We have been members and active participants of the Missionary Community of Villaregia for over 20 years, since the mission’s foundation in Arecibo. Today, along with other brothers and sisters, we devote a significant portion of our time and commitment to the works of human promotion that the Community supports in Puerto Rico. Why this interest in the social activity of our community?
To understand this, it is enough to look back at what God has accomplished in our couple’s history. We met when we were students. However, it was our involvement in youth ministry that allowed us to get to know each other better. The training we received had a social, political, and community content of high quality; themes deeply rooted in the context of the Latin American Church at that time.
From a young age, we understood the importance of the human person in all their dimensions, not only the spiritual dimension, and, therefore, the importance of promoting their integral development. This helped us better understand the concrete role that, by faith, we assume as missionary disciples of a God who became incarnate, who lived, embraced, and assumed all injustice and oppression upon himself; who loved the poor in a preferential way, and who continues to do all this through us.
The Missionary Community of Villaregia is, for us, the space in which our commitment as a couple towards our brothers and sisters who currently live in old and new forms of poverty is made manifest.
For several years now, we have launched a project aimed at creating micro-enterprises, in order to allow people with limited economic resources to start individual or family businesses. Puerto Rico is a country with very fragile institutions, plunged into an unprecedented economic crisis, and as a result, a large part of the population is in a situation of great social vulnerability and economic inequality. Legal and well-paying job opportunities are very limited. In the city of Arecibo, the official unemployment rate is around 10%, not counting the many workers in the underground economy.
For reasons directly related to the economic situation, over half a million Puerto Ricans (out of a population of 3.5 million) have migrated to the United States in the past 10 years. In this context, our project constitutes a valuable opportunity for many people to receive training and start small businesses.
We dream of creating a new economy for our country, an economy whose center is the person and respect for “our common home,” our planet. For this reason, the training we offer aims to ensure that the new businesses created are managed according to the principles and values of socio-environmental commitment and solidarity.
It is admirable to see that you are working to answer the call of the bishops of Puerto Rico for a more solidarity-based economy and to encourage local development. Your commitment to helping participants in your project identify and discern their dreams and hopes shows that you are deeply concerned about their well-being and success.
It is also impressive that you see your service as a mission, seeking to be with people and helping them to confront their fears and uncertainties. Your community is a true example of compassion and proximity towards others, seeking to support and accompany them in their life journey.
The quote from the woman who participated in the project also shows the importance of your service for those who benefit from it. Your work is a source of inspiration and encouragement for them, helping them find the necessary strength to continue pursuing their dreams and shaping their future.
Continue your admirable work to build a more just, fraternal, and solidarity-based society. Your contribution can only make a difference for those in need.