SIERRA LEONE: Parish construction partially completed thanks to funding from Salesian Missions
The completed St. Augustine’s Parish will accommodate 800 parishioners.
NEW ROCHELLE, NY (July 19, 2022) Salesian missionaries with St. Augustine’s Parish, located in the Dworzak community within Freetown, Sierra Leone, have partially completed construction of a new church thanks to donor funding provided by Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. Salesians are seeking additional funding to finalize the project.
With the additional funding, the next phase of the project will include electrical, plumbing, floors, walls and painting. Once completed, the church will be able to accommodate 800 parishioners indoors for celebrating liturgies and holy Masses. There will also be a youth center for children when schools are on holiday. The parish currently has two schools, St. Augustine’s Pre-School and St. Augustine’s Primary School.
St. Augustine’s Parish is one of the poorest parishes in the Archdiocese of Freetown and parishioners are making personal efforts to bring the building to completion. As the number of parishioners and the size of the community have increased, Salesian missionaries embarked on a multi-phase project to expand their outgrown church.
“We appreciate the funding donors have provided to date to help with the construction of this church,” said Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions. “With the construction of the building, Salesians in Sierra Leone are now in need of funding to finish the internal parts of the church to make it operational for the community. Our donors are generous and we hope to provide the funding to finalize this project.”
Salesian missionaries have been serving in Sierra Leone since 2001 when they began working to rehabilitate former child soldiers through the organization Don Bosco Fambul. Don Bosco Fambul, located in the capital city of Freetown, has become one of the country’s leading child welfare organizations — offering food, clothing, crisis intervention services, shelter, educational opportunities, long-term counseling and family reunification.
Young people also face significant challenges in accessing education. With too few teachers and many school buildings destroyed in the war, resources are thin. Persistently high illiteracy rates mean that an estimated 70 percent of Sierra Leone’s youth are unemployed or underemployed.
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