                              For a week the groups of boys, girls and young people made their operative bases in the parish structures, from which they then departed every day on an expedition: they carried out visits and blessings in the houses, animated liturgical celebrations and workshops and games with the community, offered training sessions ...

                                              Some groups also visited organizations active in the social sector or helped organize the feast of the patron saint, such as the Salesian groups of Americana, Araraquaraquara, Araras and São Carlos, who were on a mission in the city of Cajuru and actively participated in the novena to St. Benedict, patron of the local parish, whose liturgical feast was celebrated on 11 July.

                                              Now empowered by the experience of 25 editions, Mission Week is more and more a pastoral project with a double value: on the one hand, it leaves an important mark in the communities that welcome the young people, who are contaminated by new joy, faith and spirit they carry with them; on the other, it also indelibly marks the young missionaries, who have the opportunity to learn about new realities, help other people, deepen the Salesian charism, form groups and networks, put themselves on the line and make their talents available in an unusual way.

                                              Anderson Bueno

                                              {gallery}BSP - Settimana Missioniaria 2019{/gallery} 

                                              • Brasile
                                              • BSP
                                              • Missioni
                                                Gian Francesco Romano

                                                Thailand - Celebrating 50th anniversary of Catholic community "Ban Thap Christ"

                                                3 weeks 3 days ago

                                                (ANS - Khlong Cha-un) - On Sunday, 21 July, the Salesian Msgr. Joseph Prathan Sridarunsil, SDB, bishop of the Diocese of Surat Thani, presided over the solemn Eucharist celebrating the 50th anniversary (1969 - 2019) of the Catholic community "Ban Thap Christ" - a Christian village in the municipality of Khlong Cha-un, district of Phanom, province of Surat Thani. The celebration took place in the parish dedicated to Mary Help of Christians, which - like the entire area - has always been under the pastoral care of the spiritual Sons of Don Bosco.

                                                The Salesian mission is currently led by Salesian parish priest Fr Terry Tapay. Before the actual feast the inhabitants prepared for the anniversary through a community spiritual journey, for which the priests and religious present went to visit each family, and Mass was celebrated for groups. Then, on the morning of 21 July 2019, the Pastoral Council, in collaboration with the local authorities, the village chief and many volunteers, organized the "Thap Christ Mini-Marathon", which crossed the streets and alleys of the village, involving a total of over 1,600 people.

                                                The history of this Christian village is intimately linked to the Salesian presence: since the Christian population in the area of Baan Saeng Arun was growing and there were not enough land for the younger generations, Msgr. Pietro Caretto, SDB, asked the government for an area of 500 acres located in the district of Phanom. The government accepted this request on December 29, 1969. The first group of Catholic faithful came from the church dedicated to Our Lady of Fatima to Saeng Arun, led by Fr Delfino Crespi, SDB, who celebrated the first mass in a small church of the new community on 23 January 1970.

                                                With Fr Pietro Jellici, SDB, small bamboo houses were then built with cogon grass roof. In the 1970s, many other people began to populate the area, having an area of 5 acres per family. Life at the beginning was very hard: the locals had to build roads and bridges to connect to the main road, 17 km away, and to market their agricultural products.

                                                But among difficulties and problems Fr Crespi inculcated a strong faith in God and a great devotion to Mary Help of Christians in the hearts of people.

                                                "We thank God that allowed the Salesian missionaries to start and consolidate the foundations of this Catholic village," say the inhabitants of Ban Thap Christ today.

                                                {gallery}50 anni di Ban Thap Christ - 2019{/gallery}

                                                • Thailandia
                                                • THA
                                                • Anniversari
                                                • Vescovi
                                                • Joseph Prathan Sridarunsil
                                                  Gian Francesco Romano

                                                  Vatican – "Positio super virtutibus" of Servant of God Felice Canelli consigned

                                                  3 weeks 4 days ago

                                                  (ANS - Vatican City) - The Positio super Vita, Virtutibus et Fama Sanctitatis of the Servant of God Felice Canelli, priest of the Diocese of San Severo (Foggia-Italy), was delivered to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints on Friday 19 July 2019, his Cause of Beatification being followed by the Salesian Postulation.

                                                  The Positio's curator was Fr Zdzisław Kijas, OFM Conv., its Postulator Fr Pierluigi Cameroni, SDB, and as Collaborators: Dr. Lodovica Maria Zanet and Sister Francesca Caggiano, Daughter of Mary Help of Christians.

                                                  The "Positio", which presents all the documentary and testatory evidence relating to the virtuous life of the Servant of God in an articulated and in-depth manner, will now be examined by the Theological Consultors of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

                                                  Fr Canelli was born in San Severo (Foggia, Italy) on 14 October 1880 from a very poor family. In 1886 he was orphaned by a father, entered the seminary in 1892 and was ordained a priest on 6 June 1903. In a difficult time for the Church and the Catholic faith, he chose to be "a true priest", poor and indefatigable, a living sign of Jesus among the forgotten, the sick, the popular masses burned by hunger and instigated by the enemies of the Church, the landowners and the bourgeois clergy.

                                                  Spiritually attracted by St. Francis of Assisi and St. Vincent de Paul, in 1905 he met the Salesian charism, which he made his own right up until his death. Highly regarded by his Superiors, he was the diocesan director of the Salesian Cooperators and spiritual guide and father of the Past Pupils, Salesians and Daughters of Mary Help of Christians. By the people he was considered "Don Bosco redux" and a little St Vincent for his great love for young people and the poor. He made the Salesian charism the lever for the diocese's renewal.

                                                  With the past pupils and adults of the Salesian work, he constituted the propelling nucleus of the diocesan lay associations - in the ecclesial, educational, welfare and political spheres - under the banner of Rerum Novarum.

                                                  A profoundly Eucharistic and Trinitarian soul, he was a priest who was perpetually reaching out, "outgoing", and of the peripheries. From 1 May 1927 and almost uninterruptedly until his death, he was pastor of Croce Santa in San Severo, almost a land of first evangelization. With a paternal and familiar style, a virtuous life and the fervor of apostolic works, he became close to the people, helping them with their primary needs to bring them nearer to the Lord.

                                                  He died on 23 November 1977 in San Severo at the age of 97, after having recited the Glory be to the Father.

                                                  • Vaticano
                                                  • Felice Canelli
                                                  • Servo di Dio
                                                  • Santità Salesiana
                                                    Gian Francesco Romano

                                                    Belarus – XX Salesian Youth Evangelization Pilgrimage

                                                    3 weeks 4 days ago
                                                    Belarus – XX Salesian Youth Evangelization Pilgrimage

                                                    (ANS - Budslau) - This year the traditional Salesian Evangelization Youth Pilgrimage (SMEP, in Belarusian) which went from Smorgon to the Marian Shrine of Budslav reached its 20th edition and was therefore celebrated with special attention. In the six days of walking, from 30 June to 5 July, more than 130 young pilgrims commemorated the origins of this journey and prayed for those who gave life to this beautiful tradition; before departure they had even collected memorabilia, testimonies and photographs of previous editions.

                                                    The theme that guides the SMEP every year is the motto of the Rector Major's Strenna. Hence, this year, the reflections were dedicated to the theme: "Holiness for you, too." They were guided by the new Salesian priest Arthur Lyashnevski who, in his meditations, dealt with the theme starting from the parable of the seed tossed onto the good earth. In accompanying the young, on the road and with his words, the Salesian often presented examples from his personal and family history, something that the pilgrims especially enjoyed as they could see what it means to engage in a journey of holiness in everyday life.

                                                    Furthermore, each day of the pilgrimage had a specific patron saint, chosen among the figures of holiness of the Salesian Family, whose image led the journey, and to whom the requests for intercession for that day were especially addressed.

                                                    "We cannot fail to notice the enormous contribution of young people to the pilgrimage. Several teams of animators were responsible for the activities of each day: moments of prayer, relaxation, singing, animation, respect for the timetables …," the organizers said.


                                                    Organizers and young people together, with the fundamental contribution of the Salesian Cooperators, also prepared open working groups in which the pilgrims could discuss and explore a certain issue: to know more about the patron saint, to reflect on the Holy Scriptures, to discuss holiness, sing, play or share their impressions on social networks.

                                                    And, as usual, on the last day, all the pilgrims together participated in an exciting Via Crucis.

                                                    Among this edition's novelties was the participation of a group of young people from the Salesian oratory in Moscow; also an increasingly appreciated and typical aspect is the great response of the population of the villages that the SMEP cross - for whom the energy and youthful enthusiasm represent a great impulse to the life of faith - and the spirit of service and evangelization proper of young people in Salesian circles.

                                                    {gallery}Bielorussia - Pellegrinaggio a Budslau 2019{/gallery}

                                                    • Bielorussia
                                                    • PLE
                                                    • Pellegrinaggi e Peregrinazioni
                                                    • MGS Movimento Giovanile Salesiano
                                                      Gian Francesco Romano

                                                      Philippines – Synodo 2: Discerning Together

                                                      3 weeks 4 days ago
                                                      Philippines – Synodo 2: Discerning Together

                                                      (ANS – Makati City) – The Philippines North Province (FIN) continues its process in renewing the Salesian Youth Ministry in the Province in this Year of the Youth in the country through its series of SYNODO that began last February 25, 2019.

                                                      SYNODO is a spiritual journey where the Salesians of Don Bosco, the young people, and those who share in the charism of Don Bosco come and journey together with the Lord Jesus just like in the Emmaus story. They listen to what the Lord Jesus wants to tell them by listening to each other under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. They discern the Will of God together on how to be more effective evangelizers of the youth through a renewed Salesian youth ministry.

                                                      Last July 6, 2019, representatives from the different Salesian settings gathered at the JOY Center of Don Bosco Technical Institute, Makati City, to go through the process of discernment of what already happened in the previous two SYNODOs [SYNODO 1: Youth Forum and Youth Festival, February 25 and SYNODO 2: Youth Festival, May 18]. This SYNODO 2: Youth Forum last July 6 focused on discerning the outputs collected during the SYNODO 1.

                                                      Under the guidance of Fr Renato “DEGS” De Guzman, SDB, all the participants took part in the process of discernment that began with a personal time with the Lord Jesus in front of the Blessed Sacrament. Using the printed materials provided to them that contain all the gathered data before and during the first SYNODO, the participants divided themselves into small groups where they shared the fruits of their personal reflections.

                                                      In this group sharing, the participants shared their hopes for the SDB priests and brothers especially in making themselves the Don Boscos for the youth of today. They also shared the challenges they encountered in being youth ministers either as SDBs or as lay youth ministers, or even as fellow youth to others. They also shared the directions they hope to take in renewing the Salesian youth ministry that is deeply rooted in Christ after the example of St. John Bosco.

                                                      After lunch, the group sharing resumed for another hour. The moderator, Fr Degs, encouraged every group to share to the assembly any of the points the group wished that everybody in the assembly to know and be aware. The FIN Commission on Youth Ministry (CYM) gathered all the points that were shared and discussed during this inter-group sharing.

                                                      The celebration of the Holy Mass was the finale of this day’s youth forum. Fr Ditto Gueco, SDB, the FIN Provincial Vicar, was the main celebrant. Together with him were a number of Salesian priests who were together with the young people the whole day, listening to them and discerning with them towards a renewed Salesian youth ministry.

                                                      {gallery}FIN - SYNODO 2019{/gallery}

                                                      • Filippine
                                                      • FIN
                                                      • Sinodo sui Giovani
                                                      • Giovani
                                                        Gian Francesco Romano

                                                        Spain – "Suriya Project" unites children and young people from Aleppo and Spain

                                                        3 weeks 5 days ago

                                                        (ANS - Seville) – This summer seven young Syrians and one Spaniard are participating in an exchange of Salesian animators: this is a new proposal of the "Suriya Project" which aims to bring together children and young people from the youth centers of both countries.

                                                        During this period, the youth of Aleppo and Damascus will participate in a number of summer activities of various Salesian youth centers in Spain. The aim for this exchange experience is to make the reception and sharing experiences between Syrian and Spanish animators real and concrete. Rita, Talin, Anna, Joelle, Reem, Tala and Amer, divided into two groups, are working and having fun as animators and group leaders in a summer camp in Sanlúcar La Mayor (Seville) and in another camp in Somalo (La Rioja) from 18 to 29 July. Later, they will participate in the urban camps of Vigo and Ourense. They will also have time to visit Madrid and Santiago de Compostela.

                                                        Furthermore, Benjamín Morales, animator of the Youth Center "Francisco Míguez" of Malaga, will leave for a trip to Damascus next August. He shall meet with some friends he had befriended during a gathering of Salesian animators from Europe and the Middle East. Since then, he has kept in touch with them, but over time, explains Benjamin, "the impatient desire to go there and see things directly with my eyes was born in me."

                                                        "This project, which started three years ago with a vigil for peace, is more than a solidarity initiative, because it seeks to unite children and young people from both countries," explains Fr Santiago Domínguez, SDB, the project's promoter. Through festivals, street markets and solidarity parties, the Spanish youth centers have collected around 20,000 euros in three years, which have been earmarked for the needs of young people in Syria - money with which the Syrian Salesians have been able to buy school supplies and organize various activities.

                                                        Immediately after this experience of exchange between animators, the Don Bosco Confederation of Spain intends to give a new twist to the project. "We want to reorganize the project to support a youth business plan developed by the local Salesians. In this way, every center in Spain would commit itself to financing the business plan of a young person in Syria and with this procedure we could have a direct contact between the centers and the young people we will help," explains the Salesian.

                                                        To continue to raise funds, the "Suriya Project" has launched the sale of solidarity colored pencils, under the motto "Don Bosco pinta el verano" (Don Bosco paints the summer), which can be obtained by writing to proyectosolidario@confedonbosco.org 

                                                        Those who wish to collaborate can also do so by raising funds, making a donation or promoting the project on social networks.

                                                        {gallery}Spagna - Progetto Suriya scambio animatori 2019{/gallery}

                                                        • Spagna
                                                        • Siria
                                                        • MOR
                                                        • SSM
                                                        • SMX
                                                        • Pastorale Giovanile
                                                          Gian Francesco Romano

                                                          Italy – Mother Graziella Benghini re-elected as Superior General of Salesian Oblates of Sacred Heart of Jesus

                                                          3 weeks 5 days ago
                                                          Italy – Mother Graziella Benghini re-elected as Superior General of Salesian Oblates of  Sacred Heart of Jesus

                                                          (ANS - Rome) – Yesterday, 22 July 2019, during the XI General Chapter of the Salesian Oblate Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (SOSC), and on the birthdate when the founder, Msgr. Giuseppe Cognata, is commemorated, the elections of the Superior General were held. Mother General Graziella Maria Benghini was re-elected for a second six-year term, that is 2019-2025. After her re-election, the Mother received homage from all the sisters present in the Generalate and a song of thanksgiving to God was sung next to the founder's remains.

                                                          Taking place from 6 to 28 July 2019, the XI General Chapter is developing on the theme "With Mary, the true oblate, chosen to be holy and immaculate ... sent into the world to be a prophecy of joy, hope and charity".

                                                          "In these days," declared the Mother General, "we have been working in the XI General Chapter on the various activities we have as a charism, at the service of our recipients and at the service of the mission in parishes and schools, an educational-pastoral activity that develops in different countries of the world."

                                                          Today's challenges are many, especially in the service they offer to girls and children suffering from broken family. The attention of the sisters is directly aimed at children, without forgetting the fundamental work that is developed with families. "In a confused and disoriented world, among so many problems and economic and work difficulties," explains the Superior, "we look to our parishes. This collaboration with the parish priests benefits families, girls and boys we serve."

                                                          The date of 22 July is special for SOSCs, birthdate of their founder, Msgr. Cognata, whose remains is found in the chapel of the Generalate of the religious, and who left the motto to the sisters: "Caritas Christi urget nos" (It is the love of Christ that fills our hearts and urges us to evangelize).

                                                          Mons. Cognata, a Salesian, founded the Congregation of the Salesian Oblate Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in 1933. The SOSC animate an active Congregation with a missionary vocation. They are dedicated above all to education in kindergartens and to the formation of young people, with special attention to catechesis and assistance to groups of young people in collaboration with parish priests. Currently there are about 250 sisters working in Italy, Bolivia and Peru.

                                                          {gallery}Elezione Madre Benghini SOSC 2019{/gallery}

                                                          • Italia
                                                          • SOSC Salesiane Oblate del Sacro Cuore
                                                            Gian Francesco Romano

                                                            Malawi – Young Salesian in formation killed in road accident

                                                            3 weeks 5 days ago
                                                            Malawi – Young Salesian in formation killed in road accident

                                                            (ANS - Kasungu) - Paul Mbalame, a young Salesian in formation of the “Zambia-Malawi-Zimbabwe-Namibia” Vice Province, died last Saturday afternoon, July 20, in Kasungu, Malawi, in a road accident involving the public transport vehicle he was traveling on.

                                                            The young Paul, just 28 years old, was born on 22 February 1991 in Zulu, Malawi, and had attended the Salesian novitiate in Makeni, near Lusaka, Zambia, between 2013 and 2014, making his first vows on August 15 of 2014.

                                                            He had subsequently completed his post-novitiate in Moshi, Tanzania, completing it in 2017. He had just finished his internship in his native country, between Lilongwe and Nkhotakota, and was preparing to go to Kenya, to the Nairobi-Utume Theologate, where next month he would have started training.

                                                            In communicating the sad news, the Secretary of the Vice Province of ZMB, Fr Vincent Tembo, requests prayers in suffrage for the young Salesian who has died prematurely.

                                                            • Malawi
                                                            • ZMB
                                                            • Decessi
                                                              Gian Francesco Romano

                                                              Cambodia – Cagliero Project Immersion Experience 2019

                                                              3 weeks 6 days ago
                                                              Cambodia – Cagliero Project Immersion Experience 2019

                                                              (ANS – Phnom Penh) – Every year the “Cagliero Project” journeys with a group of young Australians for an immersion experience. This year the group travelled to Cambodia. The group was composed of young people from Salesian works across Australia. The immersion with the Salesians took place at “Don Bosco Technical Centre” in Phnom Penh. The immersion program is a great opportunity to build upon the long lasting and ongoing relationship that the Cagliero Project has with this incredible community.

                                                              The immersion group was kept busy for the duration of our time in Cambodia and there were so many different facets to the experience. We began with a hands-on project to create cement to help with the drainage around the football field. After coming from a very cold Australia, this work left us dirty and tired but with a great feeling of satisfaction. What was best about this project is that we participated with the local students and were able to start building relationships right from the outset of the immersion.

                                                              A highlight for the group was the opportunity to stay with a local Khmer family. Our young people were welcomed beautifully into the homes of local teachers from Don Bosco and were able to have a real experience of day-to-day life in Cambodia.

                                                              After spending some time during the week to learn about Cambodia’s brutal history we turned our attention to running a three-day youth leadership program. Salesian youth travelled from around Cambodia to Phnom Penh to be part of this special program. This weekend was pure fun and enjoyment as both the young Australians and Khmer deepened their understanding to what it means to be a young Salesian. The program culminated in an activity day for the school that was run by the program participants. It was incredible to see all the young people empowered to take ownership of being a young Salesian leader and to see them put this into action. Although the day was exhausting, everyone was buzzing with excitement at the end of the day for all they had achieved.

                                                              With heavy hearts and many tears, the immersion group departed from Phnom Penh to spend our final days visiting the temples in Siem Reap. We also took the opportunity as a group to reflect, debrief and pray about all that we learned and experienced. The overwhelming sentiment as we returned home was of immense gratitude.

                                                              “We are so grateful for the very special relationship that we have with the Salesians in Cambodia. And now – we have yet another group of young people who have been captured by the Salesian spirit and by the wondrous, Kingdom of Cambodia,” says Lauren Hichaaba, Director of the Cagliero Project.

                                                              • Cambogia
                                                              • AUL
                                                              • Australia
                                                              • Missioni
                                                              • Volontariato
                                                                Gian Francesco Romano

                                                                Ecuador – Nataly's willpower to overcome her serious physical problem

                                                                3 weeks 6 days ago
                                                                Ecuador – Nataly's willpower to overcome her serious physical problem

                                                                (ANS - Pesillo) - Nataly is 19 and was born prematurely, when she was seven months old, due to her mother's illness. She lives in a very poor area of ​​Ecuador and has had to make many sacrifices to overcome the disability in her legs that she'd had since birth. Thanks to the Salesians, she now leads a normal life and her testimony is an example for the children in difficulty in her country.

                                                                Nataly was born in the community of Pesillo. Her mother had a tumor when she was pregnant and this seems to have been the cause of the two-month early delivery. Being born prematurely, along with other circumstances of the pregnancy, marked her deeply, and Nataly was born with deviant feet.

                                                                She started walking at the age of four and this prevented her from playing and developing simultaneously with other children of her age. As a child her mother took her to rehabilitation, but when Nataly was two her mom died, and so she stopped receiving health care for her problem.

                                                                Her problems increased when her father went to live with another woman: Nataly was entrusted to her grandmother, a very poor old woman who could not take her to continue rehabilitation.

                                                                Two years ago, an aunt of Nataly took her to the Salesian clinic in "Mitad del Mundo" where she had an x-ray and was visited by a traumatologist. She had a tumor on her left leg and had to undergo surgery. Fifteen years had passed since the previous medical examination and the family had to raise funds to be able to operate. But the "Casa Campesina" of the Salesians also supported her so that she could be operated.

                                                                From that moment on, Nataly started going to the Salesian clinic for rehabilitation and began to walk better and without pain. She started running and feels safer and more stable. Moreover, following the therapy helped her to relate to other children and young people of her age and every day she thanks the Salesians for the help they offered to start a new life.

                                                                • Ecuador
                                                                • ECU
                                                                • Salute
                                                                  Gian Francesco Romano

                                                                  Spain – Alejandro Cuenca, Salesian student in Madrid, saves a child from drowning

                                                                  3 weeks 6 days ago
                                                                  Spain – Alejandro Cuenca, Salesian student in Madrid, saves a child from drowning

                                                                  (ANS - Madrid) – It's around 4:00 pm. 15 July. The thermometer is well over 30° C. The scene is the usual setting at this time of the year: a child slips into the neighborhood pool – in this case, in Vicálvaro, Madrid. After some time in the water, the boy begins to feel sick. The lifeguard, Alejandro Cuenca, notices the child no longer moves in the water and dives in without hesitation to save the boy.

                                                                  Word is out that the minor is in danger. Alejandro had in fact noticed something strange when the child first entered the pool. "I realized that he had been in the water for more than 5 seconds, he wasn't diving, and he wasn't doing anything. I approached and then dove towards him. He was unconscious, his eyes wide and his mouth full of foam," Alejandro told Telemadrid. The young lifeguard remains calm and practices Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) on the child.

                                                                  It's now 4:20 pm and at the 112 Emergency Center doctors have already received warning that there is a child who seems to have drowned. When the ambulance of the Medical Emergency Service of Madrid (SUMMA) arrives at the pool, it practically has nothing to do: the child is alive,  has come out of cardiorespiratory arrest thanks to Alejandro's actions. However, the medical staff decide to stabilize the child and take him to the hospital.

                                                                  The protagonist of this venture was Alejandro Cuenca, 20, a Salesian student, who is currently attending the Higher Vocational Training Course - Social-Sports Teaching and Animation - at the Salesian Institute "Domingo Savio" in Madrid, a center he has been attending since Basic Vocational Training.

                                                                  Recalling what he did in an interview with Telemadrid, Alejandro talked about the importance of training in these cases. However, his wish is not to have to behave like a hero again: "It's the first time in my life and I hope it's the last time, that it never happens to me again."

                                                                  According to the Emergency Service of the Community of Madrid, "Alejandro's intervention was providential because he managed to reverse the cardio-circulatory arrest thanks to his speed and his professionalism."

                                                                  • Spagna
                                                                  • Sport
                                                                  • Studenti
                                                                    Gian Francesco Romano

                                                                    United Nations – Salesian Participation at U.N. Political Forum

                                                                    3 weeks 6 days ago
                                                                    United Nations – Salesian Participation at U.N. Political Forum

                                                                    (ANS – New York) – From Tuesday, July 9, to Thursday, July 18, the annual High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) took place at United Nations headquarters in New York City. The program attracted more than 2,000 participants, including some 100 government ministers. Over 40 countries have presented their Voluntary National Reviews.

                                                                    The HLPF is the main U.N. platform for follow-up and review of the progress made toward the 2030 Agenda, consisting of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that were set out in 2015.

                                                                    The theme of this year’s meeting was “Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality.” Included on the program were an in-depth review of SDG 4 (quality education), SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth), SDG 10 (reduced inequalities), SDG 13 (climate action), and SDG 16 (peace, justice, and strong institutions). In addition SDG 17 (partnerships for the Goals) is reviewed every year. 

                                                                    According to Inga Rhonda King, president of the U.N. Economic and Social Council (ESOSOC), the entity that supports the HLPF, this event is a global platform to showcase experiences and forge partnerships, an “unprecedented opportunity to talk to each other and learn from each other.”

                                                                    Salesian Participation

                                                                    In this context the Salesians, through Fr. Thomas Pallithanam, our representative at the U.N., proposed two side events during the main forum, on July 10-11, in partnership with other institutions, such as Misean Cara from Ireland.

                                                                    According to the organizers, it is really important that whenever possible the Salesians make efforts to promote this kind of activities and actively participate in major U.N. events. Wojciech Mroczek, Don Bosco Network coordinator, stated: “When you participate in some structures and events, this is how to be heard. This is when you have an influence. This is a different type of missionary work. All the structures already exist, so if we don’t present our voice, there is no voice of the Gospel in these institutions.” In addition, these forums offer a great opportunity for networking and improving the public relations of Salesian Missions, which benefits all Salesian works around the world.

                                                                    The first one side event, “Addressing Inclusion, Inequality, and Institutions,” had connections with almost all the SDGs under review this year, except no. 13. That Goal was discussed intensely in the second side event, “Youth Aspirations and Climate Urgency.” (See separate article, here.)

                                                                    For the first side event, the Salesians invited selected representatives from Salesian projects which have a capacity of advocacy in their realities at local and national level and are part of the discussion about implementing the SDGs Agenda.

                                                                    Young people were invited to lead the discussion about climate change, particularly by presenting the Don Bosco Green Alliance. The young activists came to New York to share their concrete experiences and led the conversation about “hope and aspirations in a world that threatened by the adverse effects of climate change and threats to environment, ecology, society, and economy.” According to Fr. Savio Silveira, founder of the Don Bosco Green Alliance, “It was truly inspiring to engage with these young people, each of them from a different continent, all of them committed to the cause of climate action, because they feel strongly that climate change is threatening the aspirations of young people.”

                                                                    All panelists, moderators, and organizers of side events were subscribed as participants of the whole HPLF. Since most of them were from Salesian works, the Salesians enjoyed a great representation during the event, specially through the young people, who had the opportunity for a special experience in their lives and were able to strengthen their convictions as activists and changemakers connected with the Salesian charism.

                                                                    Addressing Inclusion, Inequality, and Institutions

                                                                    The first side event, on July 10, was promoted in partnership with Misean Cara. The discussions and reflections of this session focused on the Voluntary National Reviews process in the participating countries and the possibilities for strengthening VNR mechanisms and the evaluation of the SGDs, in order to achieve them. The section was moderated by Eamonn Casey, project officer for human rights at Misean Cara.

                                                                    The keynote was presented by Sandra Epal-Ratjen, international advocacy director of Franciscans International. She highlighted the need to promote accountability, since the SDGs are voluntary. “They are political commitments, [but] there is no political obligation to the SDGs.” On the other hand, human Rights are legal obligations and need to be monitored. So, according to Ms. Epal-Ratjen, human rights obligations can be used to hold governments accountable. “Because we have a record of complementarity correspondence, we can use human rights more effectively to attain and infuse this accountability and these legal obligations, which nations should declare will be put in place to implement and achieve the SDGs,” she argued.

                                                                    Ms. Epal-Ratjen gave the example from Uganda, where she works; together with other NGOs and civil society colleagues, the Franciscans have decided to be engaged more in monitoring, which will enable them to call for more policies.

                                                                    In general, she maintained that to look at the SDGs from the human rights perspective can be the best way to monitor more precisely and give visibility to particular issues and find solutions to attain the SDGs. Systems of measurement and monitoring of human rights and SDGs require more dialogue among participating governments and NGOs.

                                                                    To complement the discussion, the panelists presented their own grass roots experiences and learnings. They were all from Africa, but different countries, projects, and realities, two of them from Salesian presences.

                                                                    Benson Osei-Savio Boateng , coordinator of the Anglophone West Africa Salesian Province’s development office, showed what Salesian works in Ghana, especially Don Bosco Technical Institute, are doing to provide diverse educational programs that will meet the demand for skills training. The Salesians help youths gain the skills needed to find stable employment. Mr. Boateng’s topice directly with related to SDG 8.

                                                                    Samuel Thomas Bojohn, assistant director of Don Bosco Fambul, in Freetown, Sierra Leone, described how the Salesian work with the victims of trafficking and prostitution. This work corresponds with SDGs 4 and 8, and enables the Salesians to advocate for government accountability.

                                                                    Finally, Colin Kenneth Northmore, director of Three2Six, a Marist program in South Africa, shared the experience and efforts to give access to education for migrants and refugee children, through the action, advocacy, and sensitive work with the institutions and society to generate inclusion and justice.

                                                                    The audience was really attentive during the session and interactive. After the panel presentations, many good ideas and perspectives, especially about minority groups and how to take them into account, and questions about relationships with governments helped to deepen the discussion and induced the panelists to bring forth more detailed information and ideas.

                                                                    During the conclusions and recommendations, Mr. Mroczek highlighted the importance of networking and the necessity of inclusion, points that featured during the whole main event and all the discussions.

                                                                    An invitation to brainstorm produced more recommendations. Participants also have the possibility of sending additional contributions.

                                                                    Fr. Pallithanam and the representatives of Misean Cara and Don Bosco Network commented that they were very happy to engage with other people about marginalized populations in the side event. The participants look forward to keeping in touch and making further observations.

                                                                    By Jakeline Magalhães

                                                                    • ONU
                                                                    • Don Bosco Network
                                                                      Gian Francesco Romano

                                                                      Democratic Republic of Congo - Another fire in Bukavu

                                                                      4 weeks 2 days ago
                                                                      Democratic Republic of Congo - Another fire in Bukavu

                                                                      (ANS - Bukavu) - Another fire shook Bukavu last June 30 and, still today, the city is dealing with the damage caused by the flames.

                                                                      The fire broke out around 21:00 local time on Sunday 30 June and started in a home in the neighborhood known as "Camp Zaire", which is part of the parish territory. The fire soon spread from one house to another and, as usual, people tried to limit the damage. Many fled their homes and had to spend the night outside. On the morning of 1 July, the smoke could still be seen: the severity of the fire was striking.

                                                                      "In our city, fires are unfortunately frequent and have different causes," explained Fr Piero Gavioli, a Salesian missionary in the country. "At the root of these inconveniences, there is a long series of irresponsibility and bad governance often denounced by our bishops: lack of control, neglect, corruption, impunity," he continued.

                                                                      In fact, only 10 months ago, another devastating fire started in Bukavu, causing casualties and destroying many homes. This new fire, as Fr Gavioli explains, has also destroyed a dozen houses of "Mothers Courage", supported by the Don Bosco Center.

                                                                      For this reason, Fr Piero Gavioli, together with Bienvenu Karume, social worker of the Don Bosco Center, have returned to ask for help for families affected by the fire.

                                                                      "I therefore appeal to your solidarity," writes Fr Piero. "Any offer, even if it seems small, is precious. It can help a child, a family. We will again use the money we will receive to pay school fees for children whose families have lost their homes, clothes, school objects and all their belongings in this fire."

                                                                      The proceeds of the offers, in fact, will not be used to rebuild the houses. After the first fire, the Salesians, in collaboration with the diocesan Caritas and the parish of Nguba, used the money to pay school fees for the year 2018-19 for about 160 pupils of the families affected and, this time, the purpose is the same. The reason they don't want to rebuild their homes is simple: they would be built in the same way and could catch fire and burn again at any time.

                                                                      The Don Bosco Center has also signed a collaboration agreement with the local NGO CCF (Célébrons le Courage des Femmes), which aims to improve socio-economic living conditions. The head of the CCF, who is part of the Salesian Youth Movement, aims to raise awareness among women in the affected neighborhoods. In fact, women play a fundamental role in economic and social life.

                                                                      • AFC
                                                                        Virginia Nitto

                                                                        Italy - Today's VDB mission

                                                                        4 weeks 2 days ago
                                                                        Italy - Today's VDB mission

                                                                        (ANS - Frascati) - The eighth General Assembly of the Secular Institute of Volunteers of Don Bosco (VDB) began yesterday, 18 July; its theme: "Today's VDB mission". A new world moderator will be elected at the General Assembly, who will follow Olga K, who ends her term after two consecutive mandates. All 84 members with voting rights will be casting their votes to elect the new moderator.

                                                                        The VDB Secular Institute has almost 1,200 members who are located in 60 countries around the world and who live their consecration to God through the vows of obedience, poverty and chastity in their ordinary daily lives. They do not live in communities, but usually gather as a group once or twice a month, to live together days of recollection and formation.

                                                                        Sometimes it is not easy for the other groups of the Salesian Family to understand the "secular consecration" of the VDBs. Through the simple words of the outgoing World Moderator, Olga K, entrusted to the quarterly magazine of the VDB "Crescere", one can however understand a little more about this Secular Institute. "I want that the good Lord makes of me and all my sisters a living tabernacle in this world," she said.

                                                                        We can all help the delegates of the General Assembly with our prayers. During the period of preparation for the Assembly, the Institute indeed proposed to support them by reciting the following prayer:

                                                                         

                                                                        Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit:
                                                                        Your name is Love. With this infinite Love, you enter the heart of every person and into human history.
                                                                        Holy Trinity God, God of Love, bless our eighth General Assembly.
                                                                        Guide our steps to discover new and profound ways to offer your water to the world,
                                                                        the only one that can quench our thirst.
                                                                        We believe that every time we open our hearts to discover the face of our needy brothers and sisters,
                                                                        we receive the fresh water of your Love, the courage and joy of announcing your Word, like the Samaritan woman.

                                                                        We ask you: renew in us the desire for your Love and the thirst for you,
                                                                        so that we may welcome the living water that you offer us.
                                                                        Give us the strength of the Holy Spirit to become a water of love for the entire world.
                                                                        Amen.

                                                                        Mary Help of Christians, pray for us.
                                                                        Saint John Bosco, pray for us.
                                                                        Blessed Philip Rinaldi, pray for us.

                                                                        • VDB Volontarie di Don Bosco
                                                                        • Italia
                                                                          Virginia Nitto

                                                                          Argentina - "Germinating young entrepreneurs": offering vocational training

                                                                          4 weeks 2 days ago

                                                                          (ANS - Mendoza) - In the small town of Rodeo del Medio, Mendoza, needs abound. The Don Bosco house seeks to respond through the Salesian educational proposal. For years, the economic crisis has intensely crossed Rodeo del Medio, a town in the department of Maipú in the province of Mendoza, Argentina. The local population is mainly rural, their income from the land, or so it is for 72% of the families. There is a lack of employment opportunities, which demotivates local students, has a lot of students leave school early and generates a culture of "non-work", which in turn brings them closer to the environment of addictions and violence.

                                                                          In this sense, the education that young people receive in general is not adequate to their real needs and is lacking in the tools necessary to motivate them and give them an entrepreneurial spirit, an appreciation for work.

                                                                          It is here that one remembers the life and work of Don Bosco, a life that inspires us to think of quality professional training that can offer children the tools and knowledge they need today. Thus, the house and work of Rodeo del Medio has expanded over the years through its educational offerings at various levels (initial, primary, secondary, tertiary, higher education and job training), all to promoting the development of skills, technical and human abilities.

                                                                          This is the idea behind the "Germinating Young Entrepreneurs" project. It aims to expand the current educational offer offered by the Don Bosco Institute and the Vocational Training Institute, providing professional training in the area of ​​beekeeping, gardens and aromatic plants.


                                                                          In 2018, the idea of ​​restructuring and preparing the place where these working activities could be perfected began to materialize, and courses began.

                                                                          In this way they have tried to broaden and qualify the Institute's educational offer, equating the possibilities for progress for the area's young people and providing them with the necessary tools so that they can access the world of work. The center also tries to foster values that contribute to a better society.

                                                                          The steps taken include the construction of a new greenhouse, the production of aromatic plants, modernizing the apiary and the infrastructure for an educational laboratory and a tool room.
                                                                          The Salesian House of Rodeo del Medio, without a doubt, is a space of containment that knows how to give support and offer different opportunities to young people who want to pursue their dreams, even in the face of an un-encouraging panorama.

                                                                          • ARN
                                                                          • Argentina
                                                                          • Formazione Professionale
                                                                            Virginia Nitto

                                                                            Ecuador - Consecration of new parish temple "Our Lady of the Rosary"

                                                                            1 month ago

                                                                            (ANS - Tarqui) - The Eucharist and the consecration of the new parish temple "Our Lady of the Rosary" in Tarqui were celebrated on Saturday 13 July. Monsignor Eduardo Castillo Pino, Apostolic Administrator of Portoviejo, presided over the Eucharist, concelebrated by many priests. Hundreds of faithful attended the event, which also saw the presence of Fr Francisco Sánchez, Salesian Provincial from Ecuador, and of Fr Francisco Gómez, the parish priest. Also present were various civil authorities, including the city mayor, Agustín Intriago.

                                                                            The celebration began with a historical overview of the parish and with the explanation of the construction process by the director of ETINAR, the construction company. Subsequently the Bishop, to begin the consecration of the parish, knocked on the door three times, commemorating the three days passed before the Resurrection of Christ. Once this passage was concluded, the religious and all the citizens entered the procession, thus beginning the Eucharist.

                                                                            "At this moment, in which we are inaugurating this Church dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary, we feel sentiments of joy and satisfaction being born. I want to say that 'She had done everything', as Don Bosco said. This Church that we inaugurate today will be a place of prayer and meeting for our young people of the 'Collegio St Joseph' and for all those who will come," said the Provincial.

                                                                            From 16 April 2016, the day of the earthquake, the Salesian Congregation, benefactors and parishioners have in fact responded to the need to rebuild this Church.

                                                                            The parish of "Our Lady of the Rosary" was consecrated on 1 April 1944 by bishop Nicanor Gavilanes, apostolic administrator of Portoviejo. Fr Julio Haro was its first pastor. During the early years, the place of worship was a chapel built with the help of the locals, where an image of the Virgin of the Rosary was venerated. The first church was then built by Fr Aldo Canzi in 1970; since then, 22 Salesian parish priests have followed.


                                                                            Currently, the catechesis of the Parish of Our Lady of the Rosary is taught in 5 centers, which are: the Mary Help of Christians Oratory, the Saint Joseph Missionary Center; the Church of the Apostles Peter and Paul, the Educational Unit Leonie Aviat and the Salesian Oratory of St. Joseph.

                                                                            • Ecuador
                                                                            • ECU
                                                                            • Santuario
                                                                            • Parrocchie
                                                                              Jesus Jurado

                                                                              Paraguay - Participation of Sebastián Núñez at NASA campsite and "TED Talks"

                                                                              1 month ago

                                                                              (ANS - Asunción) - Sebastián Núñez is a Salesian Past Pupil who completed his studies at the "Salesianito" School of Asunción, Paraguay, in 2018. A few days ago he spoke of his 2018 experience at NASA in the "TED Talks". TEDs are online conferences whose slogan is: "Ideas worth spreading". Sebastián's achievement is not just an idea, but an experience worth making known, especially among young people in search of their vocation.

                                                                              In July 2018, Sebastián Núñez received the best news of his life: he was accepted into NASA's "Space Camp" program at the "Space & Rocket Center" in Huntsville, Alabama, USA. The young man said he went through a long process before being selected. To win the competition, he had to present numerous documents, reference letters, an experiment he had done and had had to document with photographs and videos. "It was a goal we achieved because I've always dreamed of being part of a NASA program and even working there," Sebastián said.

                                                                              "As difficult as it may seem - some more, others less – for those who have always dreamed of being an astronaut," Sebastián continued, "it seemed such a distant objective, yet I went ahead to achieve it. The experience of the Space Camp was a further step forward that brought me closer to what I had always dreamed of," he said.

                                                                              After completing his experience at NASA, in July 2019 Sebastian was sent to participate in the "TED Talks" which, as mentioned, is an online program where young people talk about their dreams and their experiences. "At home I had no internet, but I had a collection of encyclopedias and books," Sebastián explained to the audience, "and I would spend my time drawing planets and comets. At night I spent hours looking at the sky and the stars. As a child I cultivated this dream of becoming an astronaut. I'm happy to share my personal experience, to show that it is possible, with the utmost dedication, to fulfill one's dreams."


                                                                              Participating in this conference, Sebastián not only narrated his experience, but also listened to other stories, of other young people, which are a source of inspiration for others. He then wanted to emphasize that the future of nations is in the hands of the new generations.

                                                                              • PAR
                                                                              • Paraguay
                                                                              • Salesianito
                                                                              • NASA
                                                                                Virginia Nitto

                                                                                Italy - Radio INE goes live!

                                                                                1 month ago
                                                                                Italy - Radio INE goes live!

                                                                                (ANS - Mestre) - Radio INE is a new feature show dedicated to life in the Salesian "San Marco" Province (INE) of Mestre. It was created in collaboration with IUSVE Cube Radio. It represents a radio program where young people can talk and, together with Provincial Fr Igino Biffi, discuss important topics concerning vocation, formation and education. A summing up, also, of the most heartfelt and shared parts of the "Provincial's Letter", published every 24th of the month on the website www.salesianinordest.it and sent to all the directors of the 33 Salesian realities of the Triveneto.

                                                                                The radio show will also be a place to talk about experiences and activities related to the work organized by the Youth Ministry Team of Mestre (www.donboscoland.it), with episodes featuring testimonials of young people who took part in the different activities. Last but not least, a space will be dedicated to the most popular news from the Salesian Houses in the Mestre Province.

                                                                                The presence of the Provincial, Fr Igino Biffi, will be flanked by radio show host Dr. Francesca Bonotto (integrated communication of the Salesian Province of "San Marco" INE of Mestre) and by several guests alternating from episode to episode, each narrating their story or experience of the activities of the month in the Province.

                                                                                Participating in the first episode of Radio INE was Elisa Ghirardon, a student of IUSVE, engaged in a year of Salesian National Civil Service at the Istituto Superiore Salesiano San Marco of Mestre. Two Salesian realities were also mentioned, namely the Salesian Oratory of Schio and the Salesian Institute "Rainerum" of Bolzano, for their ability to involve the young in the activities and their unique nature.

                                                                                A special mention goes to the IUSVE Cube Radio team, the Salesian University Institute of Venice and Verona which, under the guidance of professor Marco Sanavio, director of the radio station and of the multimedia laboratory, made this new experience possible, supporting professionally as they did the provincial communications and transforming it into voice and video aimed also at children.


                                                                                One has but to tune in via the website www.salesianordest.it and follow the official pages of the social networks of the Salesian Province "San Marco" INE in Mestre to keep up to date.


                                                                                These links are available at "Lettera dell'Ispettore": with the first episode of Radio INE - June 2019.

                                                                                • INE
                                                                                • IUSVE
                                                                                • don Igino Biffi
                                                                                  Virginia Nitto
                                                                                  ANS - Agenzia Info Salesiana. Periodico plurisettimanale telematico, organo di comunicazione della Congregazione Salesiana