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One of our missionaries in Venezuela, Piotr Karolewski, SVD, thanked us for the messages of encouragement and hope sent during the recent campaign of support of our SVD missionaries in Venezuela. In addition, Piotr sends us a clear report of the current situation.

“Thanks for all the greetings and words of encouragement. Here we continue in times of mission. The situation in Venezuela is really serious.

We want to analyze the presence of the SVD and see what are the possibilities for the future of this mission. Anarchy and a lot of violence hinder our activities but we are trying to do our best.  At present, we are only two missionaries here: Br. Renato and I. Kris is on vacation in Indonesia and has some difficulties for coming back. They did not renew the visa of Jaime. We are trying to solve this matter.

The SVD mission in Venezuela began in 2008 in the parish of San Isidro in Maracaibo. The initial project has been the work with the ethnic group of the indigenous Wayú.

For several years the project became crystallized and at the same time the permanence of the Congregation also took other directions. With enough emphasis we began to organize pastoral care in the parish, without neglecting the people Wayú.  We also took care of a biblical project of the Archdiocese of Maracaibo. Currently we have these two projects in operation: the parish pastoral project and the biblical project of the Archdiocese.

For sure, both projects are quite affected by the current political situation. Pastoral workers are discouraged by the situation. They spend their time in finding food for the daily sustenance of their families. Numerous manifestations affect the organization of meetings related to the pastoral project. The insecurity makes that people do not want to attend the meetings at night.

At about the biblical project, the laity team formed for this project has been dispersed; some of them have emigrated to other countries. And those who are still in place think to do the same. Efforts are being made to keep the minimum of this project in the form of workshops.

As SVD missionaries we are accompanying the Venezuelan people in these moments of injustice, telling them that God always sees, hears and approaches to free his people. Together with the Venezuelans we hope that a positive change can still come and people will walk again with their heads held high and their faces smiling, that one day there will be security in the streets, medicines in hospitals, food in supermarkets, true justice in the courts and respect for pluralism of thought in politics again.

What will be fulfilled of these expectations? The best option would be to arrive at free presidential elections in order to guide the process of freedom and well-being in the country. The worst option would be for everything to remain the same as it is now, with violence on the streets, many people dying every day and with no hope for the future”.

The Triune God bless and free the Venezuelan people!

Fr. Piotr Karolewski, SVD

Published in the newsletter Eideseis of ARS- June 2017