Renovate a House for Salesian Fathers in the Czech Republic
“A desert on the religious landscape.” This is how local Church leaders view the region of Ustí in northern Bohemia in the Czech Republic. The country as a whole is profoundly atheistic, but in the Ustí region, only a mere 5% of the population describe themselves as belonging to a Christian denomination of any kind. There are historical reasons for this, since after the Second World War, ethnic Germans who lived in the area were all expelled and replaced by people who settled there from various other regions, but who, under the prevailing communist rule, could not develop any new religious traditions. As a result, it was not possible for faith to put down any roots.
The Salesian Fathers have been present in the region, in the town of Teplice, since 1990. They run three parishes in the town itself and four others in the surrounding villages, and they certainly have their hands full. They are faced with all kinds of social problems, including high unemployment and crime, especially among young people. On average, the people in this region here are poorer and less well educated than in other parts of the country.
The Salesians have established a center to work with children and young people, especially those from the most socially disadvantaged families. They not only give religious instruction but also organize summer camps and faith-based weekend events. The center also reaches out to adults, offering a variety of courses on the faith, seminars for married couples, ecumenical gatherings and much more besides. At the same time, the Salesians are active in prison ministry and also visit the sick and elderly in hospitals and retirement homes, and there is a special outreach to the Roma families.
The center the Salesians run is known as the “living house” or “lively house”. Here, before the pandemic struck, they were able to reach out to close to 1,500 young children, 400 teens, and 500 adults annually. They have 30 employees and 200 volunteer helpers supporting the six priests in their work here.
The building they currently use is rented. In the long term, a house of their own would offer them greater security for future planning, and they have already acquired a suitable house, but it will first have to be fully renovated. We are proposing to help with $33,000, because we already know how extremely important the work of the Salesian Fathers is in this difficult area, and what wonderful fruits it brings.
Will you give so that these Salesian Fathers can renovate this house and use it to better minister to the faithful and those in need in the Czech Republic?
We are sure the Salesian Fathers will gratefully remember you in their prayers!
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