PARAGUAY: The Maria Auxiliadora Parish community in Concepción has new audiovisual equipment thanks to Salesian Missions donor funding
The Salesian parish now has the equipment necessary to hold meetings and conduct workshops with partners and youth.
NEW ROCHELLE, NY (June 23, 2020) The Maria Auxiliadora Parish community in Concepción, Paraguay, has new audiovisual equipment thanks to donor funding through Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. The goal was to have the equipment necessary for the parish to conduct workshops with partners and youth and to carry out meetings focused on devotion to the Marian Catholic faith.
“The equipment is very beneficial for a range of activities including talks, workshops, pastoral meetings, pre-baptismal, premarital courses and meetings with young people,” said Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions. “This new equipment impacts up to 30 people per meeting and gives the Salesian community better access to technology to facilitate its work with the community.”
Father Jorge Manfredo Cuevas Ramos and the Association of Mary Help of Christians facilitate the meetings and activities of the parish. The equipment purchased and installed works optimally in the facility. The parish needed air conditioning for the room where the equipment is housed and that has also been purchased and installed.
Also operating in Concepción is the Salesian San Luís Educational Institution. Founded in 1991, the institute currently provides services to 760 youth from kindergarten to middle school. The institute houses several schools within its grounds as well as a very popular oratory. Participating youth take part in primary and secondary education, summer camps, sports and art, dance, and theater classes.
Salesian missionaries have been working in Paraguay since establishing a church in Asunción in 1896. Through the years, missionaries have operated educational programs to help advance the skills and knowledge of the indigenous population in the area while promoting strong cooperation with leaders of the indigenous culture. Local Salesian programming supports laws in favor of the indigenous populations, the recovery of original lands, sustainable development, the appreciation of cultural values in each ethnic group and the fostering of internal leadership.
Paraguay is among the poorest countries in South America. According to UNICEF, almost 23 percent of its population of 6.5 million people lives in poverty earning less than $1 per day. The gap between the small upper class and the large lower class is extreme and offers virtually no social mobility.
Conditions of poverty drive youth into early labor and a lack of literacy, in addition to a weak educational foundation, compounds the problem. Those in poverty face overcrowding, low quality housing and a lack of access to basic household services. Paraguayans who only graduate from primary school are twice as likely to live in poverty as those who have access to and complete secondary school.
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