Posted On 2015-08-09 In Projects

The smell of being forgotten, abandonment, lack of dignity, hopelessness

PARAGUAY, Ismelda Vázquez, “Splendour of Tabor” Circle 36 of the Family Work in San Lorenzo, and member of the “Mary’s Visitation” prison ministry •

One Sunday. Mass at Tupãrenda celebrated by Fr. Pedro Kühlcke. At the end of Mass, Fr. Pedro told us a bit about the Prison Ministry at C.E.I (Itauguá Educational Centre, a penitentiary for minors) and invited the community to participate, in the way that only he knows how. I felt that the message was for me and that it was an opportunity to help with what could be a great apostolate, something I was looking for but was struggling to find. I called Fr. Kühlcke and every Saturday since May 2014, I join Fr. Pedro and others who belong to this beautiful and comforting support towards the neediest: “Mary’s Visitation” prison ministry.

Many don’t have a family, their home has always been the street

IMG_20150330_104831The first time I set foot there, it wasn’t easy: fear, insecurity, the unknown, made me feel very unsure about what I was doing. I can’t forget that day when I wanted to come home and bath because I smelt so different! Then I realized it was the smell of being forgotten, abandonment, lack of dignity, hopelessness. These young teens, far from having a family, were subject to those who are responsible for them: the state, and surprise, surprise, the state has also abandoned them. If only you could see them…

These are teenagers who should be in school, under the protection of an adult, preferably their parents. But this is not their reality. Many don’t have a family, their home has always been the street, and without very many options, they have done things that have brought them to this place. I don’t approve of delinquency but the lack of opportunities has an effect on them and when they are caught red-handed, they are taken to a place that is even less dignified, where they experience all sorts of things that you probably can’t even imagine. Hunger and loneliness are some of the things we try to alleviate with our contribution, by bringing them a meal every Saturday. This is where we ask for help all the time: we help 160 young people and every Saturday the meal must be there! Of course, Divine Providence has never failed us! That phrase: She is the great missionary! She will work miracles! Or when we challenge: She does not allow herself to be outdone in generosity! These are our most frequent sentences.

Meeting in Tupãrenda

IMG_20150330_112004Saturdays are my favourite days. This is when I receive more kisses, more hugs, and more requests than any other! You can’t stop doing this, because you know that every Saturday the children keep looking towards the security fence, hoping to see us laden with things that can ease their hunger a bit and they can unburden themselves. It is also a time for evangelisation, to speak to them about the presence of God and his Blessed Mother, our mother….The most important is that we have already understood the fruitfulness of this apostolate on various occasions: on some Sundays when they come to Tupãrenda, their smiles are priceless. And when they see you, they call: Here I am! The biggest smile of all belongs to Fr. Pedro, reflecting his closeness to these young people full of hope, that their lives will be different from now on. This is where we have to be and collaborate, to give them the help and support they need so that they don’t stumbled again, and thereby build a better society that is more inclusive, with the permanent presence of God the Father.

How about donating now?

Bank account in Paraguay

Banco GNB
Account number: 001-065259-003
Congregación Padres de Schoenstatt

Bank account in Europe

Schönstatt-Patres International e. V.
IBAN DE91 4006 0265 0003 1616 26
Reference: Fr. Pedro Kühlcke, Casa Madre de Tuparenda

Donations via Paypal




Original: Spanish; Translation: Sarah-Leah Pimentel, South Africa

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