France - Fr Petitclerc: "some young people live Christmas badly"

11 December 2017

(ANS - Paris) - Soon it will be Christmas: the streets and houses are illuminated, parties with friends and relatives are organized, people look forward to the joy of meeting... But this is one of the most difficult periods for young people housed in minors institutions. Below, the testimony of Fr Jean-Marie Petitclerc, Salesian priest and educator, and founder of the "Le Valdocco" Association.

"When you see everyone partying and your heart cries for not being invited by any member of your family, then Christmas is the worst day of the year for you," Mickaël, a 13-year-old boy, once confided to me. For those who have no one to celebrate with, Christmas is the day when we have to repress the pain of not being loved as we would like!

I remember the many Christmas holidays spent in social homes for minors that I directed. In the weeks before Christmas, I would try to contact families to see where every child could spend Christmas. And there were always two or three for whom there were no solutions. It is difficult, that Christmas night, to know that one is not expected by anyone: not by a parent, nor an older brother or sister, uncle or aunt - no grandfather! Certainly, some nearby families offered to welcome them. But the boys did not want to share a festive moment with a happy and united family when they were very sad inside themselves. They preferred to express their suffering within the institute.

At Christmas one year, I hosted a teenager from another institute: not sharing the character of a decoration that an educator was putting on the fireplace, he threw a spray can into the fire, which exploding, wounded those who were close by. Behind acts of violence committed that night great suffering often lies concealed!

Another year, there was only one child who accepted my proposal to go to midnight mass. And we heard the words of the celebrant who spoke emphatically of the love that united the families that night. I felt my little neighbor on the bench dissolve from pain. Not a word for the lonely people, who suffer so much on that night! So when we were returning home, I tried to find the words to tell him how much Jesus, whose birth we were celebrating at Christmas, loved him, even if he felt abandoned.

But, Lord, how difficult it is to find the right words for a suffering child!

Source: Don Bosco Aujourd'hui


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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