ARGENTINA, Fr. Juan Molina •
For the third consecutive year, young university students of the Schoenstatt Men’s Youth from different parts of the country gathered to experience another edition of the volunteering and mission “Galilea” in Florencio Varela. For ten days they experienced the encounter with Jesus in prayer, community and especially in service to the most excluded. Thus, distributed in different groups, they visited the prisoners, the sick and the children, feeling in them and for them the mercy of God. During these days they experienced that the Galilee of Jesus can come close to our reality, encouraging us to live a way of life in the presence of Jesus himself. —
Nineteen young people from Córdoba, La Rioja, San Luis, Resistencia, Paraná, La Plata, Buenos Aires and San Isidro participated. Francisco Eliseo, from the Men’s Youth of La Plata, tells us “in first person”.
In first person
My name is Francisco Elisei, a member of the Men’s Youth of La Plata. This time of Galilee was for me a beautiful opportunity to learn to unite organically a deep life of prayer with an intense apostolic activity, starting from a very strong community life. The apostolates we carried out were very varied, so we divided into groups to reach everyone: the accompaniment of the Casa del Niño and a center for human promotion called “La Nazarena”, visits to a prison in Florencio Varela, assistance to the work of the nurses in the hospital “Mi Pueblo”, visits to homes and families, the accompaniment of the celebrations and patronal feasts of the parish San Pantaleón, among others.
The “hours of adoration” of the mothers of sick children
In the mornings, I had to work as a volunteer in the pediatric ward of the hospital. On Monday, the first day I went there, I came across a reality that made me very sensitive. That day we had woken up early for morning prayer, breakfast and then an hour of silent adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. It was an hour of encounter with Jesus in the Eucharist, where one tries with all one’s limits to pay as much attention as possible to contemplate and simply be with the One who, we know, loves us, as St. Teresa of Jesus said. After adoration, we left for the hospital. Once in the pediatric ward, I encountered a very moving reality. Just as we had spent an hour contemplating Jesus, the mothers spent hours and even days contemplating their sleeping children on the hospital gurneys.
Some were full-grown children, and some were small babies, all hooked up to IVs and some kind of breathing aid. The faithfulness of those mothers who remained by their children’s side sitting in a chair for dozens of hours and the tenderness that shone in their concerned gazes disarmed me. There, prayer, and life itself became one, the love of God passing through and organically uniting all aspects of life.
Florencio Varela was our Galilee
Like this experience there were so many others during all this time of mission. Florencio Varela was our Galilee, the place of intimate encounter with Jesus in each person we met. The challenge that lies ahead is to make every place we inhabit from now on also become a new Galilee, so that we too may be instruments that help others to encounter Jesus.
Source: www.schoenstatt.org.ar With permission
Original: Spanish. Translation: Maria Fischer, Siegburg, Germany