Spain – Salesian houses raise their voices against war in Ukraine and mobilize to help refugees

22 March 2022

(ANS - Madrid) - The Salesians and the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians of Spain, faced with the war situation in Ukraine, make their own the words expressed by the Rector Major, Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, in his first letter on this subject: "We all feel pain in our hearts for what the Ukrainian people are suffering. We too, as the Salesian family of Don Bosco, and I personally on behalf of all the groups, feel the duty to cry out, 'No to war!' Pleading for this conflict to end and asking (and praying) for peace to come soon."

All the Salesian presences have felt the need to commit themselves to this situation and have multiplied actions of solidarity and sensitization to send economic aid to the Salesian presences in Ukraine, as well as to those in Poland and other neighboring countries engaged in the reception of refugees.

The "Spain-Mary Help of Christians" Province (SMX) and the Salesian NGO "Bosco Global" continue to raise funds sent from homes, organizations, or personal initiatives. While in the Province of "Spain-St James the Greater" (SSM) all the houses and groups of the Salesian Family channel donations to the Salesian Mission Office "Misiones Salesianas", which launched the national campaign "Emergency Ukraine". The Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (FMA), for their part, are also raising funds through their three NGOs: Madreselva, Vides, and VidesSur.

Thousands of kilos of food, clothing, medicine, and basic necessities are being collected, packed, and eventually shipped from Spain. And the Salesians and the FMA, through the Conference of Religious and Diocesan Caritas, are also providing places for refugees in their boarding schools and residences.

In addition to economic and material aid, Salesian houses throughout the country are committed to making a resounding "No to war, peace in Ukraine!" resound throughout their courtyards and playgrounds. Especially in schools, but also in youth centers, parishes, and social platforms, attention has been paid to the conflict, raising awareness in educational communities, generating initiatives to collect all kinds of aid, and organizing moments of prayer, as requested by Pope Francis.

Just to cite a few examples, in Barcelona the students suspended their lessons for five minutes, under the motto: "Peace, democracy and solidarity"; or, in Villamuriel del Cerrato and Ourense, demonstrations were held in the streets for the end of the war; while in Deusto the young people attending the Salesian house recorded a support video and sent it to the Salesians in Ukraine.

In the house of Atocha, in Madrid, boys and girls painted their hands white as a sign of peace; in Lugo, children painted a heart with the colors of the Ukrainian flag; in Huesca, the students received a joint explanation to learn about the war in Ukraine from different perspectives: historical, religious, economic ... And they listened to the first-person testimonies of Anastasia, a past pupil of the institute, and her friend Vladimir, both Ukrainians and residents there with their families, who told how they are experiencing the situation.

In Palma del Río the pupils of the Salesian center have drawn up a manifesto against the war; while in Linares the "RIEDEN" project was illustrated, which aims to raise awareness on the issue of nuclear weapons to propose a universal peaceful coexistence; and in the "St Anthony the Abbot" house in Valencia, the Week of Solidarity in favor of the Ukrainian population is taking place from 21 to 27 March.



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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