Chile – "The Church has already embarked on this path of pastoral creativity": Salesian works united in solidarity initiatives

23 April 2020

(ANS - Santiago) - Although the number of people infected and killed by Covid-19 in Chile is not so alarming, the situation is, however, critical. The Salesians of Don Bosco, with works and services throughout the country, together with the laity, have carried out a series of solidarity actions to tackle this pandemic.

From Iquique to Punta Arenas, the Salesian schools, parishes and shrines have responded to the Provincial's call for solidarity, Fr Carlo Lira informing his confreres of the initiative at the provincial level to make the works available to the authorities of the Ministry of Health.

A few weeks ago, the Provincial had announced the possibility of offering Salesian works for the care of the sick and the most needy and had made available the house for Spiritual Exercises in Lo Cañas, the Macul Institute and the retreat house in Quilpué.

Currently the Salesians of all the works have made available all their knowledge and pastoral proposals.

The Salesians of Iquique have made available material to support the psychological well-being of adults and those who take care of children and young people, the online liturgical celebrations, a program of films for families in time of quarantine, the creation of platforms and e-mail for online lessons and a proposal to send gospel messages through YouTube.

The Salesian School of Copiapó offers Mass to its students through Facebook, will provide Internet access to 50 students of the school who do not have access from their homes, while parents have prepared about 50 food baskets for those in difficulty. The schools have carried out many activities so as not to leave their students alone and that they may continue learning.

The Salesian parishes also organize activities to maintain contact with the faithful. Activities include animation and virtual communication, accompaniment of lay people responsible for parochial coordination, chapels and basic ecclesial communities, providing guidelines and materials for personal and liturgical formation. The Eucharist is offered online, a moment of Eucharistic adoration on Thursday. The parish priests, with due health precautions, go out to give the sacraments to the sick.

At this point it is worth reflecting on what Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI outlined for the future and what we are experiencing today as a Church. "Besides traditional and perennially valid pastoral methods, the Church seeks to adopt new ones, developing new language attuned to the different world cultures, proposing the truth of Christ with an attitude of dialogue and friendship rooted in God who is Love.  In various parts of the world, the Church has already set out on this path of pastoral creativity." (Mass for the conclusion of the Synod of Bishops - October 28, 2012). 

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