Angola – A new Salesian mission is being born in Huambo

09 December 2021

(ANS - Huambo) - In 2021 the Salesians celebrated 40 years of their presence in Angola. In the capital alone, Luanda, there are no less than eight Salesian works that take care of parishes, oratories and shelters, with a constant commitment to the weaker segments of the population. But in addition to the capital, a modern city where there is a seamless transition from the skyscrapers of the center to the suburbs where there is extreme poverty, there is also the Angola of the rural areas, where people live off subsistence farming, day jobs, and small businesses.

This is the reality into which the first Salesians sent to found a new mission on the outskirts of Huambo, 600 km from the capital Luanda, have immersed themselves since last August. Invited by the local archbishop, Msgr. Zeferino Zeca Martins, SVD, three Sons of Don Bosco - a Uruguayan, a Vietnamese, and an Angolan native of Huambo, with an average age of 43 years – they have set up the first Salesian community in the area.

Supported by seven volunteers, in these first months the Salesians have undertaken to animate local pastoral care in favor of the large flock entrusted to them: in fact, it is estimated that around 100,000 people live in the territory of the parish and around the mission there are about fifteen villages. In the near future, then, they intend to expand the offer, above all by providing growth opportunities for children, young people and women, and to introduce a technical-professional education which, taking into account the environmental context, will mainly develop in the field of agriculture and livestock.

The educational proposals are many and ambitious: the idea is to start a primary school, literacy courses for about 2,000 women, and a network of oratories where more than 5,000 children from various villages can play and find a welcoming environment.

The small Salesian community, led by the person in charge, Fr Santiago Christofersen, and in close contact with the Superior of the Vice Province of Angola, Fr Martín Lasarte, is in the meantime seeking its own proper autonomy: for this reason, thanks also to the help of the local people, who have shown themselves welcoming to the Sons of Don Bosco, they have started the preparation of a small vegetable garden with an adjoining chicken farm.

The needs of a new mission are many, starting with the construction of infrastructures, their preparation and the hard work to integrate into the social fabric ... Of course, there is still a lot to do, but the path taken is the right one towards putting oneself at the service of the population and to promote their human, social and spiritual development.

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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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