Salesian Agency Facilitates Church Construction in Nigeria, Music Production in Zambia

Roof of the newly-constructed St. John Bosco Catholic Church, in Nigeria’s Catholic Diocese of Ondo that has been funded by Salesian Missions.

The leadership of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Religious Institute of the Salesians of Don Bosco (SDB), has facilitated the construction of a church in Nigeria and the production of music in Zambia.

In a report shared with ACI Africa Tuesday, February 23, the leadership of the New York-based agency has provided funds for the roofing of the new St. John Bosco Catholic Church in Nigeria’s Catholic Diocese of Ondo.

“The new church has been in construction for the last three years and was needed because the previous church was no longer able to accommodate the number of people showing up for Catholic Mass,” Salesian Missions officials say.

The parishioners fundraised for the three years to see the church get to the roofing level, but their efforts were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and they were no longer able to support the construction, officials of the Salesian agency note in their report.

“The church structure is now fully built,” they say and add that SDB members in Ondo “are still seeking additional funding to finalize the internal workings of the church.”


“We are happy to have helped with the roofing for this new church project,” the Director of Salesian Missions, Fr. Gus Baek has been quoted as saying in the February 23 report.

Fr. Baek adds, “It’s important for the community that parishioners are able to attend church services and having a bigger church was a more realistic option than holding multiple services to accommodate the growing number of people coming to the Parish.”

In another partnership in Africa, the leadership of Salesian Missions has facilitated the production of a song by 120 youths in the Southern African nation of Zambia.

Funded by Salesian Missions through a grant by the U.S. Embassy in Zambia, the song was produced by youths who benefitted from “Amplifying the Arts” project, a Salesians talent identification initiative that ended in November 2020.

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The project “provided an opportunity for cultural exchange through arts programming,” Salesian officials say in a separate Tuesday, February 23 report shared with ACI Africa.

They add, “The project empowered vulnerable youth to tell their stories through American-inspired creative expression and to celebrate the diversity and unity of the human experience.”

An initiative of the Bosco Youth Reach Out, the development office of Salesians in ZMB Province (Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi and Namibia), youths from challenging backgrounds and who were vulnerable to at-risk behaviors were encouraged to express their stories through music, spoken word and creative writing, officials of the SDB development agency say.

Thanks to the project, the youths from the Archdiocese of Lusaka were able to transcribe “their stories into songs, artwork and poems to promote their voices through visual expression to a wider audience,” they add.

In the report, Salesian Missions officials further say that the youths aged 15-25 were “also introduced to the basic principles and techniques of mindfulness and physical expression through yoga and other forms of mindful movement techniques that teach relaxation and discipline, as well as encourage a deeper sense of self-awareness as a means of encouraging self-expression and stress management.”


Due to mentorship offered during the “Amplifying the Arts” project, the mentors and facilitators “reported changing mindsets throughout the program” characterized by a drastic reduction of fights and bullying among the children, the report indicates.

Months after the project ended, the production studio created for the initiative remains, with plans underway for mentors to continue using it with some of the participants.

“We are pleased that Bosco Youth Reach Out is continuing with this work after the project has ended,” Fr. Baek has been quoted as saying, adding, “The youth who took part in the project were afforded new opportunities that broadened their perspective through learning new cultural practices.”

The Director of Salesian Missions further says that the beneficiaries “also had the chance to improve their skills in creative and expressive art and mindfulness.”