Italy – Salesians 60 years in Potenza

13 June 2024

(ANS – Potenza) – In the city of Potenza, among the many services, working-class neighbourhoods and concrete, the Salesians made a magnificent house flourish 60 years ago with a heart open to young people and families. In this space, it is possible, today, to grow both from a Christian and human point of view. But how impactful is the Salesian presence for this city?

"From an ecclesial point of view, we are a fundamental reference point especially for the youth ministry of the city and the Diocese. We are the only Oratory that offers a daily educational service involving animators, adults, families and Salesians" the Director and Parish Priest  Fr Emidio Laterza says. Civil society also recognises the Salesian presence as a pastoral, educational, cultural and recreational centre of excellence. The Parish, the Oratory, the Youth Centre, the University Hostel, the Cinema and the well-equipped courtyards form a high-quality educational and pastoral centre. The most effective response to this work is the large presence of families, adults, but above all of many children and young people.

Potenza is the regional capital of Basilicata and the highest in Italy, geographically located in the heart of the South. It was 1964 when the Salesians returned to Potenza to create a parish and an oratory, after having run the diocesan seminary for two years in the early 1900s.

From this moment on, the history of the Salesian presence in the Lucano capital is a history of constant development and growth.  The  Oratory was opened in 1966 and the foundation stone of the new church laid on the same date. It was consecrated in 1973 Between the late 1970s and the 1980s the house grew with the construction of the oratory complex, the chapel of St Dominic Savio, the Ciema, the clinic and other functional environments. The 1990s saw the growth of the parish flock with the entry of many districts into the original nucleus of the Rione Risorgimento. They have also been years of intense educational activity: the alter servers group was formed and fundamental experiences sown for contact with the city, such as "Savio Estate" and "Festinsieme".

It is precisely in those years that many vocations to consecrated and non-consecrated life began to flourish, offering an important contribution to the Southern Province, something that continues to this day. Currently, Potenza's Salesian work consists of the Parish, the Youth Centre Oratory and the university hostel.

The Salesian Youth Centre Oratory in Potenza has hosted thousands of boys and girls over the years, helping them to grow in faith and life: about 800 are enrolled every year. From June to July, the "Savio Estate" (Savio summer) takes place in the courtyard of the oratory, bringing 400 children and pre-teens in addition to 100 animators, while catechesis involves more than 500 boys and girls. These are young people from all walks of life, coming quite heterogeneously from all areas of the city. In the orbit of the Parish and the Oratory travel there are many associations formed over the years, including the Salesian Cooperators, the parish Caritas, the Don Bosco Families, the Association of Mary Help of Christians, the Witnesses of the Risen Lord 2000, the Past Pupils, the Mamma Margaret workshop, or – among the most dynamic – the Salesian Youth Sports Centres (PGS) and the Sociocultural Youth Cinecircles (CGS).

Finally, the testimonies of some people who gave so much for Salesian work, but who left this life prematurely, continue to bear fruit in Potenza today. This is the case of figures such as Domenico Lorusso, Maurizio Ciriello, Linda Catalano, who have become animators from Heaven of groups that found, after suffering, the desire to continue doing good. Domenico Lorusso was given the title "Don Bosco" while another important initiative inaugurating the Salesian summer in Potenza has now reached its tenth edition: the "StradonBosco con Domenico". Thanks to the contribution of the "Con gli Occhi di Maurizio" Association, brand new multifunctional fields were donated to the oratory, and to make his memory live, the "Happy Days" were dedicated, days in which the oratorical activities carried out during the year are presented to the city. Semi di girasole or "Sunflower seeds" is the association that emerge in the coming months, an important tool for the growth of the community. It will be dedicated to Linda Catalano, educator and animator who died some months ago.

"The lives of these young people become part of the pillars of the house of Potenza, to make Don Bosco's dream even more tangible, exciting, to continue" concludes Fr Laterza.


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.

This site also uses third-party cookies to improve user experience and for statistical purposes. By scrolling through this page or by clicking on any of its elements, you consent to the use of cookies. To learn more or to opt out, click "Further Information".