Sierra Leone’s New Church Building a Response to Growing Number of Parishioners: Salesians

Some Christians during Mass at the newly constructed St. Augustine's Parish in Sierra Leone’s Freetown Archdiocese.
Credit: Facebook Page St. Augustine's Parish Freetown.

A new church under construction at the Parish dedicated to St. Augustine in Sierra Leone’s Freetown Archdiocese is a response to the growing number of parishioners, the leadership of the Salesian Missions, the U.S.-based development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco (SDB) has said.

“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,” the leadership of the Catholic agency, which is funding the project, says in a report shared with ACI Africa, Thursday, January 7.

With the current structure hosting an estimated 700 members of the surrounding Dworzark Catholic community, the new building is expected to accommodate more faithful as well as an estimated 150 youths who participate in activities at Don Bosco Youth Center from Monday to Saturday at the Parish.

The new church building is also expected to serve the pupils of St. Augustine’s Pre-School and St. Augustine’s Primary School, learning institutions managed by the Parish.

Noting that the Parish “is one of the poorest parishes in the Archdiocese of Freetown,” the leadership of the New York-based agency is grateful to the parishioners who are “making personal efforts to bring the building to completion.”

“The church is still in need of funding to complete the last phase of the project, which includes windows, doors, flooring, painting, plumbing and electrical work. Salesian Missions is seeking donor funding to help finish this project,” Salesian Missions officials add in the January 7 report.

As the agency’s leadership awaits more funding to finish the church, the Director, Fr. Gus Baek has appreciated those who have partnered with SDB members in the Parish to facilitate the construction.

“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,” Fr. Baek has been quoted as saying in the report shared with ACI Africa.

Members of SDB have been serving in the West African nation since 2001 when they began working to rehabilitate former child soldiers through their organization, Don Bosco Fambul. 

Located in the Archdiocese of Freetown, Don Bosco Fambul “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,” the leadership of Salesian Missions adds in the January 7 report.

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ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.

Father Don Bosco Onyalla
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