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12/10/2011 - RMG - Project for Europe also with immigrants
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(ANS – Rome) – Among the various items in the  Project for Europe there is also work with immigrants. To provide a positive response to this need, a working party made up af various representatives from several Salesian European Provinces  met at the Generalate on 8 October and considered a possible way ahead with some specific proposals on behalf of immigrants.

Present at the meeting were  the General Clkuncillor for Youth Ministry Fr Fabio Attard; the General Councillor for the Missions, Fr Václav Klement; Fr Stanislaw Rafalko, Fr Rafael Borges, Fr Janusz Zapala; representing the Salesian Pontifical University (UPS), Fr Vito Orlando and Fr Michal Vojtáš originally from the Slovak Province (SLK); Fr José Maria Blanco, from Spain-León (SLE), Fr Giovanni d’Andrea from the Sicilian Province (ISI) and Fr Salvatore Policino from the Circumscripton of Central Italy (ICC).

Starting from the basic fact that in Europe there are 40 million  immigrants and that the number continues to increase, there was a review of the reflection begun in a meeting of the Provincials of Europe (Rome, November 2010) and taken up again by the Commission for the Project for Europe (Santiago de Compostela, August 2011), which described the phenomenon as one of the “generating” factors in the process of revitalisation from within. The working party began to look ahead.

Before the next meeting of the Provincials of Europe, in 2012, it is intended to undertake an enquiry, sensitising the Provinces about working with immigrants, assessing the work already being done specifically in this mission and looking at the traditional works with a high proportion of immigrants  (over half the Provinces in Europe). Rather than being limited to a census work in this area will be aimed at showing the importance of this work and sharing good practice and valid models already being used.

It was noted that in various Provinces in Europe work with immigrants has been very successfully undertaken. However, there a still some challenges such as the defense of the rights of immigrants, inter-religious dialogue, changing the way of thinking of society and the perception that the media have of immigrants – often presented as a problem. Work has only just begun and there are many challenges to be faced.

Members of the working party also spoke about some of the work with immigrants already being undertaken in the Provinces and examined the commitment of the  Salesians, once again pointing out the importance in the mission of the Sons of Don Bosco of this new group for whom and with whom to work.

Published 12/10/2011

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