Argentina

By Sr Angela McKeever SSC

A few days before Christmas I went to visit the women prisoners in the local jail. Usually there are 25 or more in the punishment cells but, possibly because of the season, only seven were incarcerated that particular day. The charges against them are mostly of drug and alcohol abuse, and fighting. Their faces are familiar to me and most of them responded to my greeting.

Healing The Sins Of Evangelization

By Fr Chris Saenz SSC

Father Saenz, a Columban from Omaha, Nebraska, USA, was ordained in 2000. He had part of his formation in the Philippines.We are now observing the Year of the Eucharist. His article shows how a debate over the role of the Eucharist helps heal wounds caused by ‘the sword and the cross’ in Chile and Argentina.

Ever since childhood I was always taught that the sacraments, especially the Eucharist, were the cornerstone of our Catholic faith. During my training as a priest, it was reinforced that the Eucharist is the center of our faith, the most sacred Catholic celebration. Jesus Christ’s body, broken and shared, brings healing to his people.

The Dirty War

By Fr Luis Sabarre OMI

The last year has seen the collapse of the Argentine economy and near revolution in the streets coming not from the poor but from the middle classes who have seen their savings in the banks destroyed through the collapse of the Argentine peso. But Argentina’s troubles began further back in the ‘80s when the ruthless military government introduced what was almost a reign of terror. One feature was the snatching away of people and making them disappear…sometimes by dropping them from helicopters into the sea. Everyone was scared and even the Church did not speak up as it did in the Philippines. However one courageous group of women, mothers and relatives of the ‘disappeared’, started their famous silent walk around the Plaza de Mayo which fronts the Palacio Rosada where the President resides. These women have become known as the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo. Fr. Luis Sabarre, a Filipino missionary in Argentina, takes up the story.

It was 1982 when I arrived in Argentina that I first heard about the much talked-about “Guerra sucia” or the dirty war. The last coup d’etat in the country on March 24, 1976 brought down the government of Isabel Peron, the legitimate successor on the death of her husband, Juan Domingo Peron, founder of the Peronist Party. Isabel Peron was the first woman president of Argentina. The military junta found her to be weak and unable to handle the government and to control the resurging unrest of the populace due to the constant threat and disturbances of the guerillas influenced by Che Guevara.

We Live at the Edge

By: Fr. Alejandro Gobenciong, SVD

Ten Priests in Ten Years
When I returned to Argentina after my renewal course in Nemi, Rome, I got a new assignment to a new parish, the parish of San Jose. This parish includes four large zones. We are two priests and ten religious sisters. We have thirty nine chapels and communities in all. This parish covers almost one fourth of the entire Diocese of Iguazu. In the last ten years ten priests worked here without noticeable success for the some reasons: 1) Because the parish is remote and very big. 2) The parishioners are mostly poor immigrants from Brazil working on lands without land ownership, without titles; 3) And the priests who have worked here usually do not survive for long.

A Young Missionary Writes

By: Fr. Vicente Castro, SVD

Multicultural

I am a Divine Word priest working in a parish situated along the border of Brazil and Paraguay. I am with a middle- aged Paraguay priest, and an Argentinian brother preparing himself for Nicaragua, and another Argentinian student of theology having his pastoral experience I our parish. Together with three Brazilian religious sisters, we attend to eighteen thousand (18,000) Catholics, spread over a wide area of six hundred fifty (650) square kilometers.

Hidden Away in Argentina

Far away in Argentina, in Latin America, four Filipina Sisters will celebrate Christmas on their knees before the Blessed Sacrament. They belong to the group popularly known as the Pink sisters not because of their politics but because pink habit they wear. They live a hidden life but I’m sure they will forgive me for sharing a little bit of their letters to us.

Like the Little Flower
They are contemplative sisters. It is through prayer, silence, meditation and loving community sharing that they step into the Presence of God and ask help for the whole Church especially the missionaries: “Without leaving the cloister, like the little flower, we try to reach out to all the mission territories of he world through our prayer and sacrifices. Our Blessed Founder entrusted to us a special obligation: to pray for the priest and candidates to the priesthood. In the first place of course we support the missionary activities of our SVD Fathers and out Missionary Sisters SSpS through our prayer.” Said Sr. Mary Reparatrix.