PARAGUAY, Ani Souberlich •
For a long time, we have wished that more people in Paraguay would get to know our house and come into contact with the young people who participate in our program and tell us about their daily lives. This exchange, this meeting of hearts, through which many more people can share and support this great work of mercy, because it is very different to only hear about something than to actually be there, and as our Father Joseph Kentenich said, “You only love what you know.” —
Thus, Fundaprova, the legal sponsor of Casa Madre de Tupãrenda (CMT), came up with the idea of organizing an asado (barbecue) as a benefit dinner to help defray the costs of this social reintegration program for young people leaving the Educational Center for Juvenile Offenders (i.e., prison). The idea was quickly accepted and new collaborators were recruited to organize the event. As the days passed, enthusiasm grew for this event, which could become a family reunion tradition. Employees donated salads, grilled meats, manioc and the obligatory sopa paraguaya, which reduced the cost of the entire organization.
Everyone wanted to participate
Finally came the long-awaited Sunday, July 23, a bright day in which we had spring-like weather despite the winter. The meeting place was of course Casa Madre de Tupãrenda, starting at 7:30 a.m. the colorful banners were hung, the tables were set with their white and green tablecloths, and thus the place was festively decorated. The work teams did their task with dedication, paying attention to every detail. The young people who participated in the program made sure that everything was ready on time.
The “Brave Men” came from Ciudad del Este, Father Pedro from the cell phone
Since 9:00 a.m., the smell of barbecue was in the air, slowly grilled over the fire by the group of the “Brave Men of the Blessed Mother” – men who meet once a week to pray the rosary – who had come from Ciudad del Este to help. At 11:30 a.m., the first guests arrived, filling the house with exuberant joy.
As always, Father Pedro Kühlcke was present via video telephony despite the distance and was able to greet all the guests table by table.
The “Missionary Motorcyclists” were also present; it was a gathering of people in solidarity, missionary and committed to the Blessed Mother and Casa Madre de Tupãrenda.
The testimony of the graduates
Fr. Oscar Saldivar, rector of the Shrine of Tupãrenda , blessed the table with a prayer, then the youths who are currently participating in the program introduced themselves and shared their experiences and the importance of Casa Madre de Tupãrenda in their lives. Graduates of the program from previous years also expressed their gratitude to everyone present and to those from afar who had been involved in changing their lives in one way or another. They asked that Casa Madre de Tupãrenda continue to offer this opportunity to so many young people who have nowhere to go after leaving the juvenile detention center, to receive professional training and find dignified and legal work. Santi Cacavelos and other young people accompanied the celebration with beautiful songs.
Solidarity in the family
There is so much to tell, but above all it is a day full of sunshine and joy, where you could feel that the family is great and in solidarity, that it will always be there to continue supporting this great work of mercy. Trusting that even in the most difficult times we can look to heaven in faith and hope and tell the Blessed Mother: “We will not perish”, the Triumph Chariot will continue on its way, taking with it all the youths who desire a chance to change their lives; and often it will be the very first chance for them to leave behind the old, criminal, and disoriented person in order to give life to the new person.
THANK YOU to all those who were able to be present at this first edition, to all those who in one way or another supported this event, which was a success; we also invite you to repeat it and turn it into a tradition of Casa Madre de Tupãrenda.
We also want to thank all the benefactors of Casa Madre de Tupãrenda, in Paraguay and in the world, without you and the Blessed Mother’s support, none of this would be possible. Thank you!
Collaboration: Roberto M. Gonzales @schoenstatt.org
Original: Spanish. Translation: Maria Fischer @schoenstatt.org