ITALY: Salesian Oratorio San Rocco inaugurated in Sondrio after 15 months of work to rebuild the structure
(MissionNewswire) Salesian Oratorio San Rocco has been inaugurated in Sondrio, Italy, after 15 months of work to rebuild the structure. The project was made possible thanks to funding from the Cariplo Foundation and a fundraiser. Established more than 120 years ago, the oratory is managed by the Salesian community and parish in Sondrio.
Mons. Oscar Cantoni, bishop of Como, presided over the Eucharistic celebration in the courtyard of the Salesian Institute. Participants also went to the Piazza San Rocco for speeches from Father Giuliano Giacomazzi, superior of the Lombard-Emilian Province, Father Christian Bricola, and a representative of the Cariplo Foundation. After the ribbon-cutting ceremony in the hall, Msgr. Cantoni said the blessing prayer.
“Functioning side by side with Salesian schools, Salesian oratories (youth centers) offer a safe place for engaging youth in constructive activities during leisure time—such as sports, art and music,” said Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Youth are able to connect with supportive adults, access workshops and extra tutoring, and socialize with their peers. Youth learn teamwork and social skills, which provide opportunities for growth and maturity.”
In Italy, young people who are unemployed and not in school or training programs represent 20 percent of the population. Vocational training is as an educational path that serves as a highly effective bridge between school and work.
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.
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.
According to UNICEF, a growing number of youth are living away from their families in temporary shelters and within government and charity programs because of inadequate support from or neglect by their families. Salesian programs work to combat these challenges by providing shelter, nutrition, education and workforce development services for youth in need.
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Salesian Missions – Italy
UNICEF – Italy Poverty