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6/11/2012 - RMG - PE: Young people before any other consideration. The Salesians in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina

(ANS – Rome) – Social inclusion, employment, globalization and the relationship with tradition ... are some of the challenges that await young Croats and those from Bosnia and Herzegovina, countries that make up the province "St. John Bosco" (CRO). To help young people confront these challenges, focusing on education, there are the Salesians. ANS, within Project Europe, focuses the attention on this reality.

In Croatia the Salesian Congregation is engaged in 15 projects, distributed throughout the national territory, and with as many as 6 presences in the capital, Zagreb. There are 69 Salesians in the Province, in addition to about 30 non-resident Salesians. To the number of the projects of the Province must be added the work at Žepče, which deserves a special mention, since it was built by the Salesians of Croatia in the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina, despite the nationalistic tensions that existed between the two Balkan countries at the time of opening, in 1995.

For the Province it was not easy to take the decision to construct, but the Archbishop of Sarajevo, Mons. Vinko Puljić, believed that it was important for the local church, for Croatian people and especially for young people.

The city, situated in the central part of the country, has approximately 31,000 inhabitants and belongs to the canton of Zenica-Doboj, a Christian enclave in the Muslim world. In Žepče there are about 5000 young people unemployed; the economic situation does not offer many possibilities, and young people are forced to go abroad, especially in Croatia.

The Don Bosco Centre, in which 4 Salesians, assisted by some fifty laypeople, has a polo school attended by about 600 young people: 250 in a secondary school, 340 in technical-professional school, 80 on the University course of computer science. The past-pupils, having finished school have found work, some as teachers in the same centre, others as engineers, craftsmen and others have launched a company for the production of aluminium structures.

The oratory is the precious part of the Salesian presence: hundreds of boys and girls of Žepče and nearest villages there spend their free time participating in various activities. Thanks to the precious contribution of the animators, there are numerous sport activities, theatre, music, culture and spiritual retreats in the oratory.

The Salesians, though few, are always present to young people, to accompany them in their growth and maturation. There are not a few young people who, thanks to their help, appreciate the prayer and meditation, walking in search for God.

Published 06/11/2012

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