Ecuador – Salesian accompaniment: a daily mission

23 February 2024

(ANS – Quito) – The San José Cafasso Salesian School of Spiritual Accompaniment aims to form Salesians and lay people with the ability to accompany the processes of personal and vocational growth, walking alongside young people in their human experience and faith through the Salesian charism. This work has a fundamental value: it must be carried out in the daily lives of young people, integrating their interests, their dreams, but also their fears.

Given the climate of insecurity and fear that the country is experiencing, the work of the Salesian accompanier takes on greater importance so that young people do not lose hope, do not feel unprotected and can count on a friend on the path of life. The following are the testimonies of two educators who passionately live this mission of accompaniment.

"Being part of the School of Accompaniment has allowed me to learn more about Don Bosco's spirituality and the importance of responding to the signs of the times. In this process I learned more about the fundamental characteristics of Salesians, such as joy, closeness and, above all, the importance of treating young people with love. I also understood that to accompany them we do not necessarily have to take them to the chapel, to a retreat or to a meeting, but that we can do it in their daily lives, because that is where they can meet God" says Jenny Chimbo, a teacher at the Sánchez y Cifuentes Educational Unit.

And she adds: "At the moment I am accompanying two young people and I see that when we offer them a confessional or religious accompaniment, sometimes they are not interested, but when we offer them an accompaniment in daily life, they are happy to accept. The main value is that young people can count on someone on the path they are following. Given the situation we are experiencing, we have worked at school and with families to take better care of ourselves. In addition, in my work as a teacher, I accompany young people so that they know how to adopt preventive measures for life, learning to discern where they go, with whom and by whom they surround themselves."

For his part, José Luis Ponce, a teacher at the Santo Tomás Apóstol Educational Unit in Riobamba, says, "The experience of the Salesian School of Accompaniment has allowed me to identify the importance of being close to the children and being close to God. The most important thing of the course was to look at our spiritual life and to be close to young people without judging them, without stereotypes; to be able to accompany them by understanding their reality, their daily life. This formative period allowed me to understand that when we do things with love, we allow the hearts of young people to open up, and empathy allows us to understand and love them. These two values are complementary in pastoral work and young people begin to feel trust in someone who loves them."

"In the current context" concludes the Salesian educator "the challenge has been to show a balance so that young people do not lose hope. Accompanying a young person in a normal context is already complicated, even more so where violence and fear are normalised. It was a difficult task, but as companions and educators we end up being a source of water for these young people who thirst for someone who listens to them, who looks at them, who shares hope and transmits joy. We are children of a dreamer and the most important thing in accompaniment is to work together with young people so that their dreams do not remain just ideas, but become reality – just as Don Bosco did."


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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