FAMILY MISSION, EPISODE 8
REDEMPTORIST PROVINCE OF QUITO
Being vocationally interested is the beginning of a deeper knowledge of God’s will. This will has been manifested in our community here, in Ecuador, since 1870, when the redemptorist first arrived to Cuenca and Riobamba.
History tells us that the bishops of these cities, while taking part in First Vatican Council in 1869, they got from the General of the Redemptorist, Fr. Nicolas Mauron, two groups of five redemptorists for their dioceses.
These missionaries, coming from the French-Helvetic region, arrived in Cuenca and Riobamba. Notable is Father Pedro Didier, from Luxembourg, who spread the community to other countries of the region. They dedicated themselves to itinerant popular missions and established themselves mainly in the provinces of Azuay, Cañar, Chiborazo, Bolívar and Tungurahua.
At this time, it is also notable Fr. Lobato, first redemptorist from Ecuador. He made his greatest efforts in the city of Lima, helping in the evangelization of the Quichua-speaking Indians, language that French fathers mastered. With him was br. Juan Bautista Stiehle, who stood out for his architectural designs, especially for the cathedral of Cuenca (one of the biggest and most beautiful in Latin America).
From these redemptorists houses, the sons of saint Alphonsus strive to bring to all the plentiful Redemption of Christ through popular missions and other apostolic ministries.
For example, in Cuenca they are well known by their apostolate of confession. People from all over the city and surroundings go there to confession with the fathers of Saint Alphonsus. Furthermore, the catechesis welcomes children from other parishes; there are various groups, one of them was founded by these fathers: the Holy Family group.
SOME WORDS ABOUT THE HOLY FAMILY
Mr. Javier Puma:
The Holy Family is a congregation born in the same year in which redemptorist fathers arrived in Ecuador, especially in the provinces of Azuay and Chimborazo. After that, in 1881, they started to go to the rural zones, i.e., the parishes in the villages. Here this charisma is born. This charisma leads us to follow the example of the main characters of the Holy Family.
As men, following the example of Joseph of Nazaret; as women, the example of Mary; as children, the example of child Jesus. The activities carried out in this group are aimed to the different feasts celebrated, as the one of the Holy Family, Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Saint Joseph, Saint Alphonsus and also the Archangel Michael. Also its members, belonging to different chorus, on Sunday they pray together the holy rosary and reflect the Word of God. After that, representants of each chorus take part in the meetings with father director to organize the religious and social activities.
In Riobamba, in previous years, evangelization was centred in the Indian villages, to accompany them and give them formation. Nowadays, they come for confession, masses and social ministry.
Vinces is a missionary insertion zone. There, fathers, at the request of the diocese, have been in charge of the organization of apostolate groups, spiritual and material direction, and the division and creation of diocesan parishes.
SOME WORDS ABOUT THE PARISH SAN LORENZO DE VINCES
Angélica Marisol Rosado Rodríguez
(Catechist in San Lorenzo de Vinces):
In the Parish of San Lorenzo de Vinces we have been working for many years with the redemptorist missionaries. They work in the rural and urban zones, they carry out a very special work with families, youth and children, through catechesis, and vocational and family ministry.
We have to highlight how, during this time of Pandemic, the number of married couples have been growing. There are new couples. We have even seen people somehow connected to the Parish of San Lorenzo de Vinces.
We have a very good team in this Parish. We have a Pastoral Council, in which I take part. It is a combined work, under the supervision of the parish priest, Fr. Marcelo. He is one of the main motors to develop our group work. Each lay person has a group to be in charge of, we are the speakers to carry out the activities of this parish; for example, retreats. Last year we had a retreat in which we had the opportunity of participating with Fr. Jesus (here he is), in which we had a great time. It took place in a rural zone in contact with nature. We learned about our vocation as lay people and helpers in the parish.
Carmen Quintanilla Cervantes
(Secretary of Perpetuo Socorro in Nicaragua):
For me, this experience I lived with all the redemptorist who arrived in this parish has been very good and pleasant. We have learnt many things, we had many experiences with them, and they have also transmitted to us a lot of good ideas that we can also transmit to the other sectors of the parish. Here we have many different parish groups, i.e. catechists. I am in charge of altar boys since last year. It’s also the group of young people, and the movement John XXIII. We are doing a very good job for this community to grow step by step with the help of the faithful, so that with their collaboration we can move forward.
Mariela Montiel Hidalgo
(Catechist in Recinto Matecito-Playas de Vinces):
For me, the work of the redemptorist missionaries, already for ten years, has been wonderful. In fact, the work that they carry out with the communities is strong, do you know why? Because the parish of Antonio Sotomayor is very big, it is not only a centre in which you can easily work, but rather they, the redemptorist, have to walk, travel and go into the rural parts.
In the rural zone are the chapels and the community sectors, which are very far away. They have done a wonderful job. Now, almost as a parish of Narcisa de Jesús, since they arrive ten years ago, we have the objective of turning it into a parish and we are working on that.
Regarding the missions, it is very beautiful. It’s beautiful to see the effort made, the work carried out by the missionaries to come to our community. I talk about my community of Matecito, where we have been living without catechists for 25-30 years. When you arrived here, you opened the doors so that the members of the community could see each other, and we have resumed our activities.
A priority apostolate of the Province of Quito is family.
Fanny Miño Burgos
(Catechist in Recinto el Delirio-Nicaragua):
For me, father, it is a very good excellence. For us here, as any home has its difficulties, we can however go over them, overcome them, as I say, finding something that opens the way and lets us go on. There are moments in which we feel discouraged, we feel that we don’t want to continue with it, but in Heaven we have someone who lightens us and we come back and go on. And as a couple we are fine.
(From Recinto el Delirio-Nicaragua):
Misery is a big motivation in this place. In fact, very few are those who want to get married with their respective women. This is the reality; they are not motivated. Sometimes the man wants to get married, sometimes the woman wants to, but the man doesn’t want to. That’s the difficulty that a lot of couple live through. That’s what I wanted to tell them: to get motivated and that it would be very important for a couple to get married.
Lay Redemptorist missionaries are trained to be evangelical witnesses in their homes and workd places.
SOME WORDS ABOUT THE PARISH PERPETUAL HELP IN MANTA
(Secretary P. Socorro-Manta):
I feel totally convinced about my redemptorist spirituality. I love a lot, as I said a moment ago, the community in all its meanings. Because not only the fathers live here, but, you know, when someone goes to other houses, you feel welcomed. About charisms, the one of the redemptorists is special. So, they have this burning charity to always take the Good News, as Fr. Angelito shows us with his testimony. And on fire with zeal, they always take a good message to the people that we find on the way.
(Lay Redemptorist Missionary – Manta):
I arrived at the parish with a big spiritual need. I had just got divorced. Fr. Antonio Lojano welcomed me in the parish. Since his welcome until this moment, I am totally in love with the redemptorist missionaries.
Always, since the beginning, I thought: How is this that these fathers refer to Saint Alphonsus as “my father”? I started to investigate, to ask, and discover more about Saint Alphonsus.
I felt totally in love with the alphonsian spirituality, I really like reading. I have read writings of Saint Alphonsus, his books and also, as a lay missionary, Fr. Ángel always gave us formation, I am one of the first persons of the second group of consecrated missionaries.
The preparation with Fr. Ángel took place until the moment before he Pandemic, every Monday. This father even used to say that: although it rains or there is an electric storm, a missionary must be in the formation. I can say that I never was absent. I was always present in the formation.
This way we try to give an answer in Ecuador to the needs of the poorest. And aware of our limitations, we trust in the Alphonsian spirit to take the Gospel to the most in need.
SOME WORDS FROM THE CATECHISTS OF VINCES
Ananías Miño Santillán
(Catechist in Recinto La Mecha-Nicaragua):
I have been a catechist for eight years, I have always enjoyed being with children, even before being a catechist. Thanks to a woman, God invited me to be catechist, and since that moment I have been working with children.
I started alone, but the wonderful thing is that the fathers and missionaries who came for a mission have brought other persons to be catechists. And now we are five catechists in this community. It is very beautiful, but, because of the Pandemic, we could not have our catechesis, but we have resumed them this year.
The redemptorist missionaries proclaim the plentiful redemption wherever they go, the give themselves completely. In Ecuador their tradition lives in the heart of the most abandoned people to heal the wounds of our Church and society.
Authors: Sr. Javier Puma, Angélica Marisol Rosado Rodríguez, Carmen Quintanilla Cervantes, Mariela Montiel Hidalgo, Fanny Miño Burgos, Manolo Yépez, María Murillo, Nancy Endara, Ananías Miño Santillán.
Translation: Carlos A. Diego Gutiérrez, CSsR