More than one hundred young people from the ARY in Argentina are carrying out a social and evangelizing mission in Victoria (Entre Rios) with families, children, the sick, the elderly and prisoners. “It is about being instruments of God and transmitting it,” they say.
They knock door to door with the best of their smiles, desire to listen and willing to give the Word of God. They visit families, talk, laugh, drink mate and say a prayer together. This is what the simple mission of the Recollect Augustinian Youth (RAY) of Argentina in Victoria (Entre Rios) consists of during this week. All of them dedicate seven days in their vacation period to support the pastoral work of the priests in an extensive territory with many needs and few priests. The young people bring the joy of the Gospel to each family that receives them. They are the “courageous missionaries” of whom Pope Francis speaks in his apostolic exhortation Christus Vivit.
Their mission is simple but “comforting”, as they admit. In the morning, they go to each of the houses of the districts they are entrusted with, most of them families in a situation of poverty or need. Agustín Cardo, member of the ARY Santa Fe, explains his work: “We introduce ourselves, try to know more about them and listen to them, we chat, drink mate and sometimes we end up praying”. Thus in each house, with each family that opens the door to them. Many of them are waiting for your visit and even have prepared mate. “They receive us with much love,” says Agustín. “It’s about being God’s instruments and transmitting it,” he says. In the afternoon, they play games with the children, visit the sick in the hospital, the elderly in the homes or the prisoners in the jails.
This is the second year of the ARY mission in Entre Rios. His first experience was “incredible” because “one ends up being renewed”. This is the fourth year that the Augustinian Recollect Youth carry out their mission in Victoria. In 2017 they asked to be sent wherever they were needed. In the diocese of Gualeguaychú they welcomed him with open arms. At first there were 30 young people, then 50 and 80, until they reached 100 this year. On this occasion, the motto of the ARY mission is “Do not look for what to give, give yourself”.
Three religious came with the young people. The Augustinian Recollect, Juan Pablo Magnanelli, assures us that “it is we (young people and religious) who are being missioned”. “They think that they have come to give something, but in reality we all left strengthened in our faith,” he said.
The hundred young people are divided into two groups of 40 and 60, established in two different points of the city. In each place they sleep as best they can, in the parish halls and in the sacristy. It is not inconvenient when what really moves them is the love for God and for others.