Skip to comments.Don Bosco Prep mourns losses at Haitian school belonging to same Catholic order
Posted on 01/20/2010 8:47:48 PM PST by Coleus
As they continued to look for survivors and shelter the homeless, officials from the Salesians of St. John Bosco learned Tuesday that several hundred people had perished, according to Hannah Gregory, a Salesian public relations representative. The private high school is a part of the Salesian Catholic order, which works specifically with young people around the world, encouraging them to learn and care for themselves. The order had six facilities in Haiti; most have been destroyed.
The hardest hit was a compound called Enam in Port-au-Prince that served primary grades and offered vocational training for older children, said the Rev. Mark Hyde, director of the Salesian Mission in New Rochelle, N.Y., which has been designated the command center for Salesian relief efforts in Haiti.
The number of students and personnel killed in the Don Bosco Institute compound in the Cité Soleil area was initially estimated at 200, but has grown to 500, including 250 students ages 5 to 17 years old, Gregory said. Many of the students killed were young women studying to become teachers.The compound housed a school for gifted students from throughout the missions 136 little schools and programs for street children. Approximately 25,000 children in the region were fed daily from a Salesian kitchen within the compound that was completely destroyed.
We had beautiful work going on there, impacting thousands of young people, said Hyde, who was preparing Tuesday to travel to Haiti today.
Back at Don Bosco Prep, a prayer service will be held Thursday, and the school will continue to remember the victims next week during Salesian Spirit Week. You have to do something. But how do you deal with a situation where a school and its population are no more? said the Rev. Louis Molinelli, director and president of Don Bosco Prep. Its not like there was a fire and we have to repair the building. There is nothing there. Its lost. Its gone. Its no more. And these were kids.
The prep school has been updated about the aftermath through a Salesian newsletter run out of the orders Italian headquarters. The Salesians are one of the largest Catholic orders, with more than 16,000 brothers and more than 16,000 sisters operating missions in 134 countries worldwide.
Because we are an international group and an international order, when a tragedy happens to our sisters and brothers in some other place we feel it deeply, Molinelli said. This is our family. Don Bosco Prep freshmen and sophomores will attend a Mass on Thursday at 8:20 a.m. and juniors and seniors will gather at 9:50 a.m. for a service that Molinelli will lead.
Clubs, student- and parent-run organizations will funnel their fund-raising efforts for the foreseeable future, Molinelli said, to help with health needs and the rebuilding of the order in Haiti. Its so hard to know where to begin because the destruction is so devastating, he said.
Poor little souls.