Lithuania – Against fear generated by pandemic, the joy and creativity of the Salesian oratory

03 August 2021

(ANS - Vilnius) – Again this summer, despite the great limitations due to the containment measures of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Salesian oratory in the capital of Lithuania, Vilnius, wanted to offer children and young people an intense educational and leisure for the summer months. The Summer Day Center held for a few weeks at the "St. John Bosco" church in Vilnius attracted great interest, with the registration of more than 350 children, many of whom came from various parts of the city.

Urged by Pope Francis' message for World Mission Day 2021, which invites us not to close our hearts to the material and spiritual needs of others despite the pandemic, and strengthened by the theme "We cannot be silent about what we have seen and heard!" (At.4.6), the Salesians of Vilnius, together with a sister of the Salesian Family, 27 animators of the oratory and seven Italian volunteers of the Missionary Animation of the Special Circumscription of Piedmont and Valle d'Aosta, plus their Salesian companion, formed a solid and cohesive animation group for all the activities of the daytime summer center. All together they committed themselves to bear witness with Salesian life and joy that it is possible to break down the barriers of fear and uncontrolled closure.

The children were divided into 4 groups according to age, which could not interact with each other, for safety reasons, so as to form, in practice, almost 4 parallel summer camps at the same time. Sports, workshops, large organized games and even nature walks around the city were featured.

“Every day, moreover, there was a moment of prayer in the church in which a parable of Jesus was explained and updated: the common thread was the hope that comes from the personal relationship between Jesus and the disciple. He seeks us, we seek him. And then? We witness it among friends, because we cannot be silent ...!" explained Fr Alessandro Barelli, a Salesian missionary in Lithuania.

And to top it off, every day the activities ended with an ice cream for each, funded by the Municipality of Vilnius through a project involving children.

After the Summer Center, activities continue in August as well, with various shifts at the summer house near Lake Tverecius in a wooded region where the Salesians have a holiday home. The Italian animators, instead, are to join the summer activities of the newly erected Salesian community of Telsiai in the Samogitian region towards the Baltic Sea.


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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