Sri Lanka - With Don Bosco, different ethnic groups and religions are building a new future together

15 March 2018

(ANS - Kurunegala) - Fr Reginold Fernando is a "multitasking" Salesian as we say today: Vicar of the Vice Province of Sri Lanka, Director of the community of Metiyagane and Dean of the Salesian Institute of Civil and Electrical Engineering, in addition to following, at a distance, a major agricultural project aimed at supporting initial formation communities.

by Fr Silvio Roggia, SDB

What are the most interesting features of the engineering institute?

We have tried to make the most of the great help received from the company "Italcementi". Through a training agreement we propose high quality and intensive formation: instead of spending three years as in public facilities, our students are able to take courses and to take the state exam in a year and a half. Academic results are good and they are the students and ex-pupils themselves to direct others to our institute.

Sri Lanka is today a country in peace, after a tormented history ...

It takes a long time to heal the wounds. The school is perhaps the most effective therapy, especially if it brings together young people from different ethnic backgrounds and religious confessions. This is one of the most beautiful fruits of staying in our Salesian institute. Buddhists and Christians, young Sinhalese and Tamil live side by side, perhaps for the first time. When friendship is born and the other has a name and a surname, so many prejudices vanish.

How does religion enter the life of the institution, considering that many students are not Christians?

It was another nice surprise. When the educational proposal is presented with a clear identity, the interest also for what is more "intensely" Catholic, like the Eucharist, is much greater than we could have imagined. And then there is the Our Father: there is no prayer that is more universal, ecumenical, interreligious. Those who taught it to us knew how to get to everyone's heart.

What is your dream for the future?

That there are among our young people of both ethnic groups thoe who wish to dedicate their lives to the service of children, like Don Bosco. During the year we host at the institute those preparing for the prenovitiate, who come into contact with the other university students and "breathe together" the same atmosphere of interethnic and interreligious friendship. If the new "Don Boscos" who are growing in Sri Lanka cultivate this spirit, the gift of the Salesian educational charism to this country will be immense and will change the future of the nation.


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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