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Syria - New ground for new "Don Bosco Center": Salesian work in Damascus is growing

07 February 2019

(ANS - Damascus) - After so much suffering and tribulation experienced at the side of the entire Syrian population, the Salesians of Damascus can now rejoice for some good news: thanks to the direct involvement of the Rector Major, Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, it was possible to buy a new lot of land on the outskirts of the capital, where over time a new "Don Bosco Center" will be built and where it will therefore be possible to welcome, accompany and educate other young people.

The choice of the place where the new center will rise is itself charged with meaning and is typically "Salesian": it is a land located near Jaramana, a suburb of the Syrian capital, where the local population is for the most part Christian; at the same time, the land is just one kilometer from Imbleha, a small satellite city totally destroyed by the war.

The announcement of the purchase of this lot was given at the end of the Mass celebrated last Sunday, 3 February, at the church of the Salesian house in Damascus. Fr Munir Hanachi, director of the house, reads the official statement sent by the Provincial of the Middle East, Fr Alejandro León:

Dear Salesians, lay people and young people of the great family of the Don Bosco Center in Damascus. Near or far I always think of you. Happy Don Bosco Feast to all. The Rector Major greets you and remembers you always. We too are called to remember him, to pray for him and to listen to his voice, that this year with the Strenna reminds us that holiness is also for you.

Today I am writing to you and I want to give you a special communication. After much dreaming of how to develop the Salesian work in Damascus, with the great effort of the current community, the Rector Maggior decided to buy a piece of land between Imbleha and Jaramana, to slowly build a Don Bosco Center that is larger and closer to many children and young people living in Jaramana.

We have already bought this land. Now a few years will pass and slowly the new center will be built, but the important thing is to feel from now on that this new structure is home to everyone. And we must all help ourselves so that the realization of this dream takes place in the best possible way.

I ask everyone to pray and thank God for this beautiful gift for the young people of Damascus. We thank Don Bosco for being so important in our lives. We thank the Rector Major for this courageous decision. We thank Fr Munir, Fr Georges and Fr Mathew for their generous commitment. We thank all those who helped buy the land and those who will help in the construction of the new Don Bosco Center. Let us pray for the generosity of so many people who have contributed financially for this gift."

The announcement of this important step forward for the development of the Salesian work immediately sparked the enthusiasm of all the friends and supporters of Don Bosco and his Salesians in Syria. In addition to the expressions of joy made by those present at Sunday Mass, in just a few hours many reactions and sharing have arrived on the Facebook page of the Salesians in Damascus: "courageous", "builders of peace", "true Sons of Don Bosco" – these are some of the most used comments, together with an infinity of "Thanks Don Bosco" and "Thanks Father Ángel."

The commitment of the Salesians to the most needy young people, where violence and war have left their wounds, is never lacking; on the contrary, it grows and it multiplies.

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