PARAGUAY, Ani Souberlich and Maria Fischer •
What remains from the Year of Mercy? Pope Francis answered this question in part in his Letter “Misericordia et Misera.” Several moments that made it easier to find God’s forgiveness, remain – Amoris Laetitia remains, which is only understood by reading it in terms of mercy, and the creativity in responding to the sorrows and needs of the human being in the works of mercy remains.
What remains from the Year of Mercy? A lot. Works of mercy, which remain forever. Scores of “Houses of solidarity” remain. Moreover this great House of Solidarity that is the Mother of Tupãrendá House remains. It is a fruit of the Year of Mercy, inaugurated in that year as a work of mercy in favor of juvenile offenders, and located in the shadow of the Shrine of Tupãrendá.
A house for us
Ani Souberlich, (yes, the initiator of the 100 Houses of solidarity) their Director, writes this for the New Year on behalf of the youths who find their second (or their first) chance there:
“For all of us, 2016 was the Year of the Infinite Mercy of the Father’s love. His loved opened the doors of the Mother of Tupãrendá House, where we found a home, a place where we are treated with respect and affection, where we discovered all the inner richness that we possess, and where we learned to love and to value ourselves. At Mother of Tupãrendá House, we met wonderful people who give their time to sing, to teach us that in God’s eyes everyone is the same that social classes do not exist, that we are valuable not for what we possess but for the kindness and nobility we carry in our hearts. Thanks to everyone who, day by day, believes in our change and that, our greatness is in the many times that we get up after a fall…Thanks you for accompanying us with your prayer! We wish you a 2017 full of the Father’s kindness and mercy!”
Beginning the year with Mass in the Shrine
On 3 January, the Most Holy Name of Jesus’ Feast Day, Fr. Pedro Kühlcke celebrated the Holy Mass at Tupãrendá Shrine with the House of Tupãrendá (CMT) team and the youths, who after leaving jail, are learning to work in the bakery or the garden. Even more: they learn how to live their lives in freedom, aware of their dignity, experiencing that they are loved and valued as they are. Many of them enthusiastically participated in the Mass at the Shrine as altar servers.
They are small gestures that are a “first time in their life” for many of them. A delicious Christmas meal with ice cream, soccer shoes, t-shirts and white shoes for their work in the bakery, a time to sing together, a minute in the House Home Shrine or in the Blessed Mother’s wayside shrine to celebrate a birthday with a cake.
This week two clients and Lucía, a volunteer, who day by day, collaborates with Mother of Tupãrendá House, celebrated their birthdays. It is always a joy to the soul when we see smiles on our youths’ faces. Smiles that become part of their lives as they spend more time at CMT… that smile of someone who feels accepted, loved and forgiven, whatever the past weight has been on their shoulders. A smile of someone who feels expected every morning with a breakfast prepared and the very simple words “Good morning! How are you? Did you rest well? Come to breakfast, serve yourself some more if you want, there is enough for everyone”…these very simple words can change a life.
The first graduate
The first certificate presented to the first graduate of the CMT program reads: “For his excellent demonstration of teamwork, for his dedication and perseverance…” In his simplicity and plainness, he showed us that he made a mistake, but that does not make him a bad person. Instead it shows that he wanted to improve and go forward with honesty. He always expressed the desire to work in the garden because he liked it and he knew this was his vocation. He demonstrated it with his responsibility in doing things well and to the end. For this reason, very soon he was an example for other CMT youths and the right hand for the Agricultural Engineer, Rodolfo Villasboa, his instructor. If the garden was what he liked, he knew that he also had to go through training in the bakery. Although it was not his strength, he was outstanding there also in his dedication and responsibility. Luis Alberto Méndez, the bakery instructor, said he was prepared to work in this trade.
This youth leaves the House with the lesson that “Where there is a will, there is a way.” Let us stop thinking that the youths who make mistakes are lost, instead, “believe that it possible to change, let’s extend a hand that they need.” To those who are reading this article, we ask that you help us with this. Help us by sponsoring a teen with your contribution; help us by praying for them. We know that prayer moves mountains and ultimately it is the MTA who gives the grace and strength to begin each day anew. Thank you for your contribution and prayer!
Surely, everyone wants to know what his new job will be: Bakery or Garden? His vocation is the garden and this young graduate will be very happy with it.
All these youths take their training very seriously; they learn in practicum and in theory. A few days before Christmas, in the middle of producing the sweet bread, the master baker became ill, the boys dared to make the bread, and it was delicious…
There is great hope that his future will be spectacular, by the Mother of Tupãrendá’s hand, the Mother of them all.
Account in Paraguay:
Sudameris Bank SAECA, BIC BSUDPYPXXXX
Account in Europe
Schönstatt-Patres International e. V.
IBAN DE91 4006 0265 0003 1616 26
Intended use: P. Pedro Kühlcke, Casa Madre de Tupãrendá
Original: Spanish. Translation: Celina M. Garza, San Antonio, Tx USA. Edited: Melissa Peña-Janknegt, Elgin, TX USA