Fr Caputa introduces Simone Srugi

(ANS – Beitgemal) – The Salesian Fr Giovanni Caputa, former professor of Theology in Cremisan and Jerusalem (1980-2017), has since 2014 been a collaborator in the cause of beatification of Venerable Simone Srugi, a Salesian brother who was a central figure for the Salesians of the Middle East. Fr Caputa recently wrote a new book in Italian on Simone Srugi (Simone Srugi nella storia di Betgamāl), and today he illustrates the history of the Venerable and the value of this publication.

It is not your first book on Srugi. What’s new in this one?

In 2018 I published Vita e scritti di Simone Srugi (Life and Writings), which contains all the documentation. In this last book, I better frame one and the others in their historical context, that is, the hundred years between the reconstitution of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem (1847) and the partition of Palestine (1947). It was part of a region that during that century completely changed aspect, from a political, socio-economic, cultural and religious point of view … The maps and the “photo gallery”, which complete the volume, help to offer a better picture.

Against that background, the life and action of Srugi stand out; after his childhood in Nazareth and the years of apprenticeship in Bethlehem (nurse, tailor and baker), he made his religious profession as a Salesian brother (1896) and carried out his mission for 50 years in Betgamāl. In this out-of-the-way and malarial locality, the Salesians welcomed Palestinian orphans, Armenian, Lebanese, Syrian refugees, and finally also Poles. They ran an agricultural school with an attached mill, olive oil press, canteen and medical-pharmaceutical dispensary. Simone was teacher and catechist of the little ones, master of ceremonies in the shrine of St Stephen and above all a nurse: the sick came to him by the dozen every day, from about fifty villages. It is estimated that he treated tens of thousands of poor sick people.

What did Srugi leave written?

He was not a writer; he was a practical, simple man, who loved to read Don Bosco’s books, manuals of piety… From them he transcribed short sentences, which he distributed in strips of paper to brothers and boys. They resemble today’s tweets.

Here are a few:

–      A “thank you to God” is worth more, a “God be blessed” in adversity, than a thousand thanks in prosperity.

–      God does things slowly, but He does them well.

–      Carry the cross of each day every day with the grace of each day.

–      The cross, if it is loved, is only half a cross, because the love of Jesus softens everything, and one does not suffer much, except when one loves little.

–      It is more worth raising a straw out of obedience than fasting a Lent by one’s own election.

–      You do not have to look for enemies in the town square, while the most bitter is hidden inside you, indeed, it is you. So look at your soul for yourself.

–      The happiness of pleasing God with doing all things well is a sage of heaven.

The book in Italian Simone Srugi nella storia di Betgamāl – Simone Srugi in the history of Betgamāl – will soon be included in the Salesian Digital Library (SDL).

   Agency of Salesian News

The bakery of the Salesians in Bethlehem helps the poor and needy

The ingredients of Salesian bread in Bethlehem are not only flour, water and yeast, but infinite quantities of mercy and generosity are also added to its dough, so the Salesian bakery in the city has become a point of reference in helping the poor and needy. P. LORENZO SAGGIOTTO Salesians of Bethlehem “In particularly difficult times such as the first and second intifada, this oven played an important role and provided an excellent service to the people. Also during the first and second Iraq war we helped many families poor. ” A relentless help even in this difficult time of the Coronavirus pandemic. P. LORENZO SAGGIOTTO Salesians of Bethlehem “Also in this period, from the outbreak of the pandemic until today, the bakery has not only given bread to the poorest families but also to institutions that need help to continue serving the people. “Among these institutions is the” Together for Life “Association of Bethlehem, which to help people with disabilities and who, due to the pandemic, no longer have any income, either from handicraft production or from donations. MAHERA GHARIB Director of “Together for Life” “We too depended on tourists visiting Bethlehem and we were affected as much as the entire tourism sector. The bread we receive is enough for about 55 people. For us it was a cost and the Salesians thus relieve us of this expense, above all because bread is fundamental in our Palestinian culture. We eat bread or rice; bread accompanies every meal. “Even the Bethlehem Association Beit Al Rajaa – “Casa Della Speranza” – for the blind and people with special needs was hit by the consequences of the Coronavirus: even for them, income depended on external support and tourists. The director of the Association, Salim Zeidan, thanks the Salesians for their help and for the quality of the bread. SALIM ZEIDAN Director Beit Al Rajaa – Bethlehem “Salesian bread lasts two or three days, but we can heat it and it comes back as if it had just come out of the oven. The Salesian oven is one of the oldest in the city and has always maintained the same quality as production.” BASMA GIACAMAN Supervisor of the Basma Center – Beit Sahour “Even if making bread seems a simple thing, for families who do not work and have no income, especially in periods of curfew,

Christian Media Center in Holly Land

Syria – Country increasingly in difficulty. New initiatives to support young people and families

(ANS – Damascus) – The Syrian civil war represents one of the worst humanitarian crises of our time. The population has shrunk from 21 million to 17 and today 13 million people are in urgent need of humanitarian support, including the more than 6 million internally displaced people – 28% of whom in the capital Damascus alone – in addition to the 3 million who live in hard-to-reach areas. Furthermore, since mid-March, the Syrian government has begun to apply severe restriction measures to contain the spread of Covid-19.

Activities across the country are now profoundly impacted by curfews, movement restrictions, market closures and commercial freezes. The costs of primary goods continue to exceed purchasing power and Syrian families are experiencing a moment of unimaginable economic stress.

To the direct effects of the economic crisis are added school-related problems: schools work in fits and starts, and students (from primary school children to university students) are not equipped to follow lessons from home, and are falling further behind in their studies.

Faced with this situation, the spiritual Sons of Don Bosco in Syria, active in Damascus, Kafroun and Aleppo, are by now used to working in emergency conditions, and have taken action to help families who, already tried by years of war, are now facing the effects of the pandemic.

For this reason they have set up two different support programs for those in academic difficulty: one that will benefit 200 children, and another aimed at 180 students in the last years of high school and university.

Along with these school reinforcement projects, a third has been added: economic support to 200 vulnerable families.

Each initiative is carried out with the objective, proper to the Salesian charism, of taking care of the most disadvantaged minors and offering them those opportunities for development that otherwise they could not achieve

Because, as the Syrian Salesian Fr Pier Jabloyan said during a testimony, “whoever sows terror and pain through war is destined to end up in the garbage heap of history. But whoever stays with those who suffer will be remembered forever.”

For more information, visit the website: www.missionidonbosco.org 

Agency of salesian news

Lebanon – Feast of Don Bosco for youth of Zgharta’s “Don Bosco Association”

Zgharta, Lebanon – February 2020 – Like every year, Don Bosco’s family in Zgharta celebrated the Mass in honor of Don Bosco in the church of “Our Lady of Zgharta” in which the youth of the “Don Bosco Association” participated. The Mass was presided by Fr Jean Moura, mentor of the association that has been assisting young people with Don Bosco’s charism for 21 years. After Mass, Don Bosco’s family presented artistic performances centered on the mission of the Saint of the Young to the audience.

Written by: ANS – Agency of Salesian News

The most beautiful photo: “Don Bosco, priest, father and pastor”

It has been written, and it is absolute truth, that Don Bosco never stopped confessing, even when he was sick, and still a few months before he died he continued to do so. His great joy was that his children were “in the grace of God”. All the boys wanted to confess to Don Bosco and the reason is visible in this, the most beautiful photo for Don Bosco, the one where he shows his identity as a priest. He has a serene face, an attentive gaze, a paternal attitude. In this circumstance, he was confessing the one who will be his second successor at the head of the Congregation: Paolo Albera. The photo was taken by Francesco Serra, with the title “Don Bosco who confesses”, in Turin, in 1861.

 

Written by: ANS – Agency of Salesian News

Salsians in Egypt and Holy Land are sharing unique spiritual times!

21 Salesians has met at the Monastery of St. Macarius in Egypt, who came from all the Salesian houses in Egypt and the Holy Land, with the presence ofr Father Jean Antonio Bonato, and the provencial Father Alejandro Leon.

To carry out the annual spiritual meditations of the, in an atmosphere of prayers, contemplation and distinctive salesian spiritual participation.

Youth people on Cairo

Higher Education in the Salesian School in Cairo

Over the years the Don Bosco Industrial Technical Institute in Cairo has been a centre of excellence.

Every year it trains many young people as industrial experts, prepares them to enter the world of work and in this way helps Egypt to a high level of industrial development. In recent months, a number of innovative projects have been developed in the field of renewable energy. We listen to what the people involved have to say:

“In the past three months, the students of Don Bosco have been working on the development of two innovative prototypes to implement solar power. This project was carried out here at Don Bosco in cooperation with AFD, IECD, and Schneider Egypt in order to provide students with the tools and skills needed in the target market,” said the manager of the French Agency for Development.

An Egyptian manager of Schneider says: “The idea of the project is to teach students, the next generation of engineers, to be familiar with new technologies for the use of solar energy. Of course, we know well the shortcomings and difficulties of our country from an economic point of view and rising costs. This is why we are concerned about the next generation of engineers.”

One of the teachers in the school says: “I’m working on a project for a pump which will use the energy generated by the sun through panels, without the use of batteries. We will use it for soil or water or to fill a tank depending on the energy generated in such a way that when the pump has more energy it will produce more water.”

According to another teacher: “The second project is about how to provide a small house with solar energy, in addition to using the national power grid, depending on the availability of the sun.”

Finally, the students: Michael comments: “what is unique about this project is that for the first time we are using solar energy.” Mohammed added: “the use of solar energy will increase in the future and in addition it is a clean energy that does not pollute.” And Joseph concludes: “This project will help me to work better and faster with solar energy, because I had to deal with problem resolution, and this helped me to become a better technician.”

The Salesian Youth Centres in Spain in solidarity with those in Syria

The Don Bosco Confederation of Salesian Youth Centres, together with the National Commission of Salesian Oratories and Youth Centres in Spain, has launched a project called “Suriya” (phonetic transcription of the Arabic word “Syria”).

Given the complexity of any project to welcome Syrian refugees, those responsible for the Don Bosco Confederation wondered if they could help their colleagues in Syria who are working with children and young people in their own situation, realizing that they know best what is to be done. This led to an awareness project among the children and young people who attend the Salesian youth centres in Spain, and out of this came the solidarity project called “Suriya”.

The project arose as a short, medium and long-term commitment, thanks to the twinning of the Salesian Youth Centres in Spain and Syria. This will raise the level of awareness, support and fundraising to help cover the material needs of the Syrian oratories. There are three main areas of intervention: material needs (such as food, medicine and clothes); materials for study (stationery, etc.) and psychological training for the team of leaders; and, finally, material for recreational activities (balls, nets, etc.).

Among the various awareness-raising activities planned are the preparation of teaching units that work for different age groups and make them aware of the Syrian reality and the objectives of the project. They are also organizing a travelling photographic exhibition on the reality of refugees. There will be a visit to Syria by a delegation of Spanish youth centres, and some Syrian leaders will be involved in the summer activities of the Spanish oratories. There will also be a prayer vigil at the same time in various centres of the two countries, organized by the Salesian Youth Movement.

For the fundraising efforts, a special bank account has been opened and a “Solidarity Fair” campaign has been launched in various centres.

The Suriya project is carried out in close collaboration between the National Committee of Spain’s Youth Centres, and the delegates of Youth Ministry of the Salesians and the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians in Syria.

The Don Bosco Confederation was founded in 1991 and today it has 127 Salesian youth centres in Spain, with about 5,800 volunteers, 180 professionals, and 57,000 beneficiaries.