Family life has changed in the 21st century. One in three families in Kentucky are single parent households, one in four children live below the federal poverty line. People are more stressed, anxious, and unhappy than ever. However, despite the ever present struggles in life, even in a place like Anderson County in the heart of the Bible belt, nearly 2/3 of people have no involvement in a religious community whatsoever. For many, the world is becoming a darker place. But, for most, the light of Christ is distant and unknown.
This is the problem that the Don Bosco Center was created to address. Many young families in our community have never known the profound love of Jesus Christ and have dismissed the good news of the gospel as being irrelevant to their lives. It is our goal, therefore, to help families in ways that are genuine and meaningful for the struggles of modern life, walking alongside them as living witnesses to the grace of God.
The Don Bosco Center is a ministry of St. Lawrence Roman Catholic Church, partnered with Lawrenceburg United Methodist Church, founded in order to better connect with the families of Lawrenceburg and Anderson County. The mission of The Don Bosco Center is to help young people and their families discover their beloved identity as children of God, welcoming all families into a supportive community, and seeking ways to strengthen the family unit.
The Don Bosco Center
Created in March 2020, The Don Bosco Center seeks to give real, practical help to the families of Lawrenceburg and Anderson County. Founded as an extension of St. Lawrence Catholic Church, the members of that congregation began to feel more and more troubled by the difficulty many families are experiencing in modern life. The fact of the matter is that family life looks different than it used to and that often means that the struggles of a family are different than they used to be. When the extreme burden of running a single parent household has become common, when a significant number of people do not live anywhere near extended family and therefore lack the social support that comes with that, or when families are so busy they can’t remember the last time they all sat down to eat dinner together, its clear that its time to find new, creative ways to serve both parents and children and strengthen the family unit.
And so The Don Bosco Center was created to begin this work of serving families. We seek to create a community of mutual support where all members of the household can thrive, built upon the foundation of Jesus Christ. Our hope is that no one should have to feel alone as we face the real needs of the future together.
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“Young people should not only be loved, but should also know that they are loved.” -Don Giovanni Bosco
Don Giovanni Bosco was an Italian priest at the height of the industrial revolution. At a time when radical changes in technology resulted in radical changes in society, he was troubled when he looked around him and saw how many youth were being left behind in this new, modernized world that was emerging. He saw droves of children from working families, whose parents were at work all day, leaving them nothing to do but wander the streets and get into trouble. He knew that he could no longer sit by and let these young people fail to thrive. And so he started what he called an oratory, a house of prayer, where he not only instructed these youth in the Christian religion, but also cared for their physical and emotional needs, and arranged for them to be taught the practical skills they would need to take their place in the industrialized world.
It is in the spirit of Don Bosco that we continue his work today. We too live in a time where radical changes in technology have meant a radical change in society as a whole. And we too live in a time where some families and their children are being left behind. And so, by the grace of God, we pray that we can continue the work that Don Bosco started over a century ago in our own community by teaching the Christian faith, caring for people’s needs, and teaching the skills needed to keep up with a constantly changing world.