Posted On 2019-10-26 In Something to think about, Voices of Time

Riots in Chile: “Spaces of Prayer and Dialogue, Concrete Proposals and Community”

CHILE, Fr. Juan Pablo Rovegno Michell / staff •

Friday, October 18th – of all days! – the violent riots in Chile, which left so many speechless, began with severe attacks and excesses in the subway, causing six lines to collapse and to be put out of  operation on Saturday or Sunday. On Monday, only the main line worked with 60% of the stations, in addition to looting and arson attacks on several stations. There was also a series of attacks on supermarkets and pharmacies with looting and arson attacks. In addition, hundreds of thousands took to the streets in largely peaceful protests. At least 15 people died, 200 were injured and more than 1,500 arrested during the protests against the high costs of living and income inequality. After Nicaragua, Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia, the country, with its 18 million inhabitants, was long a lighthouse for stability and prosperity in South America. However, it became the youngest Latin American country to sink into a wave of protest, violence and destruction. —

In view of this situation, Father Juan Pablo Rovegno Michell, leader of the Schoenstatt Movement in Chile, invites the Chilean families to pray – not only to pray, but also to read the signs of the times in light of the practical faith of Divine Providence. We need to understand more deeply what we are experiencing and to do everything so that “our Shrines and wayside shrines, our groups, communities and families can be spaces of prayer and dialogue, of concrete proposals and of communion”.


We publish this letter in order to express our solidarity with Chile and to be called, like the Chilean Schoenstatt Family, to reflection and dialogue on the signs of the times and a genuine culture of dialogue. We live in a common house. When Chile burns, the whole house burns. The parallels between Father Juan Pablo Rovegno’s call and Bishop Gerber’s homily in Schoenstatt on October 18 are evident.

Dear Schoenstatt Family!

We experience moments that require our commitment to a fatherland that is family, to a more just, integrated and inclusive society in which neither violence nor inertia have a place. A fatherland for all and with all.

The signs of collaboration and civic engagement against chaos and violence are a good start, as is the commitment to prayer and mutual intercession. But we must also read the signs of the times in the light of practical faith in Divine Providence in order to understand more deeply what we are experiencing.

As far as possible, I invite you to speak and meet with each other, to stimulate conversations at the level of our families, our groups, our communities and local families. To this end, I would like to remind you of the criteria that we set at our annual meeting and that are absolutely relevant today:

  1. Depth: We cannot look superficially at what we are experiencing. We must pause to engage in real dialogue and dare to tackle the causes, to dare to tackle a social challenge that we must make visible. There is no room for defensive or offensive attitudes, polarised or politicised or even less reactive, because these are social problems that seek channels of reception, expression and leadership. Depth to know what God demands of us and how He guides the history of our country.
  2. We are all part of the solutions, no one can release themselves from involvement, nor can we be indifferent. Social problems are the responsibility of everyone. We must build a family home; this requires the ability to meet, to work together, to share responsibility and complement one another. The challenges require great generosity and openness from all to overcome the temptation of division and confrontation, as well as short-term solutions that are not realistic and forward-looking. We must be proactive.
  3. And the essential thing: to learn to identify with reality in a different way. Identify with the fragility and needs of others. To learn, always anew, to look at others with the eyes of Jesus Christ. We must all feel loved, that is something very concrete: worthy, involved, heard and with possibilities. It is about putting oneself in the other’s place and committing oneself to the reality of the other.

If we as Church and movement have found a way to understand the pain of abuse, we now have the opportunity as a nation to go a way to heal our social wounds.

In the Blessed Mother we will find someone who teaches us to meditate, to unite and to commit ourselves to reality, and above all to be instruments of communion, hope and encounter in this process.

Like them, we want to meditate things in our hearts to discover God’s plan for this time. Like them, we want to commit ourselves to reality and set out like in the Visitation, in Cana, at the foot of the Cross and in the whole life of Jesus and the Church. Like them in the Cenacle, we want to be instruments of communion: to unite, encourage, strengthen, and send.

Dear Family, may our Shrines and wayside shrines, our groups, communities and families be spaces of prayer and dialogue, of concrete proposals and of communion. May we all be the forgers of a new Chile.

With my blessing

Father Juan Pablo Rovegno Michell

Movement Director





Title Photo:  NatanaelGinting iStockGettyImages, ID:686136848


Original: German,19.10.2019 Translation: Lindsay Burger, Ohio, USA


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