ITALY: Salesian missionaries hold 14th annual workshop for family animators
(MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries held the 14th edition of the School of Formation for Family Animators event in the town of Castellammare di Stabia in August. The event is hosted and organized by the Salesian-run nonprofit, Associazione Cerchi d’Onda, and brought together more than 200 participants which included adults and children.
“The Pope has on several occasions invited priests, religious and lay people involved in the Church to take care of families,” says Salesian Father Mario Oscar Llano, president of Associazione Cerchi d’Onda and dean of the faculty of education services at the Salesian Pontifical University. “Our commitment, for 14 years now, is to allow families, couples and even children, to spend time together that is full of rest and reflection, without the worry of everyday life, so that they may grow together in love and in mutual respect.”
Sister Elena Cavaliere of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians and Father Giovanni D’Andrea, president of the Salesians of Social Welfare, also known as the SCS/CNOS Federation, were speakers at the event. Workshops focused on many themes affecting family life including: communication to understand and love each other, emotions, the balance between aggression and passivity, the need to take care of one’s self to prevent stress and the art of accompanying families.
During the week, event participants led by Fr. Giovanni D’Andrea were provided educational-recreational activities and diversified workshops modified according to the age group of the children attending. There were also specifically tailored sessions for youth in their fourth and fifth year of high school and for university students.
Salesian programs across Italy are significantly impacting families. The Salesians of Social Welfare organization has been working to promote a better quality of life for disadvantaged youth and their families for 24 years. In 2016, under the organization’s direction, close to 9,000 at-risk youth received educational and social development services through Salesian programs throughout Italy.
The primary recipients of these services are minors and youth who are in situations of social vulnerability including those in the care of Italy’s child protection system. Many of these youth are engaged in Salesian programs that include family child care homes and community housing, childcare centers for academic support, youth groups and foster parent networks.
Salesian missionaries have been challenged by the number of migrants and other unaccompanied youth looking for shelter, support and work in cities across Italy. For unaccompanied foreign minors, Salesian missionaries launched 58 projects including first- and second-level reception centers, Italian language courses, job placement services, legal assistance and more. These add-on services reached 4,068 migrant youth.
Italy, Europe’s third-largest economy, has close to 2 million children living in poverty, according to UNICEF. The poverty rate has risen in the wake of Europe’s economic crisis. Unemployment is at its highest level since the late 1970s with the overall jobless rate at 12.5 percent and youth unemployment as high as 41 percent.
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UNICEF – Italy Poverty