“The course helped me immensely, both in my personal life, as well as giving me resources to help others.” “It fulfilled my expectations, because now I can accompany my family and other people better.” “I can say, with great joy that the course was a great personal and matrimonial experience … to be better spouses, better parents and definitely, as a family.”
These are just some of the positive comments of the 24 participants (13 women and 11 men) in the course given by Ms. Liliana Yataco and Ms. Esther Nova of the Instituto Pastoral de la Familia (INFAM) during the Summer Pastoral School of the Deanery of Peñalolén in Santiago, Chile.
INFAM is headquartered in the Centro de Patricio Peyton, which is located within the boundaries of the Congregation’s Señor de la Esperanza Parish in Canto Grande, Peru. The center bears the name of the Servant of God, Fr. Patrick Peyton, C.S.C., who founded Family Rosary Crusade, which is part of Holy Cross Family Ministries.
As part of Holy Cross Family Ministries, INFAM has been creatively reaching out to families living in the extensive urban area of Canto Grande with activities aimed at prevention, strengthening, accompanying, and intervention. This year INFAM celebrates 20 years of service. Its participation in the Summer Pastoral School in Chile represents a potential new, international chapter in its ministry.
Ms. Yataco and Ms. Nova were enthusiastic about the experience. In their report, they said, “The themes of the course focused on the reality of families today, the relations among family members, the relations of parents with their children, love in matrimony, crisis of couples, themes of counseling, as well as giving some practical technics for different situations.
“The group of participants demonstrated much enthusiasm, perseverance, and what made the course even richer, they shared many personal experiences [as couples and as families]. We hope to continue connected with the group, and for this we are forming a working-group, using the social network of communications in order to coordinate and support the work,” they continued.
To orientate the course, Ms. Yataco and Ms. Nova used extensively the Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Francis, Amoris Laetitia. Everyone felt that the time passed too quickly, and hope was placed on continuing what was begun with the working group.
Ms. Yataco and Ms. Nova’s visit to Chile went far beyond simply giving a course in the Summer Pastoral School. That opportunity served as the springboard to a wider and deeper exchange, which, in turn, planted seeds of future collaboration between the mission of the Congregation in Peru and Chile.
Ms. Yataco and Ms. Nova participated in a number of meetings to know what the Church in Chile is doing in the area of protection of children, special catechism for handicapped persons, and children at risk. They also visited St. George’s College, where they visited the summer “Colonias” for children from different popular neighborhoods of Santiago, including those of San Roque Parish. Fr. Pepe Tomei, C.S.C., showed them the Parish of Nuestra Señora de Andacollo and explained the different apostolic and social works done there.
Back in Peñalolén, Ms. Yataco and Ms. Nova conversed in detail with Carola Gana, the Director of FUNDAMOR, to know the work and the mission of this ministry of Holy Cross in the rescue and rehabilitation of children at risk. They exchanged ideas and the challenges of strengthening families today. Later, with Br. Donald Kuchenmeister, C.S.C., they were given a complete briefing on the mission of “La Fuente” in accompanying elderly adults, some of whom live completely alone.
Time was also devoted to visiting a number of important social programs in the Municipality of Peñalolén. This included a visit to the municipality itself and a long conversation with the persons in charge of different social programs, as well as a meeting with the Executive Director of the Corporation of the Municipality, which oversees 15 public schools, and six health clinics.
At the end of the two weeks, everyone agreed that this was a great blessing for all, and hopefully will be the beginning of much-shared work and mutual support.
“We are grateful to the organizers of the summer school and to the Congregation for giving us the opportunity to share our work and our experiences in INFAM, as this also helps us to know other realities and to grow in our knowledge,” wrote Ms. Yataco and Ms. Nova.
INFAM’s participation in the Summer Pastoral School in Peñalolén, as well as the wider visit of Ms. Yataco and Ms. Nova to Santiago, is not an outlier. It comes as a part of a wider and growing collaboration between Holy Cross in Chile and Peru.
Currently, the Congregation’s mission in Peru and Chile is carried out by two separate jurisdictions (the District of Chile and the District of Peru), both of which fall under the stewardship of the United States Province of Priests and Brothers.
Yet, for the first time in their history, the two districts share the same superior, Fr. José Ahumada, C.S.C. Also, a long history of collaboration between the two districts has been deepened in recent years. For example, in 2016, the rectors of the Congregation’s Colegio Nuestra Señora de Andacollo in Santiago, Chile, and Colegio Fe y Alegría in Canto Grande, Peru, each made a visit to the other country to meet and exchange ideas.
Moreover, these exchanges between Peru and Chile are part of a wider and deepening collaboration between all the regions where the Congregation serves in Latin America. The fruits from these collaborations, including the recent participation of INFAM in the Summer Pastoral School in Chile, give great hope and enthusiasm to what the future of this collaboration might be.
“It was the first time INFAM has made a presentation in Santiago,” said Fr. Daniel Panchot, C.S.C., Pastor of San Roque Parish, which is located in the Deanery of Peñalolén, “and its success shows how we can use the different Holy Cross institutions and personnel to enrich the apostolates and the mission of Holy Cross in Latin America.”
Special thanks to Fr. Daniel Panchot, C.S.C., Pastor of San Roque Parish in Peñalolén, Chile, for his collaboration with this article.