Venezuela

A  pastoral centre for youth in La Guaira

Venezuela is descending ever deeper into crisis. The people are desperate and bitter, violence is growing, the murder rate is rising, many souls are seeking refuge and solace in drugs. The Church stands strong by those who are suffering and tries 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. Seeking a means to do so, he has asked himself the following question: “What does God want for us?”

Venezuela, La Guaira, 2018
Msgr. Raúl Biord Castillo, Bishop of La Guaira with the faithful.

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. Their 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, and the incarceration.

Some parishes do not have any place to hold the youth programs and often lack people able to devote themselves to this apostolate. For this reason, the bishop wants to set up a “school for group leaders” housing it in a former convent which they would convert into a meeting place, thus killing two birds with one stone! The facility could be used to train group leaders and 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.

Venezuela, La Guaira, 2018
Mgr. Raúl Biord Castillo, Bishop of La Guaira with youth.

The chosen location of the facility is ideal because it is situated in the mountains where 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 fully booked! Unfortunately, only groups of maximally 20 people can use the facility as it is now. Once the renovations are complete, it will accommodate up to 80 overnight guests.

 

Aid to the Church in Need would like to help hope flourish by setting up this facility in support of the young people who will benefit from it!  If you would like to contribute to this project – simply click the donate button and select the ‘Project of the Week’!