ACI Prensa Staff, Jul 19, 2023 / 14:30 pm (CNA).
One thousand student volunteers from the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile (UC) attended a July 14 sendoff Mass offered by Santiago Auxiliary Bishop Álvaro Chordi as they set off for missions projects in various parts of the country over their winter break.
There are four mission projects designated as Life, Work, UC Planting, and Choral. The students will spend part of their vacations on construction, building community, and serving those who need it most in 39 areas of the country, from Copiapó in the north to Puerto Montt in the south, a span of 1,100 miles.
Organized by campus ministry of the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, the missions began July 14 and go through July 23.
At the sendoff ceremony, Chordi encouraged the young people to be happy, faithful, and fruitful, being “bridges in a country that needs them so much.”
“You are about to start these missions and works, which are a path of service, prayer, and fraternity. Remember that you are sent by Jesus, who carries a message of life, hope, and peace,” the prelate told the young volunteers.
“I invite you to unite and sanctify our country, which we need so much; that you unite the country, that you be ministers of reconciliation in the face of so much polarization; that you be very prayerful and compassionate, and that you allow yourselves to be converted,” he said.
The Work volunteers will build chapels, parish halls, and a plaza for community gatherings.
The young people participating in the Life mission will seek to build relationships centered on Christ, continuing the project begun with families living in “campamentos” (makeshift settlements) with whom they have previously worked.
The UC Planting volunteers adjusted their dates to coincide with the school calendar and will go on missions for three weekends.
The senior chaplain of UC, Father Jorge Merino, thanked the young people for participating in the missions and for their willingness to go out to meet those most in need.
“I would like to thank you for having accepted this call from the Lord but also for the witness of joy that you give us, for having met Jesus and wanting to share that joy with others,” he said.
The director of UC campus ministry, Benjamín Cruz, told the students that “the leadership of young people shows us, once again, that we are a lively and enthusiastic Church that wants to contribute to the challenges that society demands of us.”
The missions and the works, he noted, are “an instance of sharing God’s message and also a life experience, which undoubtedly contributes to our students in their personal and professional lives.”
This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.
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