Spain – Bringing Hope Where It Serves and Building Peace: Missionary Goals for the New Year

04 January 2024

(ANS – Madrid) – A new year has just begun, which opens with the month of Don Bosco, the celebration of the bicentenary of his prophetic dream at the age of nine and the number 24 to remember the constant presence of Mary Help of Christians. With all these incentives Misiones Salesianas, the Salesian Mission Office based in Madrid, is launching an invitation to keep Don Bosco's dream alive and in particular to never stop dreaming of two goals for the new year: bringing hope and accompanying those who suffer the most and building a culture of peace in the world.

The world is becoming increasingly disjointed: violence, wars, the number of children who do not go to school, poverty, hunger, children forced to work, migrants and refugees fleeing their homes, violations of children's rights, natural disasters, climate change with more and more consequences for our lives and the social gap between rich and poor are increasing.

Despite all this, Salesians are not discouraged and continue to be by the side of those in need in over 130 countries around the world. All these situations are more than enough for Misiones Salesianas to set two goals for this year. One is  to ensure that the children and young people of the world feel protected and accompanied through the hope that the Salesians are called to transmit to them. The other is to continue building a culture of peace with the best tool available: a quality education with which children can become protagonists of their lives and masters of their dreams.

Almost two years ago, the conflict in Ukraine made us reflect on the difficulties of the population in facing the winter and the economic crisis that was looming due to the escalation of prices. Today the Salesians continue to help the Ukrainian population, as well as the refugees, distributing food, treating the wounded, repairing homes and schools, supporting teachers...

Almost two years later, the war in Ukraine continues, but new episodes of violence have emerged in the world that have almost made us forget the previous ones: coups in various African countries, the use of hunger as a weapon of war in others, the desperate humanitarian situation caused by the attacks in the Gaza Strip...

Syria is a great example of Salesian work in the world in these difficult times. In March, the country will have completed 13 years since the start of a war that has not yet ended. And February will also mark the first, sad anniversary of the earthquake in southern Turkey that hit Aleppo hard.

Young people only think of leaving the country due to the lack of opportunities and compulsory military service that condemns them to fight, while unemployment, inflation and the difficulty of finding basic necessities have multiplied poverty. Despite so many needs and so much pain, the Salesian presences in Syria (Aleppo, Damascus and Kafroun) have been known for many years as "oases of peace", where joy and familiarity reign and everything is shared.

For this reason it can be said without fear of denial that even for the new year all Salesian works will continue to welcome the needy, to educate and to evangelise.

It is a further demonstration that Salesian pedagogy, through Don Bosco's Preventive System, works and gives results, because Salesian works are houses that welcome, schools that educate, playground in which to grow and parishes that evangelise. Tens of thousands of young people who pass through one of the almost 6,500 Salesian Family works every year in more than 130 countries around the world testify to their academic and human formation.

For this reason, again this year Salesians, members of the Salesian Family and lay collaborators will continue to care for and protect minors in street situations or victims of prostitution, combat trafficking and child labour, welcome orphaned minors, offer help and protection to children separated from armed conflict, and to minors serving sentences in adult prisons, accompany migrant and refugee populations, victims of war...

A job, however, that does not come about on its own. "The Salesian missionaries are our eyes, but the providence that makes possible the miracle of being able to assist, look after and educate those who need it most is the generosity of thousands of people who accompany us every day" Madrid says. "On behalf of Misiones Salesianas, we thank you for your commitment to continue being by our side so throughout the year we can meet the challenge of continuing to help those who have had less."


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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