Almendralejo, Spain. On December 6, 2023, during Constitution Day in Spain, a ceremony took place at the Carolina Coronado Theatre in Almendralejo. The city awarded the Medal of Almendralejo to the Congregation of Missionaries Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (Claretian Missionaries), recognizing their exceptional dedication and service to the community for over a century. Fr. Manuel Carrasco, CMF, represented the Congregation at the event and received the award on their behalf. This recognition is a testament to the unwavering commitment of the Claretian Missionaries to impact the lives of those they serve positively.
The Claretian community, known for its spiritual and social influence in Almendralejo, has been a pillar for the local people. In his speech, the mayor, José María Ramírez, highlighted the Claretian Missionaries’ role as positive agents of change, spiritually enriching the city and fostering a spirit of solidarity and humanity. He recalled how his mother participated in initiatives such as “el roperito” to raise awareness and funds for the missions. The mayor made special mention to the Claretians who currently make up the community, highlighting Fr. Antonio Sanjuán, CMF, concluding with a concrete invitation to all of them:
“I encourage you to continue working on the path of evangelization, drawing in young people who find Jesus, the path to happiness, and who work for peace—those young people of whom we are proud in our city.”
In addition to the Claretian Missionaries, the City Council of Almendralejo also acknowledged other distinguished figures and institutions, such as the Community of Farmers and Ranchers and Antonio Diaz Rodriguez, who was named the Beloved Son of Almendralejo.
The Constitution Day ceremony was a moment to reflect on the quiet impact of the Claretian community in Almendralejo, which aids the social and cultural fabric of the city.
Claretian Missionaries in Almendralejo
The Claretian Missionaries’ residence has a rich history dating back to 1889 when Doña Catalina Chumacero y Golfín donated her home, chapel, and orchard to the Congregation of the Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The Claretian Missionaries are actively involved in a wide range of pastoral work, and charitable, cultural, social, and apostolic activities in Almendralejo. Their notable efforts include the Missionary Clothing Bank, Proclade, the school of prayer, lay Claretian movements, the Claret youth center, Masses for children and youth, and the Brotherhood of the Christ of Amparo, which was established in 1936.
Source: Juan Carlos Martos, CMF