AMERICA/CHILE - REDEMPTORIST FATHERS LEAD SPECIAL PARISH MISSIONS AMONG THE POOR OF CERRO CORDILLERA DISTRICT TO MARK 100 YEARS OF MISSIONARY PRESENCE
Valparaiso (Fides Service) – The Redemptorist missionaries first arrived in Cerro Cordigliera, on the outskirts of Valparaiso, in 1903. As part of centenary celebrations the Redemptorist Fathers of the Santiago province of which Valparaiso is part have undertaken a major parish mission at Our Lady of Perpetual Succour parish in Cerro Cordigliera, which has a population of about 25,000.
“The Mission began on 13 July with the sending of missionaries and it will last until 27 July” Father Jose Brito Olivares, Provincial Superior tells Fides Service. “The Valparaiso Mission – he explains – is missione special from various points of view: it is a provincial, under the direction of the provincial government through the missions department, although direct responsibility for preparation, resources research, identifying pastoral objectives, local preparation in the hands of the Cerro Cordigliera parish. The mission is special because it is in a poor district, the area around the port where pastoral work is very difficult. It is special because it relies on the participation of the Redemptorist missionaries, of South Horn, Latin America - Buenos Aires, Resistencia (Argentina); Pilar (Paraguay), La Paz (Bolivia), Lima (Peru)-. Among the missionaries are 6 German Sisters from (Graz) and about ninety lay missionaries who were given special formation for apostolic and missionary work in the parish or in the Congregation.
The objectives of the parish mission are the following: encourage conversion to the Lord; improve Christian life and activate paths of faith; make work with families a priority for the parish; strengthen and increase youth groups and encourage organisation of Basic Christian Communities of adults and youth with sound missionary spirituality; strengthen and increase pastoral services in the parish working in co-ordination with civil, lay and religious institutions.
The Redemptorist Province of Santiago was established in 1876 by missionaries from the French Province of Lyons. They immediately set out to preach missions in parishes, chapels and farm houses throughout the whole of Chile. Later, because of the scarcity of local priests, they agreed to take care of some particular parishes. Today there are 10 Redemptorist communities in Chile, in the areas of Coquimbo, Valparaiso, Santiago, Cauquenes, Penco, Temuco, Puerto Varas y Puerto Mont. (R.Z.) (Fides Service 24/7/2003 lines 31; words 403)
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