01 Maracaibo
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Our SVD missionaries in Maracaibo will continue to walk with the people of Venezuela despite the current difficult situation.

Fr. Marcelo Cattáneo, Coordinator of the PANAM zone and the Superior Provincial, Emigdio Cuesta, visited our missionaries in Maracaibo, Venezuela, from July 19 to 24, 2017 to support them in their mission.

Both of them reported that what most affects our missionaries in Maracaibo are the unprecedented social and political tensions that separate the nation and the Venezuelan people, but their state of mind is quite high considering the situation they go through daily. All this is reflected in the daily life of our confreres, personally and from the pastoral point of view, but our missionaries continue to work with tenacity and determination in the mission entrusted to them by the congregation.

The challenges of the staff

In these almost 10 years of presence, many SVDs passed by to this mission. Some confreres simply could not be adapted and returned to their countries of origin after a short time.

The SVD team in Venezuela suggests as appropriate methodology, the consolidation of a team of missionaries with experience in this type of crisis, who are able to face the current challenges. It is clear that it will be necessary sooner or later to change the composition of the current SVD team. On the other hand, this can become complicated if visas are not obtained for our confreres to enter the country.

The archbishop of Maracaibo, Msgr. Santana Sequera is grateful to the Congregation for having established our missionaries in Maracaibo and he has shown good courage. The prelate reiterated his dream that our missionaries encourage the biblical animation of pastoral care. In addition, he continues to seek to respond to the request of the confreres to offer us a parish that is closer to the urban center of the city, since the current headquarters of the SVD mission is a very isolated and difficult to reach place.

Looking to the future

People of Maracaibo appreciate the presence of the SVD. However, lack of resources and insecurity make the organization and growth of Christian communities almost impossible. Evacuating a confrere for medical treatment, or repairing a vehicle or house, implies for instance huge expenses and makes any initiative impossible.
About the formation of an experienced team, what profile should these confreres have? And what suggestions could we make to sensitize provinces / regions and missions to sharing staff supporting this mission?  At any case, the concern of the Generalate is still how to effectively help our missionaries there?

Information provided by the Generalate SVD and the PANAM Coordination.