Ijebu-Ode, Nigeria - September 2017 - In the Salesian Mission of Ijebu-Ode, led by Don Italo Spagnolo, there was the Summer Boys and the Summer Children with 272 participants and 25 animators and teachers. Among the activities: prayer, study, outdoor competitions, team games and various handicraft labs.
(ANS - Sunyani) - Shata is a street child who was abandoned at birth by his parents when they realized he was disabled. Shata does not speak English, but understands the local language and can make himself understood. He has a head deformity and leg problems, but he runs and jumps like any child. He was found and taken from the streets of Sunyani by Father "Uba", as the Salesian Ubaldino Andrade is called by hundreds of young people.
Sunyani, Ghana - September 2017 - On 8 September, 13 Salesians of the Anglophone West Africa Province (AFW) made their first profession of religious vows.
(ANS - Freetown) - Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leon, lies between the mountains and the sea, in a country with the entire continent's highest rate of annual precipitation. The rainy season on Sierra Leon's capital is very long and therefore it is not surprising that the city is accustomed to flooding. But the rains that hit the city on Monday, August 14, have caused nearly 400 deaths, hundreds of people missing, death and desolation everywhere. What are the Salesians doing in this situation? As during the Ebola epidemic, they are among the first to respond, and now commit themselves to accompanying the children affected.
(ANS - Matadi) - Salesian Fr Nicola Ciarapica, a missionary in Matadi, sent a letter announcing that, starting August, he shall be leaving the mission of Matadi, Liberia, where during these years, among the many problems, he dealt with the Ebola emergency by organizing a prompt and effective response. Fr Ciarapica has been transferred to Sunyani, Ghana, in a community that forms future Salesians.
(ANS - Ondo) – "In my quest as a young man, I had enthusiastically participated in several missionary groups, but with time the dedication disappeared via pastoral commitments and the responsibilities of my work. Then suddenly ... lightning struck!" Salesian Fr Italo Spagnolo speaks of the start of his 35-year mission in Africa.
Comfort Zone: NO THANK YOU! "I prefer a wounded Church"
Some were astonished to see the face of Pope Francis injured during his visit to Colombia. The bruise on his eyebrow and on his cheekbone, the blood-stained white garment. A small accident on the Pope-mobile, which brought to mind the words of Bergoglio and inspired my ANS Editorial: "I prefer a Church that is bruised, wounded and dirty because it is going out into the streets, rather than a Church made sick by closure and the convenience of clinging to its own safety." (EG49)
RMG - Father Tom: "I am what I am today because God has taken care of me"
(ANS - Rome) - A serene man, in peace with God and with everyone, including the kidnappers, and also able to joke about the experience he lived through. This is the image the world's journalists and media saw in Fr Tom Uzhunnalil the morning of Saturday 16 September at the "Salesianum" in Rome where they heard in person the touching tale of captivity and liberation, both experiences lived with great faith in God.
Italy – Life of St. John Bosco narrated in Italian Public TV History Channel
(ANS - Rome) - A documentary on the life of St John Bosco aired on the Rai Storia channel in August. Produced with material from Teche Rai (Radiotelevisione Italiana), it was based on biographical notes suggested by guests Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, Marco Pizzo and Domenico Agasso.