Chile – Launch of "Espacio República", community environment for young people in university district

06 June 2019

(ANS - Santiago) - Where the Don Bosco Library was once located, in the heart of the university district, on Thursday 23 May there was the inauguration of the so-called "Espacio República", an event that marks the experimental start of this project and the end of the building's renovation, which will now be destined to accompany young people passing through the neighborhood, regardless of the religion they profess.

According to Ghislaine Fuentes, coordinator of this space and Delegate for Pastoral Care for Higher Education, this initiative was born in 2017 from the dream of the Salesian Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati to have a place in the university district for young people - the desire converged with the need of the Salesian Province of Chile to reconvert the space. Thus the project began to take shape, while involving other actors, such as the Vicariate for Higher Education, the Congregation of the Divine Word, Apsis, Shalom, the Technical Formation Center "ENAC" and the Alberto Hurtado University.

"Today this activity took place so that young people come here, be interested and know that this space exists. We hope to soon make a missionary outing to let the students of the neighborhood know what they can do here," said Ana Leyton Escobar, Director of Pastoral Care for Higher Education of the Vicariate for Education.

"We knew of the existence of this space, but it's the first time we come here. We need a place like this to be able to socialize with others. I think this space will be a place to share," said Leontina Caroca, an ENAC student.

Her words confirm the expectations of the promoters of this initiative, based on the needs reported by the young people of the neighborhood - including the lack of places to eat. For this reason the ground floor of the building is equipped with microwaves and kettles. "The idea is that, regardless of the institution to which they belong, all young people can share this space," says Ghislaine.

Another important aspect of this space is its second floor, which houses rooms for rest and study, a small church and rooms for conversation, where young people can meet with a spiritual guide.

"One of the needs identified in setting up this space was listening. Young people often don't have anyone to tell their things to, because today it is very difficult to tell them in the family and in the universities there is often no room for this. That is why we prepare people only for listening, because we want to be a Church that accompanies, not simply that says what to do", explained the Provincial of the Salesians in Chile, Fr Carlo Lira.

"I dream that in this space young people really feel listened to. When a place is capable of welcoming, the young people themselves feel heard and therefore accepted. This is a good in what is a crowded neighborhood. Having this place is a privilege and we will continue to pray that God will do His part and that it will materialize according to His will," added Fr Erasmo.


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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