Between December 26, 2018 and January 6, 2019, a new Summer Mission of the San Juan Society took place in the Lavalleja and 40 Weeks neighborhoods. It was the first of three to be held in this area of Montevideo. Until last year, the summer missions of the San Juan Society took place in the Cerro.
The mission brought together some 85 young people from the Fragua program who meet at the Nuestra Señora del Huerto Parish, who visited the homes, talked with the neighbors and prayed with them. These were accompanied by 3 priests of the San Juan Society and three sisters of the Society of Mary. In addition, Card. Daniel Sturla and Fr. William Bernasconi, parish priest of San José Esposo de María, parish in the area where the mission took place.
Go out to meet
A strong point in this mission, which repeated what happened in January 2018, was the baptism of more than 170 children in the area. They were held in 2 courses; one in the parish church, located in the Av. De las Instrucciones and the other in the San Francisco Chapel, in the 40 Weeks neighborhood. For Father William Bernasconi, the mission seeks to “reach people, give them the Good News of Jesus Christ, who is in our midst and was born to save us.” “We went out to meet the people and we had visits to very nice homes,” he added.
In addition, the Archbishop of Montevideo wanted to recall other initiatives that he described as “evangelical seeds” present in the neighborhood: the San Andrés oratory, in Aires Puros, Tacurú, the San Francisco Chapel and the people of St. Joseph Parish, husband of Mary. “There is a lot of work done, so now we have to collect the fruits of so much seed,” he said.
“There is a need for Christ”
Facundo Cuadro is one of the young missionaries who visited the Lavalleja neighborhood, visiting the neighbors, talking with them and inviting them to different activities. About these moments of meeting with neighbors Facundo said: “we had a field Mass, we were doing batucadas. There was also a procession with the Virgin and the people accompanied and she is very happy with this. ”
Facundo also told that from his experience “people get very touched by these experiences, that’s why we are putting them in depth. You see in the streets that there is a need for God. ” And he also wanted to refer to the baptism performed during the mission “every child who is baptized is light in his home. Sometimes we do not take dimension of the sacrament that is given today, but it has an echo in eternity. That boy or girl will be a child of God forever and that makes us very happy. It is the entrance of God to these families, a light that can not be extinguished. ”
“The Lord is transforming families”
Another testimony of what was lived during the mission days was that of María Martirena. On the one hand, she expressed that she was very happy about the experience “but also tired, because she is demanding”. He also said that tiredness is mitigated because “with each mission you motivate yourself, I see that the Lord is transforming the families we are visiting.”
The House of the Word
An important instance in this mission, especially in its preparation and continuity, is the House of the Word. Manuel González, another of the young missionaries, told us what this instance is about. “During the year he comes to visit every Thursday in the neighborhood. Some Fragua boys come with some of the priests to continue going to the houses and getting to know the neighborhood, “he said.
Just from the experience of the House of the Word comes another of the missionaries, Andrea González. She lives in the Miracle neighborhood of the Andes, where the mission of the San Juan Society was also carried out and where there is a House of the Word.
Andrea, from her experience commented that “each mission is a new experience. Because people come to activities, they open the door of their house, they listen to you “. For her, that people know that God exists “is a joy and a blessing”.
How does the mission continue?
To talk about the future of the mission, we went to Fr Guillermo Striebeck, a member of the San Juan Society, who explained that “we are in the first mission of a cycle of 3 that we will develop here. This first mission is more to sensitize, to try to reach all houses. ”
Fr. Striebeck added that since August 2018 there has already been a Casa de la Palabra in the 40 Weeks neighborhood, in the San Francisco Chapel, “with this mission we seek to deepen a little more with the community that is already meeting and that some more person who is attracted. ” He also commented that the idea is to strengthen the House of the Word and perhaps open another within the parochial radio, “but that will be seen with the evolution of the mission.”