#oratoryathome: Salesian Oratory beats coronavirus

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

The corona virus pandemic forced the Salesian Oratory in Sliema to close its doors for members but the committee was determined to find  a way to stay in contact with its members. The Salesians who have been present in the Maltese Islands ever since 1903 were not ready to let the virus confine them to silence. As a result the Youth Centres Committee came up with the innovative idea of #oratoryathome.

What does #oratoryathome entail?

“When we realised that the oratory was going to be closed for a while, we decided that it would be a nice idea to come up with this hashtag to keep in contact with all our members as much as possible” Jeremy Sant Fournier, the committee’s president told Newsbook.com.mt.

“We came up with ideas that would be posted on our social media platforms day in day out, to keep them alive as much as possible” continued explaining Sant Fournier.

The variety of activities is quite big.

Weekly challenges, quizzes, Instagram takeovers, Sustainable Saturdays organised by the Environment team, sharing of fun facts or memories and a group call for all members are amongst the things being organised. Amongst the members who are still taking up an active role during #oratoryathome, many of them enjoy taking part in the weekly quiz, whilst others find it interesting to see the Instagrams takeovers of the different groups found within the oratory and others enjoy joining the group call on Fridays.

Prayer has an important part

Even though the oratory is a place to socialise and have fun, prayer is also an important part of their oratory life. This is something to be expected given that the Salesians are a religious order founded in the late nineteenth century by St. Don Bosco. The Italian priest had dedicated his life working for children and youth, establishing oratories and houses, and creating the Salesian Family, which today is a world-wide and vibrant organisation encompassing several entities.

During the pandemic, the Oratory, apart from keeping its members entertained, also makes sure that time for prayer and spirituality is still allocated. In fact, as part of #oratoryathome the organisers included a weekly rosary session. Also, since all churches are closed and one can’t attend Mass, all Salesian Houses have come together to provide their members with Sunday’s Gospel reflections.

Reunited again soon

“Members have been participating eagerly in our #oratoryathome and it is nice to see such an engagement. We always believe that oratory is not the building itself but the members, and this has proven to be true during this difficult time as closing our doors didn’t stop us from being together.” Jeremy Sant Fourier, President of the Committee told Newsbook.com.mt

Sant Fournier told Newsbook.com.mt that the adaptation from normal meeting to online platforms, was not easy and  that the committee had to work harder to keep contact with the members. He added that the initiatives taken were met with great support and so far the efforts of the committee have been successful. However the committee will keep working hard to stay in contact with its members until this pandemic is over hoping that all members are reunited again very soon.

This report was written by Christina Lauri and Christabel Borg

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