Focus 2004

Ondo - AFW01-03-2004

Date of foundation: 1982 / 1992
Place: Ondo - Nigeria
Province: West Africa - AFW (English Speaking Countries)

Nigeria is the most populous Country of Africa and the large majority of its population (above 120 millions) is young people. Don Bosco and his educational-spiritual method finds an open field with respect to the demands and possibilities. What is most encouraging is the interest of so many young people in following Don Bosco’s way of life in serving their brothers and sisters in this country. In this issues of FOCUS we draw our attention to a handful of these youngsters who wish to serve others.

During the first ten years of the arrival of the first Italian and Argentinean Salesian missionaries (a group of 3 in September 1982), the Technical school, parish and oratory of Ondo town were established. In 1992, with the collaboration of many members of staff and parishioners, a youth formation programme for human maturity and ecclesial vocational discernment began, under the name “Formation House”. Gradually it took on different aspects. It became a pre-novitiate and novitiate for those more interested in the Salesian consecrated life. It became a centre for vocational orientation where young people were formed as enthusiastic Christians ready to share a part of Don Bosco charism.

Youth serving youth is a deliberate attempt to meet young people with the invitation to form a network of youth and programmes that are fundamentally catechetical and vocational in nature. During the holidays most of the activities are conducted in the Salesian community, including youth groups from neighbouring cities and some more than 530km away.

The vocational programmes, though integrated with the camps and other youth programmes, soon take on a personal one-to-one dialogue. This becomes a point of spiritual and formative contact with young people through different youth and children’s programme spaced out through the year, especially those of catechetical, educational and vocational discernment.

The fruit of this personal follow up gives rise to Salesian vocations, like some of the African Salesians from Nigeria that number more than 24 (brothers, priests and students), 7 novices (plus 11 coming for the other English speaking Countries of West Africa with 11 in the pre-novitiate group of 2003/2004.

These programmes of animation are totally funded by generous foreign benefactors preparing the way for future Salesians, catechists and youth leaders in a nation that certainly influences the general stability and future of Africa, because of its geopolitical and religious position. For example, a 3 weeks animation camp for teenagers would not cost less then 2,000 Euro in addition to the token registration fees that the youth themselves are able to offer.

Who are the Youth that benefit from this project?  Youth in universities, (100) youth in elementary and secondary school (1000) and youth who are recently out of secondary school and want to learn a skill, trade (250) or join the religious life (200) - these are the the approximate number of young people who have benefited so far. Average annual statistics show a constant increase of about 15% of participation.

There is no denying that, at the heart of this involvement is an attraction for the Salesian style of life in many catholic youth.

The Salesian community behind this project is made up of at present of 11 confreres. It also takes care of the Technical school, Parish, Oratory, Youth Centre. Three confreres are more directly involved in the formation of young people at the “Formation House”. Lay people collaborate at different levels, most of them being youth themselves.

Nigera is now part of the just born AFW vice province which was officially inaugurated on 5 January 2004. Other countries in the vice province include Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ghana. In Nigeria the Salesians have 3 presences.


D. Bosco centre -ONDO
PO BOX 937 - Oke Odunwo

Tel: 034- 610504
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