Ecuador - Shuar Youth Congress: Jesus and Don Bosco live in hearts of young people

29 May 2019

(ANS - Tuutin Entsa) - Talking about the origins of Salesian missionary work in the Amazon means going back to 1893, when Fr Gioacchino Francesco Spinelli and Giacinto Pancheri arrived in Gualaquiza to fulfill the dream of Don Bosco in Ecuador. From the outset their work focused on the pastoral orientation that gradually led to the creation of schools, laboratories, institutes, agricultural schools, boarding schools ... 126 years have passed and the work of the Salesians remains intact in the heart of the forest. An example was the Congress of young people of the Shuar ethnic group which took place from 24 to 26 May 2019 in the community of Tuutin Entsa, bringing together about 500 young people from over 20 communities, accompanied by their respective etserin (catechists).

For many of these delegations, participation in the meeting required a real journey, some even with stretches via canoe along the rivers; however, this has not been an obstacle for these boys and girls, who await this congress with great expectation every year. This year, moreover, the coincidence of the beginning of the congress with the feast of Mary Help of Christians has greatly amplified the atmosphere of joy, fraternity and spirituality, with the names of Jesus and Don Bosco always sung with great devotion.

The main activity of the first day was the Marian night, for which an altar was built that protected the statue of Mary Help of Christians. The young people, some of them wearing the traditional shuar dress, accompanied her in procession, to pay homage to her with songs and prayers.

In the following days all the activities - dynamics, formative talks and group work - continued trying to convey the central message of the appointment, centered on the theme of the Rector Major's Strenna for 2019: "holiness for you, too." For this reason, the model of an exemplary Christian life in daily life, to become saints in ordinary life, has been proposed to all children, always taking into account the culture of these Amazonian communities.

The Congress ended on Sunday 27 May with a Eucharist during which several young people received the sacrament of Confirmation.

The Shuar Youth Congress is possible only thanks to the collaboration of many people endowed with a missionary spirit who are committed to ensuring that the young Shuar can live an enriching experience for their lives; and above all thanks to the organization of Fr José Delporte, Director of the Salesian community of Taisha, who started this project in 2002.


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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