PARAGUAY, Cristy Santa Cruz •
Another Saturday of prison ministry. Each Saturday is unlike another, but for me, this Saturday was particularly strange. We were told there were two jailbreaks during the week on different days. Everyone who visits each Saturday knows what that means: many missing faces, many transfers, and many changes. —
It was impossible for us not to feel like we were left hanging— worried about who will not show up, who is there, who left. The care we give all the boys is immense; it doesn’t matter what they did. We are not there to judge them; we are there to give them hope. And today, we came with hope and arrived to… many missing faces, many changes.
We are the only visitors for many of them
At the end of our day, I told the team our engine is love, our fuel is our Covenant with Mary. Certainly we still feel depressed a lot of the time! The boys ignore us, they are restless, but nothing stops us. Every Saturday as their only visitors, we have the opportunity to let them know we are shoulders for them to lean on, we are guiding hands for them— this is what matters most.
This difficult Saturday was not just another Saturday of volunteer work; it was a day to double our efforts in prayer and our steadfast promise to be with Itauguá’s young people.
An afternoon of hugs
A week later, just a day after his vacation started, Father Pedro was already back with us spending time at the prison for minors. We all had missed him. We all needed his hugs, his words, and his advice. But the boys missed him more than anyone — they are always the priority! Today the afternoon was full of hugs, reunions, singing, and joy. Today was like every Saturday, a different Saturday… and a great Saturday!
Original: Spanish. 16 April 2019. Translation: Ann Bronk, Wisconsin, USA. Edited: Melissa Peña-Janknegt, Elgin, TX USA