ARGENTINA, Juan Barbosa •
An extra prayer of “the 6:30 p.m. rosary” that the Madrugadores have been meditating daily since March 31st, was prayed by the Bishop Gabriel Mestre of Mar del Plata, with inmates of the Batán Penitentiary Unit of that city. Sister Helena, who is in charge of the prison ministry, was the link and after a dedicated work of following up and organizing, more than 25 Madrugadores joined in this moment of prayer that, according to them, was glorious!—
Searching for destinations, finding realities
The fantastic cohesion that the praying people find at that moment, waited for all day every day, led them to think about their destiny as a “virtual community”, because they refuse to end the daily prayer and need a projection. One of them began to plan and execute a prayer with the prisoners, as a way of making flesh the “I was in prison and you visited me”.
With singular success he began that path and, without wanting to, he woke up another one who also began it in Mar del Plata. “I wrote to our bishop offering a weekly prayer with the inmates of Batán and not only did he respond with his total approval, but he also told me that he would gladly join the launch”. Bishop Gabriel Mestre had celebrated a Mass at the national encounter that the Madrugadores had in 2019 in Mar del Plata and he strongly identified with this stream of life, which already has 30 years of history since its founding in Chile and 18 in Argentina.
Anxiety, projection and action!
Daily messages from Ricardo reached the Rosary group with each new thing that happened. With meticulous dedication he advanced the project and Sister Helena, who is in charge of the pastoral, gave all her support and spread the word within so that many would know about this possibility that was being offered: the prayer of the holy rosary with the Bishop and a group of Madrugadores from Argentina (La Rioja, Tucumán, several dioceses of Buenos Aires, Mendoza, Entre Rios, CABA and Córdoba), Costa Rica and Mexico.
The day and the hour were set, and since two weeks before, this intention took place in the daily rosary, certain that Mary would allow them to reach the inmates to unite themselves in prayer, since it is not their task to evaluate their situation, but to draw them closer to Jesus Christ in a moment of prayer.
A reality that deeply touched each one of us
The prayer, extremely orderly and neat, was very heartfelt and the climate of respect that was experienced in that videoconference session was, according to one of the speakers, sublime. Bishop Mestre welcomed, everyone who participated with much attention and dedication from their “small portion of the screen” approaching Jesus Christ. His blessing began the long awaited prayer, which was also joined by other priests and pastoral agents. The 37 “screens”, which were surpassed b the participants, offered a truly welcoming visual impact. Mary was there!
The end was approaching and no one wanted it to come, and although “everything has an end, everything ends”, as an old song says, it will continue!
When they proposed to “the boys” a weekly prayer of the holy rosary, they raised their hands with signs of joy and approval, and a spontaneous shout emerged and their response: “Long live Mary! Long live!”
The Madrugadores will then have a weekly prayer with this penitentiary unit to which they hope to add others in the short term and they are working very hard for this.
I was in prison and you visited me!
Original: Spanish 2020-06-18. Translated by María Aragón, Monterrey, México