JUSTICE & PEACE – “The Betania-Santa Martha House”

From the emergence of Covid-19, in the year 2020 to the present moment, it has been difficult for all of us. The situation has impacted our SSpS sisters and the SVD brothers and priests, as well as the communities which we serve. Then , when everything seemed to improve, the tragic war in Ukraine brought death and suffering to millions more people, whose human rights and dignity have been trampled upon. In the midst of all this (Nov, 2021),I was appointed the coordinator of Justice and Peace and Integrity of Creation for the Western Province. Given these peculiar circumstances, I was a bit surprised.

However, I take my inspiration from the Gospel message which we receive every day at Mass. This helps me to rethink our missionary vocation in the light of our everyday circumstances. By responding in positive ways I know I am growing in our SVD spirituality. In our present world of uncertainties, one thing is for certain, namely: we can always rely on the Gospel to point us in the right direction. Not only will it help us to become more and more like our Father in heaven, it will also help us to become more divinely human like our Lord Jesus.

This was the situation when I started as JPIC coordinator and I adapted to it. I started working together with the coordinators of USC and USS, and the SSpS and with lay persons of good will. Early on I began to circulate awareness talks and regular emails about the work of our international VIVAT brothers and sisters. I am especially interested in their work with migrants and refugees and have been forwarding these to all the confreres so that they know their real and very difficult situations.

Ever since I started as a JPIC coordinator, I have maintained a strong and fruitful connection with our brothers and sisters working in the mission fields. We have been engaged in online dialogues and have exchanged many informative memos to cultivate this collaboration because I am completely committed to projects that directly support those in our mission fields.

Another of my priorities is to do all I can to help meet the basic needs of children and adolescents who live in situations of great emotional and social vulnerability. I have had the honor of collaborating with institutions that protect refugee children in the Bay Area. We collect winter clothing and foodstuffs for these unfortunate youth. We have also collaborated in activities outside the USA. One that I am proud of is that we got a much-needed transportation vehicle for the Hogar Madre Teresa de Calcutta in Argentina. On the other side of the globe, my colleagues and I have helped the children who live in the garbage dumps of Cebu in the Philippines. We help distribute food packages of rice, fish, noodles, and milk. Their future depends on their access to education, so we also help them to get scholarships. To top it off, we also helped to build a playground in one of the housing projects managed by our SVDs.

The Betania-Santa Martha house, which is managed by the SSpS sisters and Verbitas, offers a shelter, a resting stop for migrants who pass through the community of Salto de Agua Chiapas. These migrants are desperate and have many urgent needs. They come from places further south like Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Venezuela. They travel great distances over harsh terrain, where they are exposed to the elements and the cruelty of the people they meet. Yet, they are very determined and walk together encouraging one another along the way. We are helping to provide this center with a set of photovoltaic solar panels that will help to reduce the shelter’s expenses.

I thank the Divine Word for giving me this opportunity to share what I have, and each time I do so to discover the divine in the human. It is all for the greater glory of God.

– Ricardo González Delgadillo SVD

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