For the first time, dehonians arrived in Colombia, starting a mission in one of the poorest and most difficult areas of the capital.
For the past three years our Congregation has been preparing for this new presence in Latin America. There were many meetings, prayers and planning before the time came to finally launch the mission. We are located in Bogotá, in the southern part of the Colombian capital. The neighborhood called Usme is a very poor area, marked by violence and family breakdown. It is in this challenging reality that the Spirit brings us to make our reparative charism bear fruit.
To give life to the mission we are four dehonian priests from quite different realities: Fr. Joko Susilo (Indonesia), Fr. Rogereve Pausanos (Philippines), Fr. Delio Ruiz (Argentina) and I, Fr. Rafael Freire Nóbrega (Brazil). Initially we were invited to prepare in the dehonian community of Quito, in Ecuador. The initial plan was to stay for four months learning the language, trying to get to know each other, and learning more about the Colombian reality and culture to facilitate our actions with the people of this place. The pandemic and the consequent closing of the borders forced us to spend more time in Ecuador, so it was almost eight months.
In addition to this situation, which affects us all, we are still quite motivated. While in Ecuador we lived with an attitude of availability and used the opportunity to prepare ourselves better for the mission. For this we had formation, meetings and encounters. In addition, we always kept in touch with the San Pablo vicariate, where we are located. We thus arranged more technical aspects of the mission and became familiar with the local reality. Here they welcomed us with joy.
The almost eight months in Ecuador were an opportunity to seek greater intimacy with the Lord who calls us, so that, following his voice, we can bring the Good News of the Gospel to Colombia, in the footsteps of our founder.
It was a beautiful opportunity to get to know the culture and beauty of Ecuador , and also an opportunity to collaborate with our parishes and works. We were able to celebrate Masses and the other sacraments. After the most difficult part of the pandemic, step by step Ecuador has been entering the “new normal”. For the Asians in our group it was an especially helpful opportunity to practice spanish and gain more pastoral experience with the people of the communities of Bahía de Caráquez, on the Ecuadorian coast. For all this we are very grateful to our dehonian brothers from Ecuador, who heartily welcomed us and helped us to feel comfortable and at home.
After several cancellations of our flight to Bogotá, finally, on October 19 in the month of the missions, we have arrived!
We already count on your support and entrust ourselves to the prayers of the entire Dehonian family for the success of this important initiative of our Congregation in view of the good of the Church. God bless you! We count on your prayers.