(ANS - San Juan) - Hurricane Maria has caused heavy damage and at least 14 deaths in Puerto Rico. Dr Carmen Yulín Cruz, mayor of the country's capital, San Juan, which has about 390,000 inhabitants, explained that at the moment "it is very difficult to calculate the damage and the number of houses destroyed." The Mayor of Fajardo City, Dr Aníbal Meléndez, said, "I have never seen my city so devastated." After striking Puerto Rico, Hurricane Maria has decreased in intensity and is now headed towards the eastern coast of the Dominican Republic.
(ANS - Uijongbu) – Due to the historical and social situation of South Korea, Salesian candidates are supposed to complete their compulsory military service before their novitiate. In the past, there was a 36-month-long military service duty; now, fortunately, they are only called to serve 21 months. Salesian candidates are enrolled for the military service only after two years as aspirants.
(ANS - Beit Jemal) - A few days from the Jewish and Muslim New Year celebrations, unidentified vandals attacked Bei Jemal's church of St. Stephen which is entrusted to a Salesian community. The vandals damaged or destroyed statues, stained glass windows, sacred items and furniture.
Burundi - Fr Jean Paul's mission for Rukago youth
(ANS - Rukago) – "'It is enough for you to be young for me to love you very much,' this is the phrase of Don Bosco I most prefer," says Fr Jean Paul Ndayikengurutse, a Salesian priest of Burundi. "I'm a priest with a young spirit. I love to play and chat, listen to and share the problems of so many young people who come to our community." Today, Fr Jean Paul's mission is to live and apply the Preventive System with the young people of Rukago, Burundi.
Comfort Zone: NO THANK YOU! "I prefer a wounded Church"
Some were astonished to see the face of Pope Francis injured during his visit to Colombia. The bruise on his eyebrow and on his cheekbone, the blood-stained white garment. A small accident on the Pope-mobile, which brought to mind the words of Bergoglio and inspired my ANS Editorial: "I prefer a Church that is bruised, wounded and dirty because it is going out into the streets, rather than a Church made sick by closure and the convenience of clinging to its own safety." (EG49)
RMG - Father Tom: "I am what I am today because God has taken care of me"
(ANS - Rome) - A serene man, in peace with God and with everyone, including the kidnappers, and also able to joke about the experience he lived through. This is the image the world's journalists and media saw in Fr Tom Uzhunnalil the morning of Saturday 16 September at the "Salesianum" in Rome where they heard in person the touching tale of captivity and liberation, both experiences lived with great faith in God.
Democratic Republic of the Congo - "The child and the dugout canoe"
(ANS - Miti) - There are three maternal orphans abandoned by their fathers; there is Bora, a young woman who has faced more challenges in her 28 years than most people live through in an entire lifetime; there are the Bambuti Pygmies who, while being the region's oldest inhabitants, when Kahuzi Biega National Park was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, were expelled and now live on the margins: there are, alas, many poor people living in rural areas near Bukavu where the Salesian missionary Fr Piero Gavioli and Lydie Masoka, a Salesian Cooperator, are working as best as they can to help give a future to the area's children and most vulnerable teens.