Throughout Venezuela there is an evil haunting all families these days: hunger.
At the Church of St. Peter Claver, a saint venerated throughout the Americas as a champion of human rights, Pope Francis offered special prayers for Venezuela and its people suffering in the midst of a huge political and economic crisis.
Many of the missioners — whether short-term or long-term — are willing and able to continue to minister to, and with, the Hispanic/Latino communities in the St. Cloud Diocese by celebrating Masses, performing the sacraments and providing pastoral ministry.
Amid political turmoil in Venezuela, Father Ben Kociemba, associate director of vocations for the Diocese of St. Cloud, traveled to the country to visit a priest friend he met while studying in seminary.
The Venezuelan bishops have rejected the constituent assembly election in a seven-point communique and urged the country’s armed forces to avoid more deaths in the streets.
The Venezuelan council of the bishops’ conference said in a statement released July 27 stating the referendum is illegal and will only increase the suffering of the Venezuelan people.
In the villages of Venezuela, the number of children suffering from malnutrition has risen to 48 percent and there are the classic images of starvation for children under 5 years of age.
Amidst anti-government protests in Venezuela which turned deadly after March 29, when the Venezuelan Supreme Court ruled to dissolve the country’s parliament, Pope Francis called for an end to the bloodshed.