Caracas (Agenzia Fides) - "A message of faith, hope and solidarity" was sent by the men and women religious of Venezuela, gathered for the Extraordinary Assembly of Conver (Conferencia venezolana de religiosas y religiosos), "to all men and women, beloved children of God, who live in our country, and to all our brothers and sisters in the diaspora". The Superiors and Major Superiors of Orders, Congregations, Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life of Venezuela, Delegations and Commissions, met on November 21, the feast of the Presentation of the Virgin Mary, to reflect on the theme "Merciful love towards our neighbor".
In the message, sent to Fides, the religious recall: "Merciful Love has led us to give our lives in different places in this Land of Grace, in the geographical and existential peripheries, through an apostolate that brings us closer to the world of pain and of suffering, in a generous dedication to all, without distinction of race, creed, social condition or political thought". The religious are therefore witnesses of solidarity towards the great majority of the Venezuelan people, who "suffer the consequences of the bad management of social policies", and among these they mention: hunger, malnutrition, misery and poverty; repression, persecution of dissidents, very low salaries, lack of medicines, rampant inflation, abuse of authority, corruption, severe shortages of petrol, gas, water, electricity, mistreatment inflicted on the elderly ... Added to this are the natural disasters, which especially affected the poorest brothers.
"The current political regime – continue the religious - continues to annihilate individual and social freedoms, wants to do everything and does nothing to solve many problems; patron of everything and ineffective in everything, leading the country to a limitless collapse. Our country falls into the temptation of despair in the face of this painful situation, thinking that God is far away, silent and hidden, but… No, brothers and sisters! He continues to be Emmanuel, the God with us, who acts in the midst of His people and we see him in the awakening of countless gestures of solidarity".
The religious are close to those suffering the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic. They pray for the dead and grieving families, while thanking doctors and health personnel for their dedication. They therefore reaffirm their commitment to make each community a "field hospital"; to continue proclaiming the Kingdom of God; to go out to meet the most vulnerable; to show the merciful face of Christ in communion with all ecclesial services in the field of health, education and food; to promote cooperation with humanitarian organizations; to do joint work with the laity within the humanitarian mission, in a difficult and contradictory materialistic reality, which poses many challenges; to strengthen pastoral work in the educational field by accompanying the teaching staff in claiming their working rights.
"Even in adversities, the Lord gives us reasons to rejoice, showing us that his Love continues to flow abundantly while listening to our prayers", conclude the religious, recalling the forthcoming beatification of the Doctor of the Poor, the venerable Dr. José Gregorio Hernández, "witness of dedication and service for Venezuelans and, above all, for us consecrated persons. Venezuela is still a blessed land of holiness". (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 24/11/2020)