PARAGUAY, Ani Souberlich and Maria Fischer •
“It will be an honor and a real joy for us to share this moment with you…” A sentence from the invitation received last week by several collaborators and helpers of Mother of Tupãrenda House, the Social-educational Center of Social Re-integration and Personal Development, dedicated to young men who have gotten into conflict with the law and have therefore served some time in prison, and who have voluntarily decided to attend this comprehensive program, which started in August 2016 in the shadow of the Schoenstatt Shrine at Tuparenda, as a commitment and lasting fruit of the Year of Mercy.
Jointly signed by the Minister of Justice, Lawyer – Ever Martínez, the director of Mother of Tupãrenda House, Ana E. Souberlich, and the president of Fundaprova, Notary – Ana Maria Acha, this letter was an invitation to participate in the project’s first three participants’ graduation. “They are the first to complete the nine months term at Mother of Tuparenda House. Nine months in which they decided to give themselves an opportunity to improve, through nine months of struggles, perseverance, and stumbles, but most of all, in always getting up from the falls, they may have fallen a hundred times, but they got up a hundred and one times. They are the first of the many that we will witness,” commented Ricardo Acosta, lawyer, and advisor to the project.
On 18 May, the alliance between the Ministry of Justice and the Foundation for the Promotion of Values and Prevention of Violence (Fundaprova) was extended, through an addendum that allows the continuation of the programs of social re-integration for teens after being released from youth prison.
The Minister of Justice, Ever Martínez, affirmed that the resources destined from the portfolio he is charge of for this kind of programs of re-integration, “will never be only an expense, but rather an investment because they are for the training of youths. These are boys, who after their release sincerely seek re-integration into society as useful people for themselves, their families, and the country. The resources are limited, but the investment that produced results in a short time of its application will continue, they should be maintained,” minister Martínez pointed out.
He announced that the Ministry of Justice has plans to extend the program that helps the re-integration of youths to the cities of Encarnación and Ciudad del Este.
From where they come
Living witnesses to hope
Everyone was invited to share the joy of the first three’s graduation; these young men are living witnesses that the vicious cycle of poverty, abandonment, crime and insecurity can be broken. “The offenders in the Educational Center cost the state much more than those who participate in Programs of Social Re-integration,” Ana María Acha stressed. The authorization of programs such as those that the Ministry of Justice develops with Mother of Tupãrenda House, allows the released youths to integrate into their social surroundings, and they become examples of improvement. Beside rehabilitating, there is a contribution to citizen security, since studies show that for every youth that is re-integrated there are two less victims, “but when speaking with the youths, they tell how they had between five to six victims per day,” Ana María Acha explained.
Going out from the Shrine and serving others
A couple of days ago, I spoke with a young Muslim from Gambia, who is a refugee in Germany. He asked me: “What do you do in that little house?” He was referring to the Shrine. “We go there and then go out to transmit to people that they have dignity and value, and that life and the world can be changed.” – “Do you give them a sermon?” – “No, that does not make sense. It is done with deeds. For this, with this little house that we call a shrine, there is usually a training house and a house of social commitment. In Tupãrenda, in Paraguay, for example, there is a House of Social re-integration for youths in precarious situations that broke the law…” – the young man looked at me with amazement. “That is what your Jesus preached…”
That is what our Jesus preaches.
Weekly Mass in the Shrine
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The form for online donation is in Spanish but self-explaining.
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Account in Paraguay:
Fundaprova, Account: 102792992, Sudameris Bank SAECA, BIC BSUDPYPXXXX, RUC80079669-1
Account in Europe (transfers from SEPA are free)
Schönstatt-Patres International e. V., IBAN: DE91 4006 0265 0003 1616 26, BIC/SWIFT GENODEM1DKM, Intended Use: Fr. Pedro Kühlcke, Casa Madre de Tupãrenda
Original: Spanish, 31 May 2017. Translation: Celina M. Garza, San Antonio, TX USA. Edited: Melissa Peña-Janknegt, Elgin, TX USA