Bogotá, Colombia - September 2017 - From August 31st to September 3rd, the Formation Congress of the Association of Salesian Cooperators (ASC) of the Pacific South Caribbean Region was held on the theme "From Novelty to Life". During the congress, Sr. Leslye Sandigo, FMA, FMA Representative at the ASC World Consultation, and Noemi Bertola, ASC World Coordinator, presented the guidelines and indications for ASC member formation, and the significance and value of formation towards the growth of vocations; Asmirian Montilla, Regional Coordinator, spoke instead of the importance of economic solidarity in the life of the association and on the sense of family.
(ANS - Bogotà) - When Pope Francis turned to the audience at Bolívar Square in Bogotá from the balcony of the Cardinal Palace, most were young. His words expressed the great hope the Pope places in young people: he believes in their potential, knows they have the power to change history.
Bogotá, Colombia - September 2017 - Apostolic Journey of Pope Francis in Colombia (6-11 September 2017). The Holy Father visited Bogotá, Villavicencio, Medellín and Cartagena. He met with the President of the Republic, Juan Manuel Santos Calderón, bishops, the Latin American Episcopal Council (CELAM), the guests of the "San José" family house in Medellín, priests, religious, consecrated, seminarians and their family members. The Eucharist with the greatest number of people took place in Medellín, with about 1,296,000 faithful present.
(ANS - Bogotá) - During the second day of his visit to Colombia, Pope Francis spoke about the role of young people in the meeting with the Latin American Episcopal Council (CELAM) board of directors.
(ANS - Bogotá) - President of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, received Pope Francis on Wednesday at Catam's Bogotá military airport, the beginning of the Pontiff's five-day pastoral visit to the country. During greetings to the authorities, the Pope broke with protocol to embrace a number of disabled people, including children with Down Syndrome, and military and police injured in action, one of whom consigned a small gift.
Medellín, Colombia - August 2017 - The Edu-communications Commission of the Salesian Family of Colombia met on 29 August at the Provincial House of Salesians in Medellín to work on a project to foster peace and reconciliation. Daughters of the Sacred Hearts, Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, Salesians of Don Bosco and laity, have decided to respond to Colombia's post-conflict through a project involving Don Bosco's preventive system that allows children and young people to bring peace as "good Christians and honest citizens."
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)
Italy - 148th Salesian Missionary Expedition: "Without missionaries, many of us would not be here"
(ANS - Turin) - Yesterday, Sunday, 24 September, at the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians in Turin, 22 Salesians of Don Bosco and 15 Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (FMA) received the Missionary Cross and prepared to depart to their assigned destinations as missionaries.
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.