Venezuela - The Challenge for Pedro

10 August 2018

(ANS - Caracas) - Dolorita is the sadly famous Caracas neighborhood due to its rate of delinquency; every day, incidents of robbery, violence, kidnapping are reported. But, where social conditions stifle development, some young people find and encounter friendships and environments that can contribute to their maturity. This is the case of Pedro (pseudonym), born in 1992, who "grew up in the bosom of a large and affectionate family, full of joy and presence of God," as he himself says.

The parish, established in the eighties, is named "Addolorata", ie Sorrowful or Pained, as tradition commemorates the vision of the "Virgen de Los Dolores" in the Guaire River.

"As a child, I participated with my mother at the processions and religious activities in my neighborhood," Pedro remembers affectionately. Arousing the religious call after the first  Communion at 10 years old and Confirmation at 16 was the meeting with a youth group celebrating Christmas along the street. It was run by Wilfredo Rodriguez who invited Pedro to attend the Missions of the Holy Week. "Providential! I began to feel the vocation of being with the Lord and following Him closer."

The Salesians accompany Pedro in the search for faith. Vocation discernment passes through the Salesian Agricultural School of Barinas where, thanks to a second key figure, Roberth Gómez, Pedro lives an intense sharing of the charism of Don Bosco. "I have deepened the missionary dimension of the Salesian ascendant with the fundamental option for the poorest youth."

Pedro's journey winds through the prenovitiate at the Institute Filippo Rinaldi, then in the community of San Fernando de Atabapo in the Venezuelan Amazon, where Fr Darwin Vásquez is the third teacher for him.

At the novitiate "Sacred Heart of Jesus" he knows and studies the Salesian Constitutions. "I feel privileged and grateful to God for the great mercy and for the love He has had at all times of (my) life," Pedro confirms and confidently adds, "Beyond my fears and insecurities, I want to continue to answer 'yes' to the project of love that God has for me.'

A project that will bring Pedro, after the post-novitiate to Los Teques, to take care of the new generations of Dolorita. His human and spiritual testimony will be important to helping young people live in a place where violence seems to have become predominant, and dangerously associating with the degradation of the environment as a whole.

To "supervise" Pedro's mission there will be Mary Help of Christians, "Virgen de Los Dolores", but ready for hope!

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ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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