On February 7-17, 2020, a group of fifty-five young Franciscan missionaries from Copiapó, Santiago and Curicó, Chile, carried out various evangelization activities in the Araucanía region in southern Chile, in particular, the Lumaco and Capitán Pastene areas. The missionaries were led by Friars Christian BORGHESI, Irinel DOBOŞ, Matteo MARTINELLI, Ionel-Emilian DUMEA, and Matej MILIĆ. Others participating included the postulant, Benjamín CASTRO, and two young people from the vocational group of the Provincial Delegation in Chile.
The mission slogan was: “Let’s Not View Life from the Balcony, Let’s Proclaim the God of Love.” This was in keeping with Pope Francis’ message to the young people at the 28th World Youth Day during his apostolic trip to Rio de Janeiro. At that time, urged young people not to miss out on life and the opportunity to help their brothers and sisters.
During this ten-day summer mission, Pastor Claudio AGUIRRE and his parish community of San Felipe de Neri hosted the participants and provided accommodations at the parish school. Capitán Pastene is a town originally founded by Italians.
Several activities were conducted, namely, missionary formation, prayer, Mass, the construction of two “mediagua” (small prefabricated houses), a visit to the villages in the parish territory, missionary animation with the elderly and children, door-to-door evangelization, baptism celebrations, recitation of the Rosary on the street and the Franciscan Stations of the Cross on the way to the cemetery. The locals greatly appreciated the presence of the missionary group and the joy that the group members imparted. Special thanks go to the local radio station “Radio Nativa de Lumaco” which encouraged everyone to visit the young Franciscan missionaries.
Halfway through the program, the missionaries visited the Contulmo Natural Monument, originally a national park under the management of the National Forestry Corporation (CONAF). While there, the missionaries were given the grace to celebrate Mass in the middle of the woods, in true Franciscan spirit.
There are many generous people the missionaries would like to thank; in particular the owner of the Anita Covilli Italian restaurant and all the local families in the area who hosted the group.
During Mass on Sunday, February 17, the missionary group said goodbye to the parish faithful, and presented some images with a prayer as a keepsake of mission. After Mass, the community provided the young people with abundant refreshments. Finally, some cultural activities were held in the afternoon which included traditional Chilean dances, all carried out in a joyful atmosphere.
Daniela CRISÓSTOMO, a young Franciscan missionary