Forgiveness, hope as Mass celebrated in the streets amidst violence

In the middle of the current wave of political unrest, hunger and death, Venezuelan people are finding forgiveness is possible and there is hope for a better future.

Violent demonstrations and attacks since the end of March have seen 92 people killed and over 1,500 injured.

The new change in Venezuelan people’s attitudes began with a Medical Mission Sister. Seeing the need for people to see each other, share their our emotions and console one another”, she suggested the people from her parish host an activity to encourage, strengthen, and bring hope to their community.

“We are going to walk with Jesus through the streets. We are going to celebrate Mass where there is only debris, sadness, and death. Our God is the God of life, and the only one that can give us strength in these hard times.

“I proposed instead of having Sunday Mass in the chapel, we have it in the street.”

And so began what she says was a “healing public celebration” beginning with 250 people processing to the recently destroyed market at the center of the city. As they set out, a torrent of rain fell – but instead of rescheduling, a woman in the crowd persuaded the organisers to think again.

The rain is “the blessing of God,” she said. “He wants to clean us, to purify us; He wants to show us that he is the God of life. Rain is a sign of hope, which fertilizes and prepares the earth.”

The rain cleared by the time the procession arrived at the central market, the where nearly 800 people had gathered.

The Medical Mission Sister says the penitential rite was the catalyst that allowed a broken community to heal. It had been organized by young people who “made it so beautiful with drama and music.”

“We realized that this penitential act should be a significant one, due to all the sin that we have committed. The saddest part … has been the fight among the people, neighbor against neighbor….so many wounds…

“The Mass was so beautiful, you had to be there to feel the incredible power of God. … In the end, we saw the fruits of the celebration … all the community has committed itself to reconstruct what has been destroyed [regardless of politics].


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