ELIS: Forty Years Spent Forming Italian Youth

The ELIS Center offers courses in electronics, mechanics, multimedia technology, watch-making, telecommunications, logistics and hospitality services, among others. Inaugurated by Pope Paul VI on November 21, 1965, it is located in the Tiburtino-Callatino area, then one of the poorest in Rome.

ELIS (Education, Labor, Instruction, Sports) covers an area of ten acres. It includes a residence for 120 students, class rooms and laboratories, a school of hospitality services and a sports school with more than 400 members. In addition, its library and the parish of San Giovanni Battista al Collatino, attached to ELIS, are important neighborhood reference points. With the assistance of a non-governmental organization, it carries out development projects in China, Vietnam, the Philippines and some countries in Latin America.

ELIS has helped educate more than 10,000 students. Currently, 97% of the young men who complete their studies find work in less than a year. The most recent developments at ELIS include a workshop aimed at creating new businesses and a program that prepares instructors for theCisco Academy Training Center. Some 350 schools send their teachers to ELIS to take courses to improve their professional skills. In ELIS, students receive a human and Christian formation aimed at making their profession a service to others.

On the occasion of ELIS’s 40th anniversary, on November 20th, feast of Christ the King, Bishop Javier Echevarría celebrated the Eucharist there for more than 3,000 people, including students, alumni, teachers and staff.

Citing St. Josemaría, Bishop Echevarría said: “In a center such as this, young people learn the true value of work, because through work a Christian can attain sanctity.” At another point, he recalling the words that Paul VI spoke on the day of its inauguration: “in ELIS everything is Opus Dei. Here everything is God’s work.”

After the ceremony, the Prelate visited the facilities. In the vestibule of the school he saw the famous Pincio clock, a landmark in one of Rome’s most frequented tourist areas, which is being repaired by the watch-making students. The Prelate received a cross made by students from the gold- and silver-smith program and a DVD prepared by future professionals in multi-media technology. He also visited the SAFI school of hospitality services, one of the ELIS programs. At the end of the morning, in one of the facilities in the sports complex, he met with the students and staff of ELIS and with families from all over Rome. Almost 6,000 people took part in this catechetical get-together.

Romana, n. 41, July-December 2005, p. 320.

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