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27/11/2012 - RMG - Attention to migrants and the Salesian Mission: What the Salesians are doing for migrants in Europe

(ANS – Rome) – Research on "Attention to migrants and the Salesian Mission in multicultural societies in Europe" will be presented on Saturday, December 1st, as part of the 4th meeting of Provincials in Europe; a survey that highlights the commitment of the Salesian Congregation towards migrants in the European Provinces; a collection of best practices, opportunities and major challenges for the next targeted European journey.

The research is part of the interventions planned in 2011-2012 for the second stage of Project Europe (PE): Giving new meaning, relocation and reshaping of the Salesian presence in Europe. Fr Vito Orlando, lecturer in social Pedagogy and Vice-Rector of the Pontifical Salesian University in Rome is leading it.

Starting from indications from the Project Europe Commission, the preparation process started in the final months of 2011and the necessary instruments for analysis were put in place. Thanks to the contribution of the Salesians who work with migrants, the overall scope was clarified and objectives were defined.

The objectives of this survey were three strategic choices within PE, united by a single theme generator:

  • to bring out the different types of work, the strategies of the mission among migrants;
  • to give the Provincials the tools for awareness and formation of Salesians;
  • to discern some open issues more properly (in relation to migrants of other religions).

The four questionnaires, prepared and sent to the 29 Provinces of Europe, were structured in two parts: the first aimed to collect information on the current situation; the second aimed to gather information to improve the current status, enhancing sensitivity, operational capabilities able to change reality and to respond to the challenges outlined:

  1. what the Salesian Provinces of Europe are doing for migrants;
  2. action for and attention to migrants from ordinary educative and pastoral communities: (schools, parishes, oratories ...);
  3. specific works for migrants;
  4. direct involvement of migrants in the Salesian mission.

The research and presentation of results are collected in a volume published by the Salesian Athenaeum Library (LAS). The same Fr Vito Orlando will be present next Saturday afternoon at the 4th Meeting of European Provincials scheduled from November 30 to December 2 at the Salesianum in Rome.

The Rector Major, signing the Foreword, writes: "For our commitment in Europe we know not to start from scratch. We have an experience of working with migrants for some decades in many European countries. We must enhance this real experience, opening it at the same time to the new reality and reconsidering the attention to migrants not only through specific actions, but everyday actions in all Salesian activities”.

Today in Europe there are about 6200 Salesians working in 36 countries. Out of the 29 European Provinces about one hundred Salesian personnel are involved in the pastoral care of migrants.

Published 27/11/2012

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