Following the death of its founder, Don Salvatore, the Legionaries of Christ were entrusted the management of the Villaggio dei Ragazzi Foundation, Italy’s “Boys Town” located in the
city of Maddaloni. Don Salvatore, who began the Foundation in
1947, had expressly desired this step as a way to
give continuity to his worthy institution. After several months of
analysis and technical assessments, the Legionaries of Christ officially began
overseeing it on April 4, 2001. April 4th of
this year marked the fourth anniversary of this event and
the conclusion of the Congregation’s first governing cycle in the
As president, I feel obliged to present a summary of
these four years of management, responding not so much to
a juridical duty, but to a responsibility I have to
history, which surely will record these years as the first
steps taken by the Villaggio and the Legionaries, in a
journey that is destined, God willing, to last for many
years and increasingly unite the two of them.
1. Certainly, special
attention must be given to the improvements made in the
field of care for needy children. Among the many initiatives
developed to serve the more than 500 children now living
in the Villaggio, we can highlight a few:
1.a. – We
have adapted our educational methodology in order to better serve
our students. For example, we have doubled the teaching staff
of teachers, adding 8 religious from the young Congregation of
Discalced Carmelites of the Most Holy Trinity. Certainly, this motherly
presence among the children and adolescents has greatly contributed toward
bettering the integral formation we strive to offer.
1.b. – We
cannot forget to mention the newly created psychology department, as
well as the renovations made to the medical-sanitary facilities and
the Villagio’s infirmary.
1.c. – Moreover, this past year, we drew
up plans for modernizing the boarding students’ residential areas by
building a residential unit with individual rooms (bed, closet, dresser,
and desk). We also received an important grant from the
2. – Also, the sector for assisting part-time residents
has taken an important step by opening a program offering
evening classes, from lunchtime until 6:00 pm, as an alternative
way to make up studies and engage in other activities,
such as sports, theater, and manual work. This is made
possible thanks to the help of volunteers, who, with admirable
attention and interest, have enabled us to develop a variety
of athletic, cultural, and formative activities.
Although we have not been
able to acquire a sporting facility – a goal we
have set for this next governing cycle– our young people
have been able to use nearby facilities (soccer fields, basketball
courts, swimming pools, etc.), thanks to two buses that were
made available to the foundation. In this way, our boys
have been able to enjoy a variety of sports.
Great efforts have been invested in the Foundation’s School, which
now serves almost 1,500 students. Important steps taken in this
3.a. – Within these four years, the total number
of students in our schools has increased from 950 to
1,450. This means that, while the number of resident students
has remained at 450, the number of outside students has
doubled, particularly in the high school.
3.b. – This notable increase,
which promises to continue in the future, has required that
we increase the number of classrooms by approximately 35%. What
is more, we have done renovations in almost all of
the previously existing classrooms, notably increasing their usefulness and general
3.c. – The current schools, (pre-school, elementary and middle schools,
schools of linguistics and industrial techniques, higher institute of translation
|Fr Salvatore D'Angelo, founder of Boys' Town|
and interpretation) have been created in accordance with legal standards
and thus, during this period our schools have received official
recognition from the Minister of Education as “Instituciones Paritarias”
a lot of effort, the ISIT has become SSML (Superior
School of Linguistic Mediation.)
3.d. – However, the updating procedure has
been directed not only toward achieving these goals, but also
toward answering the demands of our times, as we can
be seen in the following examples:
* The Liceo Lingüístico Europeo
has become a national point of reference for its courses
in Arabic. For the first time in Italy, it has
sent students to take the state examinations for entering university
in this language that is so important for the Mediterranean
* Thanks to an important contribution made by ENEL
within the last months, the Technical Industrial Institute will soon
have 4 new laboratories and 3 classrooms equipped with technology
valued at around 665,000 euros. This will mark a new
stage in its history and place it among the most
modern of its kind in Europe.
4. Also, several other new
schools have been created, including:
4.a. – The Center for Professional
Formation, accredited to Region Campania, which offers several courses to
students who have completed middle schools. The courses are normally
offered in the evenings.
4.b. – The Virtual Institute for Higher
Studies, the first academic videoconferencing center in south Italy (with
two virtual classrooms). It was solemnly inaugurated by Senator Giulio
Andreotti and President Bassolino. This year, more than 200 people
have passed through its various courses and masters programs, including
bioethics, psychology, ecology, woman’s studies, exorcism, religious sciences, and many
other academic activities offered thanks to the new top-of-the-line technology.
– Psychological Institute for overall human development, which thus far
has offered two three-year courses, an intensive summer course (offered
in collaboration with the Institute for the Psychological Sciences in
Washington), and other conventions and conferences.
4.d. – The State Elementary
School of Santo Domingo has been added to those already
belonging to the Foundation, thereby significantly increasing the Foundation’s presence
in the academic world of Maddaloni.
5. – In order to
increase the level of integral formation offered in our schools,
we have implemented a disciplinary and educative Rule. This has
already begun to give very positive results, and we hope
it will continue to assure favorable fruits for the future.
Moreover, we have made a continual effort for the students
(boys and girls in grade school and junior high) to
wear their school uniform.
6. – Particular attention should be given
to the promotion of culture. Current programs include:
6.a. – The
creation of the Tertio Millennio Cultural Center, dedicated to spreading
Christian culture and to promoting dialogue with contemporary culture. The
center, inaugurated by Cardinal Paul Poupard in November of 2001,
has carried out many activities of scope and transcendence, including:
Congress on the “Youth in the midst of esotericism and
new forms of religiosity.”
*The National Congress on Bioethics “The Human
Embryo: statute, experimentation, law.”
* “The Environment and Technological Progress,” held
in the Palacio de Caserta.
* National Congress concerning centers for
the assistance of minors and the vision for the future
of the same, held in May of 2004.
* Many other
conferences, including: “The Man of the Holy Shroud”, “International Terrorism”,
and “Pius XII and the Jews”.
*Presentations of books, such as
“Bioética para todos.”
6.b. – We have begun the
beautiful tradition of holding a celebration in honor of Don
Salvatore, in the week of May 30th, the day
of his death. The event includes a full variety of
cultural initiatives, sacred art shows, book presentations, theatrical works, concerts,
conferences, and more.
6.c. – Finally, perhaps it would good to
recall some of the moments that have firmly established the
Villaggio’s presence in the area.
* The revamping and increasing renown
of the Villaggio dei Ragazzi’s Historic Musical Band.
of “The Passion of the Christ” by Mel Gibson.
of the original, complete sculpture of “The Man of the
Holy Shroud” by Luigi E. Mattei, which received over 10,000
* Art show by Professor Franco Viola in San Leucio
* Closing of the “Maddaloni Ciudad Educativa” Initiative, with
hundreds of participants.
7. – In a youth establishment like ours,
sports and recreation should have an extremely important role. For
this reason, on top of the activities normally offered in
the Torre Pedrera summer camp, during these four years we
have continued previously existing programs, such as the “Padre La
Farina” tournament, among the children of the Villaggio
. Other sporting
events, such as skating and bicycling, have also been added.
Other newly-added activities include:
7.a. – Participation in the “National Friendship
Tournament”, held in Rome (2002), Bolonia (2003) and Florence (2004).
Hopefully this will become a highly anticipated tradition for our
7.b. – Creation of the “Friends of Peace” Provincial Indoor
Soccer Tournament organized in the province of Caserta by the
Legionaries of Christ. Nearly 150 adolescents participated in the first
tournament, held earlier this year.
7.c. – The “Jóvenes Audi” Tournament,
organized in memory of our little guest who tragically died
7.d. – “CorreMaddaloni”, a competition that has attracted a
considerable amount of participation and enthusiasm among the residents of
Maddaloni in past years. But that is not all. This
year, preparations are being made for the “CuartaCorreMaddaloni,” in which
thousands are expected to participate.
8. – One of Don Salvatore’s
greatest desires was that Christian living be promoted among the
youth. The dedication of the Legionaries of Christ to this
area is well known. Among the many initiatives we have
promoted, we can mention:
8.a. – Clubs for children and adolescents,
active throughout the province of Caserta. These clubs, including Club
Everest, Club Edelweiss, Club Mont Blanc, Club Olympus, Club Highlands,
and Club NET
, serve to teach human and religious
values to the youngest members of society and to prevent
idleness among the youth.
8.b. – Involving the youth in a
local volunteer program and starting new activities such as “Youth
Rosary for Peace”, “Angel for a Day” (which has had
more than 2,000 participants in its almost four years of
existence), “Youth for the Third Millennium”, “Christmas for Everyone”
(which since the year 2000 has gathered hundreds of kilos
of food stuffs for Caserta’s most needy families,) and many
9. – From an administrative point of view, we have
made great efforts to strengthen the professional management of each
sector. It suffices to mention the re-organization of the administrative
personnel, the modernization of the accounting system, the renewal of
the collective work contracts, the improvement of our insurance policies,
the general improvement of the buildings, the system of intercommunication,
the modernization of the audiovisual center, etc. Recently, the Villaggio
received an ISO 9001 certificate of quality from the German
certification organism TÜV CERT for the social services it provides
to minors and the elderly.
10. – During this time, relations
between the “Villagio dei Ragazzi” Foundation and various local entities
have been carefully handled, resulting in excellent relations on all
levels, beginning with the Municipal Government of Maddaloni.
10.a. – In
July of 2004, Maddaloni’s Town Council unanimously expressed its total
nearness, support, and appreciation for the Villaggio and for the
management of the Legionaries of Christ. In other words, the
contract between the Foundation and the state school system has
been renewed and amplified.
10.b. – The contract with the Province
of Caserta was been increased by 20% this past year.
– Also, the contract with the Region of Campania, renewed
at the end of the year 2000, will last until
2006, at which time the Foundation should take a step
toward acquiring a new status in the Statutes, in accordance
with the prescriptions set by new national and regional laws.
feel the need of thanking those who have so generously
supported the Foundation during these years, making it possible for
us to reach these objectives. There is much still to
be done, and we keep our eyes fixed on God’s
providence, who will guide Semper Altius (Always Higher) the Villaggio
that was born thanks to the dedication of Don Salvatore,
and which in 2007 will celebrate 60 years of service
to the youth and the most marginalized.