Some 60 people belonging to the Communities of Missionary Families conducted a mission beginning Jan. 1 in a series of towns on the Paraguay River.
The families, who come from across Paraguay and also include a Cuban couple, gathered in Porto Murtinho, Brazil, to embark on the week-long evangelization project. They were accompanied by four priests, a religious sister, and Archbishop Edmundo Ponziano Valenzuela Mellid of Asuncion.
They held a Mass together before separating into groups to go on mission to eleven towns situated downstream from Porto Murtinho.
Under temperatures reaching 110 degrees Fahrenheit, the missionaries settled into tents, mats, inside of chapels, and in the homes of the locals. There they had catechism, Mass in the native language, fraternal sharing, confessions, and even mediated in a local labor dispute with a company
“The missionaries went in an atmosphere of prayer which allowed dialogue and the almost immediate solution of a long conflict. I admired the courage of the missionaries because they announced the love of Christ that transforms lives and when that love is taken seriously, it rebounds in human and labor relations,” Archbishop Valenzuela said.
“The joy of these families is awesome, and especially that of their young children. Their faith, preparation, and conviction are awesome. It is part of being a witnessing Church,” the archbishop said at the end of the mission.
The Communities of Missionary Families was founded in 2010 by the couples Carmen and Aldo Fanego, and Kika and Vidal Benítez.
Encouraged by Archbishop Valenzuela, who was at the time Vicar Apostolic of Chaco Paraguayo, ten years ago they began doing river missions in the area, inaccessible except by the river, where indigenous peoples live, sustained by farming and the extraction of tannin, a substance used for curing hides and making certain pharmaceuticals.
This article was originally published by our sister agency, ACI Prensa. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.