Posted On 2015-08-12 In Projects, Schoenstatt - Reaching out

“Everyone has always failed them, we cannot fail them”

PARAGUAY, Roberto D. González Brizuela, member of the “Mary’s Visitation” Prison Ministry •

It is impossible to describe everything I’ve experienced over the last two months at the Itauguá Educational Centre (CEI) with Fr. Pedro, the detainees, and all those who go every Saturday (and other days if possible). For me, from the first day that I set foot at the centre, I was deeply affected, deeply in the sense that in the most unexpected place, and I would never have imagined it, I would find happiness, I would go to confession, attend Mass, and more than that, find friends from whom I’ve learnt so much. Each visit brings with it a new lesson, particularly in Guarani, which I’d never spoken more than a few halting sentences.

The atmosphere at the Centre is different to what I would have thought: the joy of the boys when we come through the doors, not only because we bring a meal, games or music, but because their “brother” (as they call us) has come to share an afternoon, often stretching into the early evening, a brother with whom they can speak about anything and hug, some who has not come to judge them but to play with them, talk about life – God’s life and to teach them His word.

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On the Asunción coast before the meeting with Pope Francis

Each Saturday is a gift from the Blessed Mother

For me it’s very hard, but the source of my joy is to go to the CEI, because I can see and hear the stories from their mouths and realize how our legal system, where I work, does not respond as it should to the needs of these boys, who often should not be there, and if they are, their situation is already precarious and being there doesn’t help them in the slightest.

Every Saturday is a gift from the Blessed Mother, and thanks to her we are there every week. It has given me the opportunity to know these wonderful people, who I can today call friends. Some of them are already my god children! But the gifts don’t stop flowing in this place: we were able to go with some of them to the meeting on the coastline with the Holy Father! To watch Orlando reading the Gospel, and that he had the opportunity to speak with His Holiness. It was priceless.”

“Everyone has always failed them, we cannot fail them.”


 Photo: Lunch on Saturdays (Photo: Belinda Gómeze)


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Original: Spanish; Translation: Sarah-Leah Pimentel, South Africa

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