Albania - Don Bosco strengthens unity between Christians and Muslims

17 July 2017

(ANS - Tirana) - “What is happening in Albania,” said Pope Francis in Tirana in September 2014, “shows that peaceful and fruitful coexistence between people and communities belonging to different religions is not only desirable but concretely possible.” In preserving and enhancing the values of respect and common commitment to the promotion of human beings, school plays an irreplaceable role. Today, Tirana's great "Don Bosco Center", attended by over 1000 Catholic, Orthodox, and Muslim children and teens, is a happy example.

By Cristina Uguccioni

Founded in 1993, it includes a school from elementary to high school, a Vocational Training Center, an oratory, a daytime center for street children, and the parish of Mary Help of Christians. Its staff includes 80 teachers, instructors, animators and educators in various capacities, and from Christian and Islamic faiths.

Despite decades of hardship and suffering under the communist regime, faith has never flagged in the heart of the Albanians. Indeed, “the forced distancing of God by the regime unintentionally gave the opportunity for the faithful to strike a deep bond with the Almighty,” says Evis Myftaraj, 31, an Italian-language teacher.

"After the fall of the regime, Christians and Muslims showed their desire to rediscover the treasure they secretly guarded. Now we have entered a new phase: maturity and consolidation of faith. For Catholics, and more generally for Christians, this implies the effort to have one's daily choices conform to evangelical teachings,” says the Center's Director, Fr Matteo Di Fiore, 67, 19 of which spent in Albania and Kosovo.

Western consumerist models also affected Albanian youths. “For this reason, structures such as ours in Tirana are important: because they offer a solid system of values to young people," says Orieta, Secretary of the Salesian Vocational Training Center.

The Salesian education system, which demands professionalism and moral strength from its educators, to act as role models to students, is also appreciated by Muslims.

And the example of truly religious people, of different religions, who live and work together in harmony and peace, can teach “mutual respect, love, and tolerance,” concludes Elona, a teacher of Albanian language and literature.

The mission of teaching so practiced, attentive to the quality of education and not simply the efficiency of education, builds the bonds between generations and between people, even of different faiths.

Source: La Stampa


ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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