BRAZIL: Salesian Archdiocese of Belém aims to open 50 oratories in 2018
(MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries in parishes within the Archdiocese of Belém in Brazil are about to launch a new oratory and youth program. The oratory will be a place for youth for both their school and religious studies as well as for sports, leisure, and healthy and safe activities with their peers. The goal is to develop a place where youth can come together and missionaries can promote good behaviors and study habits.
The development of the oratory is part of the Youth Sector Project of the Archdiocese of Belém, conceived by the auxiliary bishop of Belém, Salesian Msgr. Antonio de Assis, who is in charge of youth in the region. The objective of the archdiocese’s Youth Sector is to establish 50 oratories in 2018 in the metropolitan region’s most diverse areas, especially in the peripheral communities where juvenile crime is widespread. Currently, 25 parishes have already agreed to the initiative. For the activities to be carried out safely and with the necessary preparation, a program of three training sessions for volunteers is under way.
During the second training session, held in January 2018, 96 volunteers, both young people and adults representing various parishes and religious communities, as well as four priests and five other religious staff, took part in the program. The training sessions provided volunteers an overview of how oratories started as well as the mission of St. John (Don) Bosco. Volunteers also learned about good practices in shaping the oratory’s educational support and religious education.
Salesian missionaries have a long history of providing youth programs in Brazil. At the Salesian Youth Center in the town of Niterói, near Rio de Janeiro, Salesian missionaries launched their third socio-sports program in the country. The programs are made possible through a collaboration between the Salesian Missions office in Madrid and the Real Madrid Foundation.
The program’s motto is “They play, we educate” and participants receive nutritional, family and psychological support, regular health checkups and the opportunity to participate in social and educational workshops in activities such as gymnastics, crafts, reading and citizenship. Training sessions on topics such as health, hygiene, values and the prevention of alcohol, tobacco and drug abuse will also be provided.
“Sports programs teach youth both on and off the field,” says Father Mark Hyde, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Learning and playing team sports encourage leadership skills as well as teach youth to work as part of a team. Students also learn important social skills and have opportunities for growth and maturity.”
Brazil has one of the strongest economies in Latin America and is an important agricultural and industrial power in the region. Just over 15 percent of Brazilians live in poverty, with the majority living in the rural northeast of the country, according to the World Bank. While Brazil is making positive changes, there are still large gaps between the poor and the rich. Issues of income inequality and social exclusion remain at the root of those in poverty.
Inequalities also exist in access to education and educational efficiency. These inequalities are greatest for children and youth who are poor, live in rural areas or who have an incomplete compulsory education. Salesians working with poor youth and their families in Brazil develop programs and provide youth opportunities for furthering their education and skills.
World Bank – Brazil