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

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.”