Easter Sunday at the mission parish was a day of prayer, processing in the streets, dancing, family and friends. Easter is also the parish’s feast day, whose title, the Church of “Jesucristo Resucitado,” means “Jesus Christ is Risen.” Celebrating the hope of the Resurrection has been a vital source of strength for parishioners who feel discouraged and suffer from the country’s ongoing political unrest.

Holy Week in Venezuela was a tumultuous time with riots and protests that only continue to escalate. Large numbers opposed to the government are calling for President Maduro to step down. You can read more about these protests by clicking here: Venezuela Protests Explained.

A member of the mission parish, when asked how she is dealing with everything going on in the country, explained, “The truth is that all of us are affected, because this situation is difficult and the government does not want to hold any elections–which would be the best non-violent way out of this disaster. It is very sad what is happening, but we trust in God that he will guide us on the road of truth and bring us to a solution.”

Many in the country continue to go hungry and are without access to proper medical care. At the mission parish in San Felix, many look to the Church for support. The priests at the mission parish, Fr. Greg Schaffer and Fr. James Peterson, as well as many lay leaders, go out daily to visit different neighborhoods and homes simply to be present with the people, offer Mass and prayer, and provide practical support. The parish soup kitchen and medical clinic are also available to anyone in the community. Many local parishes and schools from the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis have gathered basic supplies for the mission parish that Fr. Greg and Fr. James bring to Venezuela to distribute to those most in need.

Despite being hard-pressed for food and basic necessities, the people are marked by a profound hope and faith. Fr. Greg remarked that this year’s Holy Week services had “record numbers” of people participating. The joy and hope of Christ’s Resurrection truly is their strength. In solidarity, let us remember the mission parish and the country of Venezuela in our thoughts and prayers.

Blessing 1 - Fr. Greg

Easter Procession 4

Celebrating Easter - Dancers 6

Celebrating Easter - Dancers pose

Celebrating Easter - Dancers 2