From Colombia to the Synod on the Family


FamigliaRojas_PapaFrancesco - CopyThey have been married for 23 years and have two teenage sons. Raised in Catholic families, they met in the Focolare Movement to which they still belong. “We had worked in the past with a group of other young people in a marginalised quarter on the periphery of Bogota,” they recounted in their testimony at the Synod assembly. “We played with the children, taught the adults how to read, and offered free medical and dental assistance. They were talking about the Los Chircales quarter where the Centro Sociale Unidad is headquartered: “Obstacles were not lacking,” the Colombian couple who spoke at the Synod  the family, said, “beginning from our concern for our personal well-being, and the fear of going into those rundown neighbourhoods and slums. But the desire to serve those brothers and sisters was more powerful than our fragility.”

FamigliaRojas_PapaFrancesco_b“We married and the grace of the sacrament soon began to manifest itself.” They are very different from one another: Luis, “the calm type”, Maria Angélica “a volcano”. “We knew that human love easily vanishes. The years go by and the initial enchantment diminishes. For this reason it was important for us to bulk up on God’s love, which taught us to love in the small things of everyday life.” Luis admitted: “For me that means not waiting to be waited on, but rather to help out washing the dishes, or to listen more attentively when she wants to tell me something. On her part, M. Angélica watches the Formula 1 with me..”   

By nourishing ourselves on the Eucharist, approaching the sacrament of Confession and remaining in this relationship of mutual love, we experience that Jesus becomes present in our midst, and then we have the light to raise our sons, and the strength to face the inevitable difficulties that come our way.”

“A short time ago we had a rather strong conversation and the unity between us was shattered. That night, we went to bed without apologising to each other” (one of the three things that Pope Francis says should never be done in the life of a couple): “I telephoned Lucho,” M. Angélica recounts, “and told him I was sorry for having answered him so awfully. Then it turned into an opportunity to begin again loving every time we fail.”

Together with bishops and priests from several cities in Colombia, and with other families and young people, they organized a series of visits to several poor communities; “The idea was to share our experiences and offer some formation as a family. Some of the couples confided their desire to receive the sacrament of matrimony.”

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Interview with Rome Reports

With the engaged couples we find that, thanks to our nearness to them, several young people have made the courageous decision to choose God as the centre of their lives, of living things like chastity in their relationship as a couple, dedicating time and energy in reaching out and living for others.”

They concluded: “Our experience seems to confirm that ‘as the family goes, so goes society’. We know that families are called to greatness, and that’s why we pray to the Holy Family every day for the grace to remain faithful to love, so that we can be builders of a more human and at the same time more divine society. Our dream is that with the contribution of everyone, the human family may really become family.”

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