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(ANS – Madrid) – On 31 January, the feast of Don Bosco, celebrations began for the 50th anniversary of the Salesian presence in Ciudad Real. About a thousand people were present in the “Quijano” Municipal Theatre for a concert prepared by the students of the school and of the youth centre. It was the first of a series of cultural events, festive celebrations and religious occasion which the Salesians from the “Fratel Gárate” community will be organising during the year and which will reach its climax with the arrival in June of the relics of Don Bosco.
The evening began with a welcoming address by the Rector Joaquin Torres. Following this the journalist Javier Ruiz presented an evening of entertainments with musical items, humorous sketches and dances by the children and youngsters. In between the items various people from the city also spoke.
Fr Luis Onrubia, the Provincial of the Salesians in Madrid, expressed thanks for the trust which parents and institutions have shown in the course of the 50 years and also the continuing commitment of the Salesians to work for the young people of Ciudad Real.
Representing the city institutions were the President of the Province, Nemesio de Lara, to which belonged the first work where the Salesian took up residence and the Mayor Rosa Romero. The Hon. Romero spoke of appreciation for the work of the Salesians and recognised that “it is a religious Congregation that is loved, admired and respected by the whole of Ciudad Real because it has contributed to making this city more human more supportive and more Christian”. The Mayor also announced that the Local Authorities would be placing a plaque on the road where the Salesian Institute is located to record the 50th anniversary.
Bishop Antonio Angel Algora Hernando of the diocese of Ciudad Real, then quoted some articles of the Salesian Constitutions to explain the mission an the vocation of the Congregation and pointed put the role of religious in the Christian formation of the young and their contribution to the life of the diocesan church.
The Salesians arrived in Ciudad Real, fifty years ago, at the invitation of Administration of the Province to take charge of the “Saint Thomas” in Villanova. Twenty year later Administration changed the nature of that Institute and the Salesians left and took ever the management of the centre they are still responsible for “Fratel Gárate”, previously run by the Jesuits.
At present there are a nursery school, secondary school, sixth form college and vocational technical training centres at middle and high school level. Over 1,000 students and 50 teachers make up the educative community. The Salesians in Ciudad Real also take care of the church of Saint Ignatius and the Association of Mary Help of Christians. Finally they have the “Pozo don Gil” Youth Centre with a variety of activities for the formation and the instruction of the young.