Diseño sin título (1)

 “How far will our ingenuity, excitement and longing fly?
I would love to find the heirs of our great hopes,…”[1]

While reading these words from Fe y Alegría’s founder, Father José María Vélaz, I read between the lines that he dreamt of transcendence, and this has led me to remember all of my “experiences of encounter” as a woman and a missionary among children, youth, parents and teachers, who are the key actors within Fe y Alegría Ecuador. With all of them I have shared moments of joy, worry, sadness and the risk of taking on new challenges for the good of the community.

In our constant search for something bigger, you may ask, how is spirituality lived as a son, daughter, father, mother, brother or sister, according to our own personal and community context? For us, the participation of youth from the Educational Centers run by Fe y Alegría Ecuador is key. For this reason, spaces for local, regional and national meetings of the CEFA Youth Leadership Movement have been organized for several years with the purpose of influencing the transformation of Ecuadorian society. This has involved the development of formative processes integrated into the daily life of students in order to strengthen the critical and proactive awareness of its members.

Their witness shows that despite their own suffering, they continue to be prophets of their own time at the service of others, living out the motto, “Be more to serve better[2]”.

The accompaniment of young people and their families has been a privilege and honor for me. Not everyone is invited to enter the lives of youth to learn from them and give what we have. If we bear in mind the words of Jesus: “What you do for my brother or sister, you do for me,” service as a mission of humanity is calling out to us.

Life always has a way of showing us new paths, which are never expected.  In the month of November this year, I was invited to share my pastoral work in Fe y Alegría Ecuador with students from the Jesuit school, Georgetown Prep, in the United States. These young people were fully convinced of their call to social justice. Their simplicity, their willingness to learn and to read the signs of the times, revealed to me their spirituality and the transcendence of God in their decision to “Be more to serve better.” I gained a life lesson, that nothing is impossible when you encounter the other with respect and reverence, to share experiences…you never leave the same as before.

Therefore, we invite you to take this risk, to love our neighbor anywhere in the world, because “we build together the hope of God, which is justice, life and love.”[3] Thanks for your support to Fe y Alegría Internacional!

Written by Saskia Alquinga, BVM