URUGUAY, Providencia Educational Center, Juan Andrés Nopitsch •
Providencia Educational Center is celebrating! (And with good reason.) The chapel expansion has begun. —
How often have not the small and insignificant beginnings been the source of great and greatest accomplishments?
The Providencia’s history is deeply marked by Fr. Kentenich’s phrase: “How often have not the small and insignificant beginnings been the source of great and greatest accomplishments?” (Fr. Kentenich, Schoenstatt Founding Documents, p. 31) About twenty-four years ago, a group of Pilgrim Mother Campaign missionaries found out what Lucia was doing; she is a former MTA school student from Nueva Helvecia, who moved to Montevideo’s Cerro neighborhood several years ago. Lucia collaborates with San Rafael Parish catechesis from her home. She welcomes children from La Via street neighborhood. Through the initiative of the missionaries and volunteers, a wayside shrine for the Blessed Mother was built in front of Lucia’s house. She was a witness to the Eucharist, mangers, and many neighborhood celebrations.
In 1994, some volunteers from the Montevideo Family Branch came at the invitation of the missionaries, who invited them to commit themselves to the area and people from the neighborhood, building a socio-educational space for the children of the area as God’s providential sign. In the beginning, they began with a space for catechesis and little by little they incorporated an educational space where they offered a daily snack, and the children could do their work.
The oratory became too small
Two years later, the Schoenstatt Movement founded the Providencia Civil Association for the purpose of accompanying and supporting the work that had been slowly developing. Currently 400 children, youths and their families attend that participate in four educational programs: Children’s Club, School, Youth Center, and work training.
Something that is very important and central to our identity became too small! The oratory, the ideal place for the personal encounter with the Blessed Mother and with Jesus, the place where we could feel sheltered, that had welcomed us many times to place families, difficult situations, joys and dreams in God’s hands.
Building the chapel together
Thus with enormous joy and emotion and with the effort of many, we can celebrate the beginning of the work to expand the chapel …and what is even more joyful: we are doing it together.
The father of two school children, who works in the construction, came to help us take down the plaster wall that divided the oratory from the library. A group of volunteers from the ISASA School came during that weekend to help us with painting, while different catechesis groups from the Children’s Club and from the School are already taking over the space to hold celebrations and reflection gatherings. So, in May, along with Fr. Leo Burone (the area’s pastor and chaplain from Providencia) we celebrated Mass every Wednesday at 11:00 am.
We are very happy for this road beginning, and we are greatly satisfied that providentially the chapel is becoming a place where we can welcome everyone thanks to the work of the parents, children, and volunteers.
If you want to join this transformation, and it is within your means, we invite you to contact
Laura Voituret ([email protected]).
Nothing without You, Nothing without Us!
Original: Spanish. 27 May 2018. Translation: Celina M. Garza, San Antonio, TX USA. Edited: Melissa Peña-Janknegt, Elgin, TX USA