Ukraine – Building an oratory in the style of Don Bosco

14 January 2022

(ANS - Zhytomyr) - Built in September 1994 in Zhytomyr, a city of almost 300,000 inhabitants, 110 km west of Kiev, Ukraine, the school "Vsesvit" was established thanks to several Italian benefactors who, during a trip to the countries of the former USSR, decided to give a concrete response to the appeal of a group of citizens who wanted to open a Christian school. That school, for almost two years now, and after several years of cooperation and preparation, has become Salesian; and now the Sons of Don Bosco who run it intend to place another typically Salesian structure: an oratory, alongside the existing educational center.

The Salesians first arrived in Ukraine in 1936. They remained there for about ten years, until, for political reasons, they were forced to leave the country. They returned in the 1990s, after the fall of the communist regimes in Eastern Europe, and today they run eight presences.  The main work of the Sons of Don Bosco in Ukraine is undoubtedly the educational one, which sees them engaged in the animation of oratories, youth centers, schools and in the no less important field of vocational guidance. The common objective of all these works is that of accompanying young people on their path of growth and maturation, spreading the Good News and the charism of Don Bosco in a context where there is a great need for spiritual orientation among the young.

The Ukrainian-Italian school "Vsesvit" of Zhytomyr is part of this commitment: it follows the Christian values and the principles of inclusion that have characterized it from the beginning, to which the inspiration of Don Bosco's Preventive System has been added.

Currently, the school is entrusted to the care of the "Mary Help of Christians" community of Korostyshiv, a small town about 30 km from the regional capital consisting of Zhytomyr. The Salesians do not have the possibility of offering afternoon activities to the children, nor extra-curricular activities after school, of a sporting or recreational nature.

For this reason, the Sons of Don Bosco have the objective of starting an oratory, open not only to the 200 students who already attend the Salesian school, but to all the children and young people of the district with whom the missionaries currently have little contact.

Instead, through the oratory, many children would thus be able to find support in their studies, entertainment, sports, games, sharing, in pure Salesian style.

"There is a need for a little bit of everything! Work in the chapel, balls, sports uniforms, tents for summer camps, dishes, canned games...," testify the local Salesians, eager to continue educating and evangelizing young Ukrainians.

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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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