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2/4/2014 - RMG - GC27: Youth for Youth
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(ANS - Rome) – The Goodnight on 31 March was given by Fr Pejo Orkić, the Provincial of Croatia.  He began by saying that the Salesians have been in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina for 100 years. This period can be divided into three stages.

The first is from the beginning until the second world war, the second is that of the Communist regime. "Our works were closed and we were confined to the Church and the sacristy. (...) The Lord does things in his own way. He sent us vocations during that time when we were living in an almost impossible situation.

The third stage began with the fall of the Berlin Wall and the first democratic elections in 1990. "We were free again to confess our faith without fear or obstacle,  and to resume our educative and pastoral work outside the sacristy which had become our catacombs."

In previous decades the educational service was limited to small children, mainly altar servers. At the end of the 80s, the work expanded to include young people in secondary schools. The first training school for animators was started and it has grown gradually.  Several groups have developed from this school - prayer groups, Caritas, groups engaged in sports, music and theatre and other free time activities.

The first doubts and suspicions were overcome, and the usual difficulties associated with activities that were new to us. From asking "what do I do with them?" we have gone to saying "I need a lot of animators for new projects."

In 2003, the Croatian Bishops' Conference decided toset up a project totrainleaders. It was called Youth for Youth.The key players were Salesians, Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, Salesian Cooperators and the Salesian Youth Movement , and today we can say that is a project of the whole Salesian Family. In the early days the leaders were the members of the Youth Ministry Office ofthe Episcopal Conference. Now they are all Salesian Cooperators.

Voluntary service developed, and especially activities that expressed their life of faith, the sacraments, Marian devotion and prayer groups. There was also a vocational dimension and the first vocations to the priesthood came as a result of the pastoral plan.

The Youth for Youth project is also involved in social communication. Video and Audio materials are being prepared for dissemination over the Internet and ​​an app called New Eve has been made for smart phones. It is intended as an instrument  of the new evangelization.                 

Published 02/04/2014

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