Puerto Casado (Agenzia Fides) - "As a Church, we feel compelled to share certain concerns and challenges, because the accentuated crisis of public and private morality; of political life and justice; of inequality and social and economic injustice that the population suffers hurts and worries us". This is what the religious men and women of the Apostolic Vicariate of the Paraguayan Chaco write in a statement sent to Agenzia Fides, after their assembly celebrated from 4 to 6 February, in which they report the state of neglect by the State that the population of this region, arid and very poor, continue to suffer.
Citing a passage from Mgr. Ricardo Valenzuela’s homily for the recent feast of Our Lady of Caacupé, patron of Paraguay (see Agenzia Fides 22/12/2017), in which he stated that "the general malaise and the dissatisfaction of large sectors of citizenship in the face of the conduct of the authorities, which seems to ignore the existence of such dramas", the missionaries denounce "the fragility of public institutions, which respond to particular interests", with the consequent distrust of citizenship.
This fragility of institutions also generates very serious health shortcomings: the regional hospital, which covers an area of hundreds of square kilometers, inhabited by about 16,000 people, lacks adequate operating rooms, specializations, lab analysis and intensive care units ; severe water shortages and infrastructures cause the isolation of entire populated areas during the rainy period and frequent blackouts; drugs proliferate among boys and girls and even among children; the land of peasants and indigenous is plundered with the complicity of corrupt authority.
"It is an urgent duty to seek the common good, both from authorities and citizens", the religious conclude in the communiqué, invoking the help of Mary Help of Christians, patron of Chaco, and encouraging everyone to commit themselves "with concrete acts of good" to reverse this state of affairs "that has been dragging on for too long". For their part, the missionaries renew their will and commitment to "continue to form in civil and Christian values" wherever they operate.
The Apostolic Vicariate of Chaco Paraguayo covers an area of 96.030 square kilometers, has a total population of 26,500 inhabitants including 21,500 Catholics. The indigenous are about 6,000. There are 8 parishes, 7 priests (1 diocesan and 6 religious), 6 religious men and 17 religious women. (SM) (Agenzia Fides, 9/2/2018)