On 13th April 2023, the Claretian Missionaries in America held a virtual event to promote their missionary volunteer program, connecting volunteers from different countries under the spirit of a “shared mission”. The event showcased the experiences of young volunteers who have dedicated their time and efforts to serving communities throughout America as part of the Claretian Family. It was organized by SOMICLA (Solidarity and Mission Team of the Claretians of the Americas and the Caribbean).
With the theme “From Emmaus to the Americas”, participants shared their personal stories of volunteering in various locations, such as Argentina, Peru, Bolivia, Panama, and Paraguay. The event aimed to inspire and encourage others to join this shared mission, fostering a spirit of solidarity and transformation amongst volunteers.
Led by Luis Valenzuela from Chile and Sister Sandy Veliz RMI, the virtual gathering also featured recorded testimonials that enriched the conversation. These testimonials shared the transformative power of volunteering, highlighting how the experience positively impacted the volunteers and the communities they served.
During the event, participants discussed their experiences, including their initial fears and doubts, the training process, and the challenges of adapting to new environments and encountering Jesus through their volunteer work.
The Claretian Congregation continues to dream of a strong volunteer program in America and other continents, working in solidarity and mission to address injustices and improve the lives of those in need. The organization seeks to deepen collaboration and create new opportunities for transformative experiences among young volunteers. In this way, they will realize the Congregation’s dream for 2027 in its fourth part:
” We dream of a Congregation, audacious and itinerant, that, sent by the Spirit of the Lord (cf. Lk 4:18; Acts 8:28, 39) goes forth towards the peripheries, approaches the youth, walks with them and encourages them to respond to the call of God.” (QC 63). By 2027, we hope to say: “Our pastoral work increasingly encourages young people to personally engage in transforming the world. The missionary volunteering of young people in the peripheries where we find ourselves has grown” (QC 64 e).
The vision for the future includes establishing an open volunteer space in a border area, allowing young people from various regions of America and beyond to join this shared mission. The Congregation also hopes to create a volunteer training school in America, supporting and guiding those who feel called to this life-changing experience.
Elizabeth Navarro, from Costa Rica, addressed young people considering volunteering and asked: “Do you want to be in solidarity? Do you want to meet the living Jesus?” She emphasized the importance of solidarity in a world where it is increasingly scarce and the opportunity to encounter Jesus through the suffering of people in need.
The Claretian Missionaries invite young people worldwide to join their international volunteer program, fostering a shared mission of solidarity, transformation, and love for others.
Source | Emilia Sena, SOMICLA Coordinator