|Argentina - Practical Training Days for safeguarding agricultural land|
(ANS – San José) – The “Pascual Gentilini” Agricultural School, built in 1927 by the Salesian Fr. Juan Guerra for the sons of immigrants, today has 209 students. For 30 years the Salesian House has run the parish of St. Joseph, which has about 12,000 parishioners. This makes 85 years of fidelity to the initial educatative project.
In 1927 the Salesian began to build in San José an institute for the children of the immigrants and colonials of that region. Building began on land left to the Salesians by Mr. Pascual Gentilini, who in his will expressly specified the beneficiaries of the work: the children of immigrants and country people.
The first to take charge was Fr. Juan Guerra, who welcomed the first children into the Institute in 1931. In 1947 the school extended its educational beyond primary, offering a basic curriculum as “Farm Manager “, a qualification which in 1968 became “Agricultural Expert”. Three years later , in 1971, the institute began to grant the certificate, still in use today, of “General Agronomist”, in accordance with legal educational regulations.
The Agricultural School “Pascual Gentilini” today has 209 boarding students, 40 teachers and 32 staff members with a lay Principal. The agricultural technical training envisages a plan extending from next year to six years of study. Most of the boys come from country areas and are sons of farmers. The school also has several apostolic groups.
The students receive practical lessons in community service, gardening, vegetable gardening, cooking, maintenance, music, annual crops, cultivation of mate tea, fruit farming, zootechnics, bee-keeping, cattle- raising, leadership training and social work.
In 1982 the “San José” parish was opened. It serves 12,000 people spread over two communes, San José and Fachinal. There are 10 basic Christian communities in the parish and one of these runs a festive oratory, and there is a lively Pastoral Council. The catechetical and sacramental preparation activities are very dynamic. The Salesian Youth Movement promotes several vocational camps.