(ANS – Damascus) – As part of his Extraordinary Visitation to the “Adolescent Jesus” Province of the Middle East, the Councilor for the Mediterranean Region, Fr Juan Carlos Pérez Godoy, visited all the Salesian Houses in Syria.
From Lebanon, the first stopover on his journey, he left for Kafroun, the city geographically closest to the Land of the Cedars and visited the local Salesian house. There was a joyful welcome from the fifty boys and girls singing in Italian in homage to him in the presence of animators, educators and lay staff of the house, besides Fr Danny Hayek sdb, who resides there, as well as Fr Mario Murru and Fr Dany Kaurieh, from Aleppo.
Fr Pérez Godoy met the Educational Council and the community with the children and young people and listened with interest to their experiences they narrated. He, thus got to know the circumstances and the environment in which the Salesians work in Kafroun, as well as the difficulties they encountered.
After Kafroun, he reached Aleppo, where the Salesian House “Georges and Mathilde Salem” is located. Here as well, he met the young people and the Educational Council and was also accompanied on a visit to the city, which was one of the most affected places during the war. He also observed the various churches which were already restored thanks to the commitment of the faithful.
At Damascus, more than 350 boys and girls who attend high school and the oratory of “Don Bosco” center celebrated the arrival of Fr Pérez Godoy, in an atmosphere of extraordinary joy and happiness, among the characteristic Damascus folklore rites.
In Damascus, the General Councilor walked in the footsteps of St. Paul, living intimately the story of his conversion at the gates of Damascus and visited the holy areas which are located within about 50 kilometers from Damascus. They are: Saydnaya and Maaloula, with its two churches, dedicated to Saint Thekla and to Saints Sarkis and Pacho.
Accompanied by Fr Dany Kerio, Fr Najib Shennekji and Fr Felice Cantele, the Visitor also got to know the Salesian center in Maarat Sednaya, as well as the new presence of “Don Bosco” in Jaramana, near Damascus, which was nevertheless opened last year to teach children and young people after school and serves as a hospice for university students.
As part of the visit to Damascus, the Regional Councilor met with the educational council & community and had several spontaneous meetings with the young people. He also took part in the opening ceremony of the football championship between the churches of Damascus and its surroundings and also met with the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, who work both in the Italian hospital and in the kindergarten of the school.
“Father Juan Carlos’ visit to Syria was full of encounters and full of spirituality and joy, precisely because there was a Visitor who traveled long distances to get to know a country that has suffered for a long time from war and which suffers still many problems resulting from the war, which are reflected in the first place on young people,” commented the Salesians in Syria.
ANS – Agency of Salesian News