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Evangelizing the Guaraní Villages of Argentina
| APOSTOLATE | NEWS
Youth for the Third Millennium and Missionary Families for the Third Millennium of Argentina evangelized among the Guaraní natives, heirs of the missions of old dating from the XVII century.

Misiones entre los guaraníes
Blessing the image of Our Lady given to the Guaraní village of Catupurí by Missionary Families for the Third Millennium.
"Peoples everywhere, open the doors to Christ!" (Redemptoris Missio 3). Deep within the thick forests of "the Reductions", as it was once called due to the fruitful work of many a Jesuit father among the Guaraní Indians four centuries ago, Youth for the Third Millennium and Missionary Families for the Third Millennium went on a mission during their summer vacation (it is now summer in Argentina, in the southern hemisphere). It was an inspiring location, knowing that these lands were one of the birthplaces of Christianity in the New World.

There were two sets of missions, one in January for whole families who wanted to spread the good news together and one in February for young people. Both groups began their missions with a Mass at the esplanade of St. Ignacio Mini, a mission territory rich in history and ruins. It is one of thirty mission communities established by the Jesuits and became home to more than 100,000 Guaraní Indians during the XVII century.

The families and young people shared the Gospel with these same Guaraní peoples who, after the Jesuits
Misiones entre los guaraníes
Young Argentine missionaries in a Guaraní village.
were suppressed in 1767, moved further and further into the forest awaiting the return of the missionaries. These new missionaries experienced a simpler lifestyle where people live by the side of rivers, speak their own dialects and many times make do without running water, gas, telephones or electricity. They live in small huts, eat what they cultivate and make their own tools, which at times they sell to tourists.

It surprised the missionaries that the Guaranies still live a very authentic Christian culture, even though they have not received any outside Christian formation for 250 years: they all have Christian names, many times according to the patron saint of their birthday, they sing songs in Guaraní that were translated from Latin by a famous German Jesuit priest, Father Sepp. Many of their crafts are religious such as crucifixes, mangers, and statues of Jesus. It gives
Misiones entre los guaraníes
The missionaries shared their faith and their joy.
the impression that you are in a slumbering Christian village longing to be awakened.

The most important moment of the mission was the first baptism. It took place in a village that had received missionary visits for three years. No one in the village had been baptized. This baptism opened the door of grace encouraging other Guaranies to come forward seeking the waters of life. It was very exciting to see the young missionaries teaching the faith with symbols, images and Bible phrases in the Guaraní dialect, with the help of translators. The young missionaries prepared the ceremony, decorated the altar and were even the Godparents. One month after this first baptism, God inspired six other young men to come forward and receive the sacrament
Misiones entre los guaraníes
Father Arturo Díaz, LC, performs one of the first baptisms in the village.
as well.

Missionary Families for the Third Millennium brought an image of our Blessed Mother to the mission and the Guaranies made a little house out of reeds for it. Father Arturo Díaz, LC, blessed the image and everyone prayed for our Lady of Guadalupe and St. Juan Diego to intercede for the evangelization of the indigenous peoples and that the mission may bear fruit.

Keeping with tradition all of the missionaries visited the Iguazú waterfalls at the conclusion of the missions. A number of missionaries commented that it was a profound experience of the Legion and Regnum Christi partaking in the new evangelization of the world for Christ.


PUBLICATION DATE: 2003-03-10


 

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