Sunday 14 September 2014

Great Salesian work in Quito

Attached to the provincial house is the famous Centro Regional de Formacion Permanente. Next to this, in the same compound, is the very large UPS or Universidad Politecnica Salesiana, with campuses in other parts of the city, including the poor south, where it has the privilege of being the only university campus. Close by is also the parish of Maria Auxiliadora. Nearer the historical centre, in the middle of a poor barrio, is another complex work, the first in Ecuador and in the city: school, parish, Proyecto Chicos de la Calle, and postnovitiate house. 

The Proyecto Chicos de la Calle has branches in other parts of the city, and in other cities and towns of the country, and is one of the most outstanding works of the province, even if the definition of ‘street kid’ is not the same as in India. Here ‘street kid’ is more like ‘youth at risk,’ because of broken families, or families that cannot take adequate care of their children given that both parents are at work, or simply perhaps youngsters who have migrated to the city and are not in stable conditions. 

What is nice is that an ex-provincial is the Rector of the City Centre and director of the network of centres in the country. “The best to the least” is wonderfully practiced here in the ECU province. The vice provincial, Robert Garcia, in fact, comes from this kind of experience: he used to be the director of the works before Francisco Paco Sanchez. 

The project is also intimately linked to the volunteer-aspirantate: right now, the Quito community hosts six young men from different parts of the country who have manifested interest in the Salesian life. After prayers and mass with the community in the morning, they set out for different centres in the city where they work the whole day with young people at risk, coming back in the evening for supper, after which follow some three hours of formation. The aspirants join the community for everything – meals, prayer, community meetings – except of course the meetings in which they are assessed. The project is already some 20 years old, the vice provincial himself being an early product.

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