Spain – Salesian presence centennial in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria kicks off

07 February 2023

(ANS - Las Palmas de Gran Canaria) - Two orphans in white aprons, some men in dark suits, members of the local bourgeoisie, and a small group of Salesians set on the volcanic stone staircase leading to the Salesian house in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. The black-and-white photo was taken on Dec. 8, 1923, and testifies to the beginning of the Salesian presence in Spain's Canary Islands archipelago.

The centenary of the Salesian presence in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria was opened, therefore, on the afternoon of last Jan. 31, with a Eucharist in the Cathedral of Santa Ana, presided over by the bishop of the diocese, Bishop Jose Mazuelos. The Director of the Salesian house, José Carmelo Pulido, had written a few days earlier for the occasion, "We wanted the first event to take place in the cathedral, as a testimony to the close ties between the Salesians and the diocesan Church, since it was a bishop from the Canary Islands, the beloved Bishop José Cueto y Díez de la Maza, who showed from the beginning his interest in the arrival of the Salesians in this land."

An extensive program of events will follow in the coming months, aimed at highlighting not only the historical dimension of the event, but especially the sustained commitment over time and the future projection of the presence of the Sons of Don Bosco at that location.

As early as next Sunday, Feb. 12, a Eucharistic celebration, presided over by the diocese's auxiliary bishop, Bishop Cristóbal Déniz Hernández, will take place in the parish of Mary Help of Christians, crowning another major anniversary, the 60th anniversary of that parish - one of two animated by Salesians in the city.

Other notable activities will once again put the Blessed Virgin at the center, such as the Assembly of the Associations of Mary Help of Christians or the Salesian Family's pilgrimage to the Basilica of the Virgen de Pino, in the city of Teror, in thanksgiving to the island's patroness. All this is meant to be a prelude to the festivities to be held on December 8, the final day of the centennial, which will feature the image of Mary Help of Christians, venerated in the parish church of Santa Catalina de Alejandría since 1926.

The Salesian Family of the archipelago, in its different groups, will join in the festivities: the Salesian center in Las Palmas during the year will host both the Meeting of Salesian Cooperators of the Canary Islands, as well as the Federal Assembly of Past Pupils.

There will also be artistic and cultural events: a photo exhibition with many previously unpublished images, competitions for students from the Salesian school and those from other schools on the island, the "Young Performers" music competition... The Corpus Christi flower carpet, which is made every year in the Vegueta neighborhood for the passage of the monstrance with the Blessed Sacrament, will carry the centennial logo this year; while among the recreational and sporting events planned is the Mary Help of Christians Solidarity Run.

There will be recognition of people who have marked the recent life of the Salesian house. In this way, tribute will be paid to the many volunteers and educators who have invested so many hours of their time in discreet and silent service to others.

Prominent in the entire list is the first visit of the Rector Major, Fr. Ángel Fernández Artime, to the archipelago. The 10th Successor of Don Bosco will first fly to Tenerife, to join the 75th anniversary in the presence in the city of La Orotava, and then he will finally be in Las Palmas, on May 4, 2023, to celebrate the first 100 years of the presence of the Sons of Don Bosco on the island and in the archipelago.

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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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