Guatemala City, Guatemala, September 2, 2018
With the slogan "Neither here nor there, we are citizens of the world" hundreds of people came to celebrate the XXV Festival of Brotherhood and Peace, within the framework of the National Day of the Migrant. This celebration coincided with the 25th anniversary of the presence and work of the Scalabrinian Mission in Guatemala and the Central American Region, at the service of migrants and refugees.
One of the objectives of the event was to thank the country for allowing the Missionaries to accompany thousands of migrants in their journey. Also, to celebrate the cultural and economic contribution that they bring to the country that hosts them.
The festival began with a Mass concelebrated by several Scalabrinian priests such as Mons. Adilson Busin, Auxiliary Bishop of Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul. Fr. Miguel A Álvarez Galindo, Provincial Superior, Fr. Mario Geremia, Representative of SIMN in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Fr. Isaldo Antonio Bettin and Fr. Valdecir Molinari, who together with Fr. Mario Verzeletti, Regional Director of SIMN and Director of the Casa del Migrante Guatemala, took the opportunity to celebrate his 25 years of priestly and Scalabrinian missionary life. Fr. Humberto Barrios, Director of the Scalabrini Seminary, among others also participated in the Eucharist. In the event you could taste appetizers from Nicaragua, Brazil, Ecuador, El Salvador, Mexico and Guatemala, and everybody danced with Caribbean rhythms, in a great celebration.
After the Eucharist, a Press Conference was held, with the participation of Mr. Jordán Rodas Andrade, Human Rights Ombudsman of Guatemala, who acknowledged the work of protection and defense of human rights, which the Missionaries carried out in the country and concluded by saying that the State of Guatemala is in debt with the migrants.
Fr. Mauro Verzeletti, mentioned, “that during these 25 years, the Scalabrinian Missionaries have been present at the most critical moments in the history of the Central American people, as in Hurricane Mitch, and in the largest deportations in the history of the Region.” Likewise, he pledged to continue working to protect the rights of people fleeing natural disasters, poverty and conflict in their countries of origin and to protect migrants during their travels.
To conclude, Fr. Verzeletti called on the government of President Jimmy Morales and the Congress of the Republic to care for the poor and develop Public Policies to prevent forced migration.
*Photographs by Alejandra Altán, Felipe Bautista and Samuel Gaitán from the Casa del Migrante Guatemala.