INDIA: Young couples prepare for marriage with Salesian program
Salesian Assumption Church in Pezzonipet holds marriage preparation program for 531 people thanks to funding from Salesian Missions.
NEW ROCHELLE, NY (June 21, 2021) Salesian missionaries with Assumption Church, located in Pezzonipet, Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh, India, were able to hold a marriage preparation program thanks to funding from Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. To date, six programs have been held, impacting 531 young people over a period of one year.
Father T. Mariadas, rector, said, “In our parish, the vast majority of families are poor. The beneficiaries of the marriage preparation program are poor young people and couples. The financial support from Salesian Missions was essential in organizing this program and covering the related operational expenses to ensure couples and young people could attend this program.”
Salesian missionaries took over responsibility for Assumption Church in 1979. Assumption Church is one of the oldest parishes in the city of Vijayawada, a major urban center in Andhra Pradesh, which is rapidly expanding due to increasing migration. There are close to 2,500 Catholic families who live in close proximity to the parish and more than 1,000 youth who attend services.
Assumption Church has a very active community, and Salesians understand the needs and challenges many young married couples face today. The program focuses on developmental psychology, the natural differences between men and women, the importance of open communication, natural family planning, and various challenges couples will have to face when they get married such as jobs, career paths, health and financial hardships.
Raja and Satyavathi took part in the program and thanked the parish community for helping them to prepare spiritually and psychologically for the sacrament of marriage. The young couple is now part of Assumption Church’s vibrant parish community.
Salesian programs across India are primarily focused on education. Salesian primary and secondary education helps youth prepare for later technical, vocational or university study. Other programs help to support poor youth and their families by meeting the basic needs of shelter, proper nutrition and medical care.
Access to professional training and workforce development services is highly valued by youth in India. The country, which is home to 1.34 billion people (18 percent of the world’s population), will have overtaken China as the world’s most populous country by 2024, according to the World Economic Forum. While India has the world’s largest youth population, it has yet to capitalize on this, leaving some 30 percent of this population without employment, education or training.
India has the world’s fourth-largest economy but more than 22 percent of the country lives in poverty. About 31 percent of the world’s multidimensionally poor children live in India, according to a report by the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative. A multidimensionally poor child is one who lacks at least one-third of 10 indicators, grouped into three dimensions of poverty: health, education and standard of living.
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