CHILE, Fr. Francisco Pereira, spiritual director of Maria Ayuda /mf •
Every April 12th, Maria Ayuda celebrates its anniversary with a thanksgiving Mass open to the whole community. In the Eucharist, boys and girls, representing their houses, bring their offerings, symbols of the results of the past year, their achievements and difficulties, as well as those of the different instances of the institution.—
This anniversary, which fell on the day of the Lord’s Resurrection, caught us in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic and, therefore, with restrictions on social and physical contact because of the quarantine ordered by the authorities, it was necessary to think of an internal celebration in each program, where the teams could carry out a liturgy and a community meeting with their children and teenagers.
The serious health crisis that the world and our country are experiencing, in addition to the economic consequences that we are already beginning to face, reminds us that Maria Ayuda was born in the midst of the great social and economic crisis of the eighties, when many little girls went out on the streets of the capital city to look for ways to bring some money home. It was a time of great social drama, the result of the enormous unemployment that was being experienced. And if we were born in times of great difficulty and knew how to navigate in the storm of that time, we would also know how to steer the boat towards calmer waters, because we never doubted that the one holding the helm was Mary, victorious in every step we took with her.
It will be a difficult year; there is no doubt about it. We will not be able to hold the historical annual fundraising, and perhaps all the events to raise money will have to be postponed or reconsidered. The headquarters teams, forced to telework, have organized themselves in the best possible way to support social programs throughout Chile; also they bring out the best to carry out the mission entrusted to them.
Therefore, today we want to appeal even more to your generosity, dear benefactors, partners and collaborators, so that you continue to support this work founded 37 years ago by Fr. Hernan Alessandri, who in the midst of this new challenge wants to continue to shelter hundreds of vulnerable children and teenagers throughout Chile.
May God bless you and Mary protect you during this time.
Mary gives help to the Christ who suffers today
On Maria Ayuda’s page we can read:
We are living the biggest health crisis we can remember. The whole world is affected, our country too, and therefore our dear Maria Ayuda is also affected. Our institution cannot ignore that we are taking care of children and teenagers with serious violations, and therefore they will be our first concern. Yes, them, not us.
That is the attitude we have had and the one we must have, using all the methods of protection and in this way continue to accompany our children. We belong to a group of people and collaborators who cannot give up, just like health professionals.
Without a doubt, difficult times are coming. This situation will bring economic consequences that will affect companies and the job market. There are companies that will reduce the number of their workers, others that will lower their salaries in solidarity. We depend to a great extent on the generosity of people and if they stop contributing it will undoubtedly have consequences for Maria Ayuda.
In spite of everything, we cannot leave our jobs and we will continue with the disposition that characterizes us, making each one of us an effort with the maximum degree of professionalism, which today is essential to overcome the difficulties that await us, with the hope placed on the best of each one and on God and the Blessed Mother whom in history have always been victorious over everything that threatens humanity. Hearts up, the hour of love has arrived.
Editor’s comment: Let’s not get bogged down in the “we must…”
Maria Ayuda, as well as other Schoenstatt social works in countries such as Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil, are doing everything possible to not abandon the children and youth entrusted to them in spite of the restrictions of the global health crisis.
Let us not wait for a global plan elaborated by some central crisis entity. We shall not wait for the call from above. Let us not wait for perfect help whose perfection prevents us from ever doing anything.
Let us not remain in the “we should”, or in the so repeated, “someone else” who will do something.
Everyone can go out in solidarity, creativity and generosity to give a hand to Maria Ayuda. Now, Before it is too late.
With generous donations and with the creativity of raising funds among friends, businessmen, other Schoenstatters…
As I heard one of these days in a homily:
“You can crown the Virgin over and over again. But we can only remove the crown if we do not act out of love in solidarity with those who suffer.
Official Website: www.mariaayuda.cl
Original: Spanish, 21.04.2020.Translated by: María Aragón, Monterrey, México