ITALY: Oratory marks 100 years of serving at-risk youth
Michele Rua Salesian Oratory in Turin celebrates its 100-year anniversary in service to local at-risk youth
(MissionNewswire) Michele Rua Salesian Oratory in Turin, Italy, is celebrating its 100-year anniversary in service to local at-risk youth. Like the first oratory Salesians started in Italy, it began as a canopy and a courtyard, but grew with the neighborhood and the city, educating generations of youth.
The oratory began with the Mamma Margherita Bosco Recreation Center, which was built during World War I near the current site of the oratory. As need increased, a building was added in 1921 and dedicated to St. John Bosco’s successor Father Michele Rua.
Father Stefano Mondin, rector of the Salesian house that oversees the oratory, said, “One hundred years of history is a great achievement, especially if we think that we are in a culture of the provisional and of individualism. One hundred years of history means many people, many sacrifices, much dedication. There have been 100 years of Salesian history of dedication to poor young people, families, immigrants, and for all those whom Salesian spirituality has managed to intercept and also 100 years where the Lord did not fail to bless.”
The initiatives planned to celebrate the anniversary include a collection of 100 stories by students and graduates on their experiences, a photographic exhibition covering the oratory’s 100 years, and celebratory feasts in the community.
Salesian programs across Italy help youth who are unable to attend school and others who drop out to work at the few jobs available to them. A growing number of children work as laborers on farms and others have turned to the sex trade to help support their families. Those in poverty often live without adequate shelter, hot water, regular meals and health care.
Poverty rose sharply in 2020 to its highest level in 15 years as the COVID-19 crisis brought economic challenges for much of the country. Close to 5.6 million people or 9.4 percent of the population are living in absolute poverty unable to buy goods or services to achieve a minimally acceptable standard of living, according to the World Bank. This number includes 1.3 million minors.
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Salesian Missions – Italy
World Bank – Italy