Interview with Josè Guillermo Bolivar, president of “Aguapaneleros de la Noche” (Colombia)

by | Nov 12, 2020 | News, Vincentian Family | 1 comment

Guillermo, how did this Foundation begin? Why does it have this name? Who chosen the name?

The Aguapaneleros de La Noche Foundation is a lay Vincentian initiative that came into existence twenty-three ago (in the city of Medellín, Colombia) through the efforts of José Guillermo Bolívar and Mary Luz Molina. We began helping a group of people (children, young people and adults) who were living on the street. We offered them hot aguapanela and something to eat (for most of these people, this was their only food).

The Foundation is called Aguapaneleros de la Noche because aguapanela is a traditional drink in our area. On cold nights the people drink this beverage, heated and it a nourishing food that is rich in calories.

This Foundation is composed of lay Vincentians: What are the unique elements of its charism and mission?

Our charism is to follow Jesus Christ, evangelizer of the poor and to do this following the example of our patron, Saint Vincent de Paul.

Concretizing the charism, we provide integral assistance to those persons living on the street and those persons who are most vulnerable and marginalized as a result of drug addiction, alcoholism, and other psychoactive substances. At the same time, we provide assistance and accompaniment to mothers and heads of family who lack resources. We are inspired by the social doctrine of the Church and grounded in the charism, spirituality and teaching of Vincent de Paul and Louise de Marillac. Through our service on behalf of those who are poor, we seek to transform the world.

Our mission is intended to develop actions that promote accompaniment and solidarity with those persons living on the street, as well as mothers and heads of households who lack resources. We provide these people with food and emotional support with the objective of bettering the quality of their life and enabling them to recover their human dignity through the love, respect and tolerance of all who participate in this initiative.

During this time of pandemic, what were/are the greatest needs that you have discovered? What sectors of society are suffering the most?

The greatest needs that we have encountered during this pandemic are physical hunger, homelessness and unemployment. The people who are suffering most are those individuals living on the street, mothers who are unemployed, and children who have no home.

In January 2020 you participated in the international meeting of the Vincentian Family … after almost a year, what do you treasure in your heart about this meeting?

At the international meeting of the Vincentian Family in Rome, where with God’s grace we were able to participate, we discovered a profound missionary spirituality. In addition, we were able to affirm the richness of the Vincentian charism and became even more convinced of its relevance for future generations. We felt that we were able to unite the efforts of the Vincentian Family in service on behalf of those men and women who are most poor.

We now feel as though we have a most important commitment because we understand that we are not alone in moving forward this great mission to which we have said “YES”!

As a group, does Aguapaneleros de la Noche, have a motto or a phrase that identifies and inspires the members?

The phrase or theme that inspires us are the words of the writer Eduard Galeano: many unnoticed people, in many parts of the world, doing little things can change the world.

Tags: Colombia

1 Comment

  1. Gilma Gutiérrez

    Es un buen hombre Guillermo, desde hace más de 30 años, tiene este apostolado y misión, un docente entregado a las obras de evangelización y trabajo para los habitantes de la calle, lleno de amor y solidaridad. Muchas bendiciones y felicitaciones a el y a su familia.