(ANS – Seville) – Sunday 15 January, feast of Blessed Luigi Variara (1875-1923), Salesian missionary, the Salesian Province of Spain-Mary Help of Christians (SMX) launched the “Lebanon Project” with a statement addressed to all its presences.

The main objective of this project is to establish a direct relationship to give support and affection to the Salesian educational-pastoral communities present in the Land of the Cedars, which seek to be small oases in an extremely difficult situation for many Lebanese and also for many Iraqi and Syrian refugees who they found a welcome. Specifically, these are three Salesian works: the technical school of Al Fidar, the house of youth spirituality and the colonies of El Houssoun, and the primary and secondary school of Beirut. Many of the children and young people of the three works participate in the activities organized by the Salesians on Fridays and Saturdays throughout the year, and the summer school organized at the house in El Houssoun in the months of July and August is always a great success.

“Our Province, through the Provincial Coordinator of Missionary Animation and the NGO Bosco Global, and in constant dialogue with the Provincial Office for Planning and Development of the Middle East (MOR) – Province to which the houses in Lebanon belong – has elaborated a three-year cooperation project (2023-2026) which was approved by the SMX Provincial Council in November 2022 and was welcomed with joy by the Salesian community of Lebanon in January 2023”, shared Fr José Luis Navarro Santotomás, Coordinator of Missionary Animation of SMX, in the project launch message.

There are several areas of application and implications of this project:

– From 19 to 29 June 2023, a course will be organized in El Houssoun to host a large group of young animators from Lebanon, Syria and Iraq. “Coordinated by Jordi García, a teacher at the Don Bosco Youth Animation School in Valencia, we have formed an international group of Leisure teachers who will carry out this initiative. Young teachers from Aragon, Valencia and Andalusia, together with young teachers from Leisure from Aleppo, Kafroun and Damascus (Syria), Jbeil and Beirut (Lebanon) and Mosul (Iraqis living in Lebanon) are preparing the subjects that will be taught this summer over the course, all in English and Arabic. The work of the course will conclude with the development of direct training in Lebanon, where seven young people from the Spanish faculty will go to actually carry out the course” explained Fr Navarro Santotomás.

– Under the motto “Walking with a new gaze”, the NGO for development “Bosco Global” will offer as an experience, within the multiple options of International Volunteering, the possibility of participating in the summer activities developed by the Salesians in Lebanon . “By participating in the proposed training dates in advance, it will be possible to live a first-rate Salesian missionary experience”, added the signer of the letter.

– The NGO Bosco Global, in coordination with the Provincial Planning and Development Office of MOR, has established some International Cooperation projects to respond to material needs that generate development paths for the Salesian presence in Lebanon. The most urgent needs will focus on covering the salaries of the teachers of the Don Bosco Technical School; scholarships for around 100 of the most vulnerable students; the activities of winter oratory and youth centers for Lebanese, Iraqi and Syrian children; emergency assistance to around 100 vulnerable families; and on support for the construction of a photovoltaic system for the oratory of El Houssoun.

The letter from the SMX Mission Animation Coordinator also reports on the situation and the support offered to the Salesian realities in Ukraine; and then invites you to support the various International Cooperation projects already started by SMX in collaboration with Bosco Global, in 13 countries in Africa and Latin America.

“I hope that these communications will help us to promote in our Province the knowledge of all the missionary activities that we carry out with dedication, and to give ever more strength to the missionary spirit proper to our vocation”, concludes the text

To publicize the project and, above all, to make the Salesian presence in Lebanon known, the website was launched:

Source: Salesianos. info

Spain – Salesians “find what unites” through the Lebanon Project