Invitation to Astorga

www Astorga 580

Madrid, 21 February 2017

Dear Confreres, Lay Collaborators and Young People

For the fifth consecutive year, the Secretariat for Evangelisation offers Christian accompaniment on the Camino de Santiago at CASA ACC SAN ALFONSO in Astorga. The small international community (8 people maximum per week) will assist pilgrims who pass through Astorga on their way to Santiago in July and August. This missionary experience responds to two purposes:

A) it seeks to answer for the call of Pope Francis for a New Evangelization, by creating new spaces for the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ the Redeemer with creativity and courage;

B) it also seeks to respond to the priorities of the Conference of Redemptorists of Europe, by establishing a common European space for youth and young adult ministry.

The activity of the international community will begin on July 1 and end on August 20. The mission of our community is to develop a Christian Welcome for the pilgrims who pass through Astorga. We are doing this in communion with the inter-diocesan network which wishes to strengthen the Christian roots on this Pilgrim Way through spiritual help for pilgrims. The community will be composed of Redemptorists and Lay people from the Province of Madrid and other Redemptorist Units. So far we have received the applications from the Redemptorists in England, France and Germany.

  1. Is it necessary to know foreign languages? Many pilgrims speak Spanish, but it would be excellent that people who speaks English  be present in each week. German and Italian are also very useful languages in our work. Thank God today many lay people and in special way  young people are speaking foreign languages. Of course Redemptorists, who speak other languages, should communicate with the community of Astorga.
  2. The task of coordinating the community each week is given to the Spanish Redemptorists. They will be responsible for the relationship with the Redemptorist community in Astorga and will coordinate the work of the volunteers.
  3. Do Redemptorists need to be young? Any Redemptorist of any age will be a great gift for us. The Redemptorists can serve with the Sacrament of Reconciliation, they can lead the pilgrims’ prayers and they can share our charism with youth and the laity. But the main task of the volunteer is to welcome, to talk, to inform and to dialogue with the pilgrims.
  4. What can lay volunteers do in Astorga? They can commit one or two weeks of their life by sharing their experiences with the other members of the international community and with the pilgrims. The main work for them is to greet and to inform pilgrims about various possibilities prepared for them. The lay people will work on the streets of Astorga and in our Church and will help during the evening prayer services. Each day will finish with prayer and with the blessing of the pilgrims (about 20:30). Our volunteers will collaborate also with the neighboring Hostel and with the Hospital of the “Five Wounds”, where they will help in the center of Caritas for handicapped people. Our community offers accommodation. This year, the Volunteer Group will prepare the meals for themselves in the kitchen of the House of St. Alphonsus. Each volunteer must pay only for his trips to and from Astorga.
  5. Is it necessary to have some preparation? The evaluations of the experiences from previous years, tells us that it is very important to create community among the volunteers and to prepared them for this service. Therefore, all those who want to join this community should participate in the training meeting which will take place at the Casa del Perpetuo Socorro, c / Manuel Silvela, 14, Madrid on 10 and 11 June 2017. The volunteers who participated in the previous years in this work in Astorga will share their experiences with us.
  6. When should we enroll? We invite Redemptorists who want to participate to sign up before the 1st of May. We will open the enrolment of lay people from the 1st of May, and the deadline for the them is before 9 of June (one day before the preparatory meeting).

Below you can find the email address for registration:

Thank you and we are waiting for you.

In the Redeemer,

Víctor Ballesteros, C.Ss.R.

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