“The situation in our country is very difficult. Hyperinflation has made food and other basic goods become so expensive that even if they have money, Venezuelans live in poverty.” These are the words of Ángel Colmenares, a young priest who lives in Catia La Mar, a coastal city on the outskirts of Caracas, the capital of Venezuela.
Until recently, most people in Catia La Mar made their living working in the tourism industry. The beaches in Catia La Mar, by the Caribbean Sea, would continuously attract thousands of tourists. However, since 2014, insecurity has made the city not attractive anymore, bringing even more misery. Since tourists simply choose another beach destination, those who suffer most are the locals themselves.
“Despite the terrible situation in Venezuela, I have decided to become a priest to serve my country,” Fr. Angel states.
Serving everyone, 24 hours a day.
Fr. Angel’s work as a priest directly affects the lives of his parishioners. They pray together, they celebrate Mass together, and have joined forces to make sure nobody in the parish lacks the means to cover basic living expenses. They even try to distribute hot meals, whenever possible.
“I ask God to give me the strength to be his witness, and to stand with my people,” he says.
Although the situation is extremely difficult, Fr. Angel maintains hope: “We may lack material goods,” he acknowledges, “but they cannot take away our dignity.”
Day by day, this priest walks the streets of his parish, sharing, listening, and serving all those who ask for help. The sacraments always reach those who need and ask for them.
“I am convinced that God does not abandon his children”
Amid poverty and facing an uncertain future, Fr. Angel is still convinced that “God does not abandon his children. I can see his love and his work in the daily lives of our communities,” he says. His formula is a simple, yet deep one: “Faith gives us the strength we need to persevere in such a difficult situation.”
The work of Fr. Angel would not be possible without the support he and his parish receive through Aid to the Church in Need But ACN’s collaboration is possible thanks to the Gifts of Faith of many. These gifts are donations received from all around the world, which help priests who, like Fr. Angel, live a life of service in their respective communities.
Do you want to help priests like Fr. Angel this Christmas? Doing it is very easy: simply trade a regular, material gift for a Gift of Faith by sending a donation to Aid to the Church in Need. You can do it in your own name or on behalf of someone else.
By making a Gift of Faith, Christmas will be different for those who receive your help, but also for you Visit www.acnmalta.org/giftsoffaith to find out more.