New church in Medellin del Ariari commemorates victims of violence
The Catholic faithful of Medellin del Ariari is eagerly looking forward to their new church. Thanks to the generosity of our benefactors, ACN was able to contribute 30,000 Euros towards this project, and now the new church is nearly finished. This parish in the diocese of Granada is some 350 miles (600 km) southeast of the other Medellin, Colombia‘s second city, and was established only in 2013. In fact, it is not really a “normal“ parish but has been designated as a special place of remembrance for all the victims of the violence in the country since 1980. The people of this region had the first-hand experience of the terrible suffering which afflicted the entire country during that time. Between 2002 and 2006 no fewer than 700 families were driven from their villages in the area of the present parish. Some of them have since returned, but much still has to be done to rebuild all the social infrastructure and above all the people‘s trust and hope in the future.
The new church is intended not just as a memorial but at the same time as a place of healing, reconciliation and peace. Many of those traumatised by past events, including victims and family members alike, will be given special pastoral and psychological support. The central focus will be on the respect for and protection of life, which was so terribly trampled on in the past. The three Claretian priests who are based in this centre will be making every effort to ensure that the life of these people is re-established on a solid footing and adequately protected.
Father Alphonso María Prieto has contacted us to say that the Church is now roughly 70% complete and that Holy Mass can already be celebrated there. He writes, „Thanks to your generosity, we will be able to proceed with this work without any great delay. It is by no means a luxurious church, but it is very beautiful, as befits our Lord and God who gives us every good gift. Our community will find in this church a very beautiful and welcoming place of spiritual refuge which will at the same time be a living memorial to the many martyrs and victims of violence from sadder and darker times and above all a source of hope for a future in justice and peace. Many thanks!“