Gathered together as a Confraternity, we spoke about the different ways in which we must accept the commitment to proclaim Good News and to do that from the perspective of the reality of abandonment, social exclusion and/or the peripheries. Indeed, that is the perspective from which we live our Vincentian Identity.
We want to manifest our solidarity and love to Sister Luz Elena, DC, who from Cali (Colombia) shared with us the experience of Ms. Paula, Venezuelan, single mother with five children, living in a foreign land (Colombia) without the necessary resources to survive, met the Daughters of Charity who opened to her their hearts and life. We cannot remain idle when we listen to Paula say that the Daughters of Charity are true angels that the Lord had placed in her path and who gave her new life. Paula’s words were etched in our being when she told us that with the help that the Daughters have provided, she is not able to sell some food on the street which will enable her to have an income that will, in turn, enable her to live a better life: I want to struggle in order to provide my children with a more stable life. I want to be able to build a little house so that my children can be happy!
How many similarities between Paula and each one of us, members of this Confraternity! Again, we are aware that we are called to give witness to the same Vincentian resilience and commitment. Saint Vincent reminds us that it is among people like Paula, who live in the midst of such desperate realities, that TRUE RELIGION is found.
That same can be said about entire peoples, and even countries, when we realize what is happening on the island of Crawfish Rock, Roatan, in the Guapinol community, and in the area of San Pedro, in the Republic of Honduras. How much joy we have experienced when reading the statements of the Dioceses of Juticalpa, Trujillo and La Ceiba (all in Honduras), in which the Church takes the side of the impoverished and speaks out against the perverse desires of the oppressive powers that continue to destroy the dreams of families by knowingly and maliciously expropriating their lands. We also want to echo the voice of Paula and our Honduran Bishops, denouncing this situation and so we say to Paula and to the people in Honduras: “You are not alone … We are all brother and sisters” (Cfr. Pope Francis, Fratelli tutti, #128).
Unfortunately, we have not found a similar response in other regions, where many Vincentians continue to experience a reality of similar injustice. We refer to Petén, Guatemala, where transnational corporations, foreign and national capital, continue to do their thing, worshiping big capital (Project 4 Balam) while crucifying impoverished populations. Our brothers and sisters in Petén continue to die, without lodging or food, victims of forced evictions by the government, as in the case of more than 400 people evicted some three years ago from Laguna Larga. They continue to die/survive on the border between Mexico and Guatemala: homeless, without food, without health care, without education: they are still waiting for the presence and accompaniment of the Catholic Church and the Vincentian Family… assuming the lot of the poor, as Saint Vincent would say.
The cry of all these peoples reaches the heart of God and finds echo with a cry of solidarity from the members of our Confraternity. Our Common Home continues to cry out and demand justice! Our lands continue to be destroyed through the planting of single crops, our waters continue to be contaminated by the great emporiums of the god of money: like what happens along the Motagua river, which continues to deposit large amounts of plastic on Omoa Beach in Honduras. Given the tons of garbage that arrive daily from various cities and from corporations in Guatemala to the Honduran coasts, we continue to ask ourselves: What are the plans of the government and transnational corporations in this area? How is it possible that the soil and the safety of our people continue to be threatened? How can we avoid migration, when at the same time our natural habitat is being destroyed?
What does God say about this reality? We cannot be mere spectators! We cannot remain indifferent to the pain of our people. To be Vincentian is make this reality our burden and our suffering (CCD:III:492). Therefore, as members of this Confraternity, we want to reaffirm our commitment to be at the side of our sisters and brothers whose dignity has been wounded and who have been deprived of everything. This is the reality that identifies us and that impels us to proclaim the truth of our history and to cry out for justice for our Common Home!
If you wish to join this Vincentian Confraternity on the Frontier/Diaspora in order to live more closely to those who have been excluded from our society and yet who are nevertheless our lords and masters … if you want to celebrate the Good News, then you can contact our coordinator, Victor López at firstname.lastname@example.org