Focus 2004

Slovenia - SLO15-07-2004

Date of foundation: 1990
Province: Slovenia (SLO)

The Oratory - ORATORIJ – is one of the Salesians’ activities in Slovenia forging a new path after decades of work – due to the political climate – more or less exclusively in parishes. The Oratorij project began at the end of the ‘80’s. The centenary of Don Bosco’s death faced Salesians with a challenge, "what more can be done for children and adolescents?". And so the concept was born of a "tent" which in that jubilee year was to be found set up here and there for the purpose of attracting lots of youngsters and around which could be found lots of Oratory-style activities lasting about a day, in many cities and towns.
At the beginning of the ‘90’s, when Slovenia became politically autonomous, and detached from the Federal Republic of Jugoslavia, the Salesians took advantage of this situation to broaden their activities for young people. Many different works were set up amongst which these oratory activities.

Oratorij is a summer initiative based on the spirit and intuition of Don Bosco. The Oratory programme is prepared each year by Salesians, FMA and other leaders working with them. The oratory them is drawn from sources like Sacred Scripture, the lives of the saints or even Slovenian literature. Training and other aids besides books are prepared which help in developing the programme. One of these helping factors is the Slovene Oratory website ( ) which exploits the possibilities of advanced technology in computers so as to facilitate cooperation and exchange between the different oratories.

Over the last 10 years Oratorij has really become a true movement. It is a place where young people meet and where they can display their abilities and resources. It is an open educational field offering multiple educational and pastoral challenges. It is a movement that is actually changing the face of the Church and which highlights young people as actors in their own right responsible for their future and also, therefore, for that of the Church. Oratorij has become a summer activity that parishes should not lack if they want to sincerely seek new ways of carrying out a modern youth ministry that goes beyond traditional ways of doing things. The Oratory, then, does not just happen in Salesian Parishes, but in many other parishes throughout the three Slovenian diocese. From 1995, when the first Oratory training aid was first published, the number of parishes preparing to run an Oratory has been constantly on the increase. In 2003 there were 130 parishes with an Oratory programme (with more than 12 thousand children taking part and with around 3 thousand young leaders). The Slovenian Church has recognized that the Oratorij is a valuable initiative launching a new approach to youth ministry.

The theme for Oratory 2004 - "Lahko si zvezda!" (You can be a star!) attempts to draw on the thoughts of the Rector Major who has called 2004 the year of Salesian holiness. In the story around which the Oratory activities have been based, St. Catherine ofAlexandria has been exemplified as one who gave her life for Christ at the dawn of Christianity. For all of us the saints are stars reflecting the light that each in turn has received from the ‘sun’. Each human being is also called to be a star like this. Not through force but by invitation, because the Lord respects each one’s free decision, therefore: You can be a star!


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