Spain – Salesians "find what unites" through Lebanon Project

17 January 2023

(ANS - Seville) - On Sunday, January 15, the feast day of Blessed Luigi Variara (1875-1923), a Salesian missionary, the Salesian Province of Spain-Mary Help of Christians (SMX) launched the "Lebanon Project" with a communiqué addressed to all its presences.

The project’s main objective is to establish a direct relationship to give support and affection to the Salesian educational-pastoral communities present in the Land of the Cedars, which seek to be small oases in an extremely difficult situation for many Lebanese and also for a great many Iraqi and Syrian refugees who have found a welcome there. Specifically, these are three Salesian works: the technical school in Al Fidar, the youth spirituality house and camps in El Houssoun, and the primary and secondary school in Beirut. Many of the children and youth in the three works participate in activities organized by the Salesians on Fridays and Saturdays throughout the year, and the summer school organized at the El Houssoun house in July and August is always a great success.

"Our Province, through the Provincial Coordinator of Missionary Animation and the NGO Bosco Global, and in constant dialogue with the Provincial Office of Planning and Development of the Middle East (MOR) - the Province to which the houses in Lebanon belong - has drawn up a three-year cooperation project (2023-2026) that was approved by the SMX Provincial Council in November 2022 and was welcomed with joy by the Salesian community in Lebanon in January 2023," said Fr. José Luis Navarro Santotomás, SMX Missionary Animation Coordinator, in the message launching the project.

There are several areas of application and implications of this project:

- From June 19-29, 2023, a course will be organized in El Houssoun to host a large group of young animators from Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq. "Coordinated by Jordi García, a teacher at the Don Bosco School of Youth Animation in Valencia, we have formed an international group of Free Time/recreational teachers who will carry out this initiative. Young teachers from Aragon, Valencia, and Andalusia, together with young Free Time teachers from Aleppo, Kafroun, and Damascus (Syria), Jbeil and Beirut (Lebanon) and Mosul (Iraqis living in Lebanon) are preparing the subjects that will be taught this summer in the course, all in English and Arabic. The course work will conclude with the development of direct training in Lebanon, where seven young people from the Spanish faculty will travel to actually implement the course," explained Fr. Navarro Santotomás.

- Under the motto "Walking with a New Outlook, or Gaze," the development NGO "Bosco Global" will offer, within the multiple options of International Volunteering, the possibility of participating in summer activities developed by the Salesians in Lebanon as an experience. "By participating in advance in the proposed training dates, it will be possible to live a first-rate Salesian missionary experience," the letter signer added further.

- NGO Bosco Global, in coordination with MOR's Provincial Office of Planning and Development, has established a number of International Cooperation projects to address material needs that generate development pathways for the Salesian presence in Lebanon. The most urgent needs will focus on covering salaries for teachers at the Don Bosco Technical School; scholarships for about 100 of the most vulnerable students; activities of winter oratories and youth centers for Lebanese, Iraqi and Syrian children; emergency assistance to about 100 vulnerable families; and support for the construction of a photovoltaic energy system for the El Houssoun oratory.

The letter from the SMX Missionary Animation Coordinator also gives an account of the situation and support offered to Salesian centers in Ukraine; and then invites support for the various International Cooperation projects already initiated by SMX in collaboration with Bosco Global, in 13 countries in Africa and Latin America.

"I hope that these communications will help us to promote in our Province the knowledge of all the missionary activities that we carry out with dedication, and to give more and more strength to the missionary spirit proper to our vocation," the text concludes.

To publicize the project and, above all, to make the Salesian presence in Lebanon known, a website has been launched: 


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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