RMG – "We give assistance, we help, we accompany": verbs never forgotten by Salesians in Africa and America in the time of Covid-19

03 April 2020

(ANS - Rome) - The Salesians are preparing for the worst case scenario. Warned of the situation in Europe, those who participated in the 28th General Chapter in Turin, once they returned home, voluntarily placed themselves in quarantine. Some communities have suffered Salesian losses due to Covid-19, especially in Spain and Italy where there have been communities with many infected and hospitalizations. All over the world, the Salesian communities have suspended normal activities. They have closed courtyards, playgrounds, temples, classrooms; but they haven't locked themselves in. They continue to take care of young people and people in difficulty, they continue to take care of them, to help and to accompany.

Governments have taken measures ranging from the ban on movement to the closure of borders and the ban on public activities. “What is clear is that this pandemic is worsening the living conditions of already poor people. They are caught between uncertainty and fear,” says Fr Jacob, a Salesian missionary in Sudan.

Yet in every country across the globe, the Salesians have been asking themselves the same question, the result of the fear that the pandemic will cause a humanitarian catastrophe. How will it be possible for that large mass of people who live in an underground economy to survive, people who, if they do not go out into the street, do not have enough to feed themselves?

Coronavirus infections are on the rise in all countries of Africa and America. A paradigmatic case is Ecuador.

The Salesian Hernán, from Benin, regrets that "due to health conditions, one will know that the coronavirus has arrived when there are deaths. In the parish, we are collecting food because when the crisis breaks out, the population will come to ask us for food," he says.

From Goma, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Fr Domingo says that "we have 40 children with us who have no family and about 80 orphans."

While from Mbuji-Mayi, Fr Mario Pérez assures that the Salesians are particularly concerned about cholera. "We live with 127 street children accused of witchcraft and more come every day."

The concern of the Salesians is for street children, migrants and refugees.

The biggest concern in Angola is the care of street children.

Maximo, a Salesian brother, explains that “the government has asked us to welcome another hundred street children. Currently we already take care of almost 300 in different centers."
Salesians in America also have a clear concern: "The most disadvantaged people, whose daily lives consist of what they receive on the street, and migrants and refugees in many countries," explains Juan Carlos Quirarte, coordinator of the Salesian America Social Network, which spans 19 countries.

Source: "Misiones Salesianas" (Spain)


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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