A Trip to Mocoa, Colombia

Last April, the city of Mocoa, which lies some 500 km south of Bogota, was overwhelmed by fierce floods. But from all the mud and sorrow life is been reborn.

20170525-01Elizabeth and Allejandra from the focolare in Bogota write: “We went to Mocoa with Fr Juan Carlos Almario, a priest and a focolarino, to take money collected by the Focolare community of Colombia

We were there in the name of the entire Focolare family. We brought with us the love, prayers and concrete assistance not only from the community in Colombia but also from many parts of the world that had become involved in this tragedy.”

“Several priests from the Movement – pastors from Mocoa – welcomed us warmly. Then we met the people. Every one of them had a painful story to tell linked to the recent catastrophe, and we wept with them.”  

They recalled the  night of April 1st, the mudslides and the “race to love” that  broke out among them in reaching the victims. The priests and their bishop, Luis Maldonado, along with other parish priests, organised to help for the wounded in the hospitals, to welcome families in search of loved ones and to bury the dead…

Then, with the help of other parishioners they set up a canteen to provide meals for people who were without water and electricity, and to share with the relief workers. They organised the aid as it arrived, so that they could be distributed to those in need.

20170525-02“We wanted to keep in our hearts the topic that the entire Movement is focusing on this year, and it seemed so in tune with the situation we found ourselves in: Jesus Forsaken.” In the spontaneous communion that was born, each one of us sought to see the suffering that was being experienced, seeing in it a face of the infinite suffering Jesus experienced on the Cross, which gives meaning to so much suffering.” One of the priests said, that the lunchtimes spent together were like an “oases” which managed to detach him from the nightmare.

“Later, together with Fr Oscar, we travelled around the places that were hit by the mudslides, some areas were completely wiped out. Others had been turned into cemeteries with houses demolished by huge boulders, with uprooted trees everywhere.

The love, prayers and assistance reached all the way to Mocoa as it goes through this living hell, and it helped to uplift the victims of this tragedy somewhat.

The trip also included a visit to the city of Neiva in southern Colombia: “We wanted to visit our local Focolare community and, with them, to prepare for the upcoming Mariapolis that will be held in July at an archaeological park where there are intact remains of some of the most ancient indigenous cultures.” Amidst the pain and suffering of natural distaster, the Focolare in Colombia is focused on the future.

See also:News from Colombia