The terrible economic, political and social situation in Venezuela surprises no one. During the past year the Vincentian Family has attempted to alleviate this situation in an affective and effective manner. There are many examples of this throughout the world, but MISEVI wants to share with everyone what became a shared mission. Everything began with the generous act of a young Vincentian in Valladolid who donated some funds to a person who was in need and as a result, became more aware of the situation in Venezuela through the witness of a 12 year old child who, for three months, had lived with a member of MISEVI from that country. This child made a decision to move from “wishing” to action: he decided to send his savings to Venezuela in order to help those individuals who were in need.
That decision marked the beginning of an incredible campaign that involved members of all the different branches of the Vincentian Family: the Daughters of Charity, members of the Congregation of the Mission, the Association of the Miraculous Medal, the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, the International Association of Charity, the Vincentian Marian Youth, MISEVI. Together, in record time, they were able to gather together 260 kilos of personal hygiene items, food and cleaning material. Then, like the miracle of the multiplication of the leaves and the fish, the amount of items that were to be sent to Venezuela seemed to multiply. People came forward to pack all these items into boxes that were to be sent to Venezuela.
Little by little these boxes arrived in Venezuela and were received by courageous missionaries who during the month of August had moved to the community of Caspito, in the parish of Saint Anne in Sanare where they continued to develop the missionary plan of MISEVI. The community of Caspito is a mountainous region, far removed from the main town and lacks public transportation. Furthermore, the people of this community do not enjoy the full time services of a priest or a woman of a religious community. In light of those realities, for the past four years MISEVI Venezuela has adhered to a plan in which during the Easter season and the month of August the missionaries minister in this area where the inhabitants, despite the lack of many material resources, are joyful and hopeful.
MISEVI Venezuela ministers in the style of missions ad gentes and has been able to fulfill its mission thanks to the donations that have been received from the members of the Vincentian Family in Spain … donations that have helped and protected the members of MISEVI. In fact, these donations have enabled the missionaries to develop multiple activities with children, adolescents and adults.
The community of Caspito has been blessed with the presence of the light of Christ. This is a very extensive community and travel throughout the four primary areas of this community is done on foot. This may sound exhausting, but prayer and missionary joy make this a way of life or, rather, a life option. The wonder of God’s creation in revealed in this community in the fresh green fertile fields. Its residents, who are mostly farmers, feel the need to hear the Gospel, and now, after four years of developing this missionary project, MISEVI Venezuela is beginning to reap the fruits of this harvest. FAMVIN has made Caspito a lively, hope-filled community in which adults want to be celebrants of the Word and a group of young people, who have known and experienced the Vincentian charism, want to be members of the Vincentian Marian Youth and MISEVI.
The members of MISEVI of Venezuela, through the collaborative project with FAMVIN in Spain, have been filled with energy as they have healed people of physical diseases and ailments, … but above all, they have promoted gospel centered social action as they reach out to people living on the peripheries. Following the words of Pope Francis, FAMVIN has once again collaborated with the missionaries as they go out and make disciples of Christ.
Translated: Charles T. Plock, CM
Eastern Province, USA