Valera (Venezuela). From 9 to 21 December 2023, fifteen young people from St. John Bosco Province (VEN), coming from different cities of the country, lived in Valera, in the State of Trujillo, at the Vocational Guidance Center of the Community O. L. of Peace, the experience “Welcoming God with us” in preparation for Christmas.

Eight of them were the young women who are doing volunteer work in some FMA communities in Venezuela – Caracas, San Felix, Puerto Ayacucho, Isla del Raton, Coro, Barquisimeto, Valencia, and Valera – while the other seven were young people of the State of Trujillo followed by the Sisters of the Valera Center.

The House “completed the Christmas decorations” on December 9 with the arrival of the young volunteers who, through various accompanying dynamics, made a synthesis of the first period lived in the Communities.

On 15 December, other young people of Trujillo joined this “Christmas caravan”, whose main objective was to know and deepen the symbols of Christmas starting from the aspects of human maturity: formation to love and life, authenticity, acceptance of limitations and potentialities, capacity for dialogue and forgiveness, sense of humor and gratitude, solidarity and joy, encounter with God in Jesus.

The accompaniment of Sister Zoraida Duque, Animator of the Community, and the interventions of Sister Juanita Guerrero, Sister Gladys Bonilla, and Sister Libya Osorio, the individual talks with Sister María Eugenia Ramos, Provincial of Venezuela, and the attentive presence of Sister Marisol Docampo, have been fundamental in enabling young people to deepen their religious and Christian roots through the Christmas customs of their families and of those they have been able to encounter during visits to families in neighborhoods close to the Community, where they had the mission to bring the Word of God and bless families and Nativity scenes.

Other significant experiences that allowed them to approach the God of the small and the humble have been participation in parrandas, carriage rides, novenas, posadas house-to-house processions with the Holy Family in search of a place to give birth to Jesus, and the Masses of ‘aguinaldo’ in preparation for Christmas, a Venezuelan Christmas tradition.

On 21 December, after a half-day retreat in which the young women internalized what they had lived, learned, and discovered through the dynamics of Christmas boxes, they opened them to share their experiences:

From the Candle-Light, I make the commitment to continue to illuminate the lives of others, to bring to light those aspects that are still in darkness, to recognize for what reasons I want to continue to consume myself and no longer want to consume myself. From the star, the desire to remain, to leave a mark and not a wound in the world, to shed light on the experiences and realities of my life, and not remain indifferent to them. (Eusibeth)

I take with me the smile of my companions, seeing that every young person is a mission to accomplish, in addition to the formation of pastors and evangelization. (José Antonio)

I bring with me the smiles of children, the Word of God, joy, respect, the ability to rediscover the true meaning of Christmas, formation, and all the moments spent with the Sisters, volunteers, missionaries, and the community. I will preserve the memory of my first mission and my first Christmas novena. (Yoselin)

Knowing some aspects of myself and others in moments of formation. Experience tenderness and see Jesus in the faces of the children of the Oratory and of the people we visited in the homes. (Francia)

I wish to remove from my heart all that belongs to the world and to leave it free, so that the Child may be born in a pure space. (Adriana)

It is time to start forgiving, to reconcile with myself and with God, to start saying “Yes” to God and to live the Gospel. (Valentina)

My inner child, my happiness, companionship, friendship, missions. (Liliexi)

Evangelization, the moments of formation in which I associated the symbols of Christmas with my reality, and fraternal sharing. (Arianny)

The FMA and the team that made possible the experience “Welcoming God with us”, are grateful to God for having been able to accompany the young in their journey of human growth and, above all, in the encounter with Jesus.


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