Italy - Salesians and coronavirus: even at a distance, always at the service of young people

16 March 2020

(ANS - Rome) - “When we received the ashes on our heads, on Wednesday of the beginning of Lent, we did not imagine that this climate of 'Holy Saturday' where everything is suspended would make itself felt earlier, a time when silence dominates and the sense of emptiness makes the setting unreal. Yet even Holy Saturday experiences a not desperate anguish, but confident; as believers we know that the victory over death and pain is certain, even if only Easter day will be fully participated." These are the words of Fr Roberto Dal Molin, President of "Salesiani per il Sociale APS", which frame the situation being experienced in Italy and in various other countries of the world due to the spread of the coronavirus.

In addition to keeping hope alive, the Salesians of Italy also commit themselves in many ways to keep good daily habits and solidarity alive.

For example, Cube Radio, the academic broadcaster of the Salesian University Institute of Venice and Verona (IUSVE), in collaboration with other educational, voluntary and religious organizations in the area, offers its listeners the #giveyourtime initiative, aimed above all at encouraging younger people to make time and energy available for solidarity actions.

Among the reports that the organizers have collected and relaunched is that of donating blood to the nearest collection center after acquiring precise information on methods and times.

Going further south, at Borgo Ragazzi Don Bosco in Rome, the gates are closed, but the activities are in full swing: every afternoon the usual message of the "Salesian Goodnight" is posted on Facebook and Instagram; even the formation groups of the oratory continue their activities in a virtual way, as do the students of the Vocational Training Center.

The support work with the foster families, through talks via Skype, also continues with the "Rimettere le Ali APS" association; while the day center kids are offered digital courses and tutorials on YouTube and those who need support in the study are guaranteed daily accompaniment, through calls or video calls. And finally, in the foster family homes, as in all Italian homes, the desire to be together, playing board games and talking is being rediscovered.

Not even in Sicily do the Salesians feel the lack of the Salesian charism. In the parishes it is possible to participate in moments of prayer through various streaming opportunities, and the celebration of the Mass is broadcast live through their Facebook pages. The Salesian secondary schools of Catania-Cibali and Palermo-Ranchibile, as well as the "San Tommaso" Theological Institute of Messina, have activated the distance teaching platforms.

The oratories also find new "digital" solutions and the Salesian Youth Sports Club of Modica has also provided a training plan entitled #iomiallenoacasa – I train/exercise at home.

Fr Dal Molin concluded his message: “Being children of a dreamer we can only look to the future with hope and confidence. Today Don Bosco is telling us: everything will be fine!"



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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