Venezuela is descending ever deeper into crisis. The people are desperate and bitter, violence is growing, the murder rate is rising, and many are looking for refuge and solace in drugs. Meanwhile, the Church is committed to standing by those who are suffering, trying to give them hope.
In these difficult times, Bishop Raùl Biord Castillo of La Guaira, who is based in the northern part of the country, would like to strengthen the pastoral ministry in his diocese. He has therefore asked himself, “What does God want for us?”
The bishop is particularly concerned about the country’s young people. Youth groups have already been set up in several parishes and a number of spiritual movements assist in youth pastoral ministry. The goal is to address the issues that deeply concern young people and accompany them on their spiritual journey, in the hopes of integrating these young people into the spiritual life of the community and deepening their faith. Spiritual vocations are to be promoted as well.
The pastoral ministry needs to take the differing needs of each social environment into consideration, because young people face different problems depending upon whether they grew up in rural areas, in cities or in the suburbs. The young people range from university students to young workers, and so there are countless difficult circumstances that need to be addressed, such as drug and alcohol addiction, prostitution, street children, violence, crime, adolescents who are incarcerated…
Some parishes do not have any place to hold the youth programs and often do not have enough people who can devote themselves to this apostolate. For this reason, the bishop wants to set up a “school for group leaders” and would like to convert a former convent into a meeting place. This would kill two birds with one stone: the facility could be used to train group leaders, and, at the same time, youth groups from parishes that do not have a suitable place to meet could use the building for retreats and a range of pastoral activities.
The location of the facility is ideal: it is situated in the mountains where the temperatures are not too hot and a beautiful panoramic view acts as balm to the soul. The demand is great; the facility is already almost booked full. Unfortunately, at this time, only groups of up to 20 people can use the facility. After the renovations are complete, it will be able to accommodate 80 overnight guests at a time.
We would like to help set up this facility, which is will give young people a reason to hope.
Would you be able to give to fund the construction of this center for youth pastoral ministry in struggling Venezuela?
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