Can prayer illuminate our lives and cities? The answer is yes. This was reflected in the first Nightfever event in held in the country of Chile.
What is Nightfever? It is a night of evangelization where a church stays open late in the heart of the city, in this case the Rancagua Cathedral, and passers-by are approached by missionaries and invited to light a candle in front of the Eucharist, spending a moment in prayer. The missionaries were surprised by the response as more than 50 people accepted this invitation for Christ to be, for a moment, the center of their lives.
The evening of prayer was organized by Alonso Sánchez Piñero, an RC Mission Corps missionary, along with the students several high schools. He explains why they did it, “If you take God to the heart of the people, you change their lives and the hearts of the people around them.”
This was the first time that a Nightfever event was done in Chile. Alonso is originally from Spain and he is spending a year as an RC Mission Corps missionary in Chile. He had experienced Nightfever in Spain and thought it would be a great initiative in Chile as well.
Regnum Christi in Chile interviewed Alonso Sánchez Piñero about how the idea came about. Alonso explained: “I had experienced Nightfever in Valencia, Spain, as well as similar apostolates like A light in the night. I liked it a lot because it seemed an activity that is open to all kinds of people, and you have the chance to really go out to meet people where they are. It’s also a direct experience of prayer with God. I was pleasantly surprised that in this country there is a great social commitment to help others, building houses, etc… however, sometimes the spiritual poverty is greater than material poverty, and that is why I thought that a more spiritual apostolate would be a nice alternative. We must not forget that it is God who touches the hearts of people, it is he who can change their lives and give it meaning. I shared the idea with the high school students of La Cruz School, and they received it well right from the start. They thought it was very beautiful, that it could change people’s lives, and that it could bring more people to Christ.”
Many of the missionaries showed up for the event not knowing how people would react when they approached them, however, from the first moment God touched the hearts of the people of Rancagua and many participated with joy in this evening of prayer.
Several of the students and passers-by also gave testimonies:
Juan: “I was going by and listening to music. The signs outside the cathedral caught my attention. I entered out of curiosity. I was excited to participate because I wondered, if I am not with God, who am I with? For me, it was a very good experience of meeting people and helping others.”
Barbara: “It has been a wonderful experience because I was able to pray and go to confession. The priest made me see that the Church accepts us, with our defects and virtues, that God always forgives us, and that we must give our lives to Him.”
Lucas: “It’s a very powerful experience, but at the same time it fills your heart. You feel very connected to God. I am currently living through some personal problems, but the priest opened my horizons and gave me solutions that are really possible, which I will seriously take into consideration.”
You can read the original on the Chilean Regnum Christi site.