Ecuador – Young outgoing missionaries: the joy of sharing the Gospel

02 April 2024

(ANS – Quito) – On the eve of last year's World Youth Day, the Pope, in a conversation with young people, reminded them that "joy is missionary, joy is not for oneself, it is to bring something." This invitation of an outgoing Church is received by young people from different areas of the Salesian Province of Ecuador (ECU), coming from Oratories, Schools, Higher Institutes, Parishes and Shrines. Throughout the year, they continually prepare for one of the most significant experiences they have: the missions during Holy Week.

The missionary groups of the Province have left, some as early as Palm Sunday, for their destination communities. Accompanied by educators, catechists, Salesians and even parents, they carried out their work in different places. In Simiatug, for example, about 150 young missionaries from Quito and Riobamba, from the Salesian School Centres (CES) and the oratories, carried out their mission in the communities of Simiatug, Facundo Vela and Salinas.

The Don Bosco La Tola Educational Unit was responsible for the maintenance of the chapels. Equipped with 22 buckets of paint and maintenance material, the members of the Educational Unit cleaned and repainted the sacred spaces.

Groups from the Don Bosco Kennedy Educational Unit arrived instead with school materials and donations for the children in the communities. Other groups from the Santo Tomás Apóstol Educational Unit in Riobamba brought clothes and shared moments of conviviality with the population. In addition, a group of pre-volunteers went with Fr Fausto Siavichay to the communities in Facundo Vela. Similarly, the missionaries from the Cardinal Spellman Educational Unit went to the communities in Salinas where they collaborated in daily activities and agricultural work.

During these days, missionaries shared food, participated in indigenous rites and celebrated liturgies with the community, and participated in Easter triduum celebrations. It is important to note that there was great gratitude for this experience, also considering that in some communities it was the first time, in more than five years, that missionaries had visited during the Easter week.

Fr Jaime Pastuña, sharing the sentiments of the Salesian community, expressed his joy at the support and identification with the mission of Don Bosco and Jesus. He also acknowledged that "it was great to see the teachers accompanying the mission, alongside the children and the community". He then added that it is important that mission places "feel accompanied, feel the embrace of young people" and that "people want to listen to the Word of God, they want to listen to young people".

In the evaluations given at the end of the experience, the members of the groups showed joy and satisfaction. For Jorge Luis Guadamud, teacher at the Cardinal Spellman Educational Unit, young people have had a very significant experience, although different for each one. Some of them recognised that for the first time they had discovered  a lifestyle different from the traditional one, which allowed them to value a different culture and also appreciate what they normally have, understanding the importance of placing it at the service of others.

In addition, another missionary group, also from Don Bosco La Tola, provided assistance in the Pintang community in Quito, helping the elderly and the sick confined to their homes. Margarita Benavides, Communicator at the institution, says that the young people had an experience that strengthened the bonds of fraternity and solidarity between the missionary group and the local community, giving them a new perspective on faith and hospitality in times of need.

The groups at the Salesian Agronomic School in Paute, the Salesian Technical School in Cuenca and the Salesian Polytechnic University visited the Amazonian missions, such as the one in Bomboiza. The same groups also carried out their work in communities such as Valdivia in Santa Elena, San Fernando in the province of Bolívar, and Cascol in Manabí.

In addition, it is important to mention the presence of groups of younger missionaries, such as the group of missionary children from the Carlos Crespi campus in the city of Cuenca, who participated in pastoral activities in the popular neighborhoods of the city.

Without exception, all parishes, oratories, ESCs and other areas of the ECU Province have carried out this precious mission in response to the appeal of Pope Francis and with the charism that characterises them. Together, they brought the joy of the Gospel in the style of Don Bosco. It is essential that everyone makes a broad discernment that allows them to value these experiences in their lives and to make commitments that go beyond Holy Week.

Marco Padilla,
Salesian Communication Office


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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