(ANS - Bogotá) - President of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, received Pope Francis on Wednesday at Catam's Bogotá military airport, the beginning of the Pontiff's five-day pastoral visit to the country. During greetings to the authorities, the Pope broke with protocol to embrace a number of disabled people, including children with Down Syndrome, and military and police injured in action, one of whom consigned a small gift.
(ANS - Bemaneviky) - 16% of the world's population cannot read or write. The record holder of child illiteracy lies with Sub-Saharan Africa with its 32 million illiterate children. For many years, the Salesians of Don Bosco have been making their contribution towards eliminating this sad record. To celebrate World Literacy Day, Don Bosco Missions of Turin have begun a campaign to supply new desks to some of the elementary schools Monsignor Rosario Vella, Salesian Bishop in Madagascar, has established. Children from the rural villages are involved, as are students, former street children, from the Notre Dame de Clairvaux center, who will manufacture them in their carpentry workshops.
(ANS - Udine) – It's the end of the first year of experimentation of the dual school-work alternation system at the Vocational Training Center of the Salesian Institute 'G.Bearzi' in Udine. Headed by Fr Igino Biffi, SDB, it allows 18 boys studying the mechanical industry to graduate with actual work experience. Most of them have already signed an apprenticeship contract with their host companies. In July, after returning from their internship for a couple more weeks of school, the term ended with the final exam, involving both formation partners, to certify the acquired skills.
Burundi - Fr Jean Paul's mission for Rukago youth
(ANS - Rukago) – "'It is enough for you to be young for me to love you very much,' this is the phrase of Don Bosco I most prefer," says Fr Jean Paul Ndayikengurutse, a Salesian priest of Burundi. "I'm a priest with a young spirit. I love to play and chat, listen to and share the problems of so many young people who come to our community." Today, Fr Jean Paul's mission is to live and apply the Preventive System with the young people of Rukago, Burundi.
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.
Democratic Republic of the Congo - "The child and the dugout canoe"
(ANS - Miti) - There are three maternal orphans abandoned by their fathers; there is Bora, a young woman who has faced more challenges in her 28 years than most people live through in an entire lifetime; there are the Bambuti Pygmies who, while being the region's oldest inhabitants, when Kahuzi Biega National Park was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, were expelled and now live on the margins: there are, alas, many poor people living in rural areas near Bukavu where the Salesian missionary Fr Piero Gavioli and Lydie Masoka, a Salesian Cooperator, are working as best as they can to help give a future to the area's children and most vulnerable teens.