Pray with the Dominican Republic, December 10, 2023

Pray with the Dominican Republic, December 10, 2023

Lectionary Selection:  Isaiah 40:1-11

Prayers for the Dominican Republic

Prayer for Children

Lord God, who is Father and Mother, I thank you, I bless you, I praise and glorify you for having taken me by the hand to tread a difficult path and make a “Walking” [1] Institution flourish amid aridity to free so many children from sin and the evil of adults.

We thank you for being our strength, light, and guide to continue the path of justice, solidarity, and peace.

We thank you for so many protective, supportive, and beneficent people, without whom it would not have been possible to do what we have done.

Lord Jesus, help us in a way that our voices never be silenced to denounce injustices, abuses, and violations of the rights of Haitian children and migrants.

Good God, give us the strength to remain firm, paving the way so that each child who comes to Caminante finds dignified treatment as a person subject to rights.

We ask you, Lord, for the unaccompanied Haitian children, those who are on the move with their families, afraid of being deported.

Holy Spirit,  enlighten the decision-makers of the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and other countries at war to resolve the problems between these countries so impoverished people have food, health, education, and peace.

[1] Caminante means “the one who walks” in Spanish

Mission Moment from the Dominican Republic

I want to share a story of a 20-year-old young woman:

I was born when my mother was 14 years old. I was raised by my maternal grandmother, who, to this day, accompanies me. I grew up in a family dilemma. My parents fought every day. My mother took out her anger on me by physically abusing me.

At 12, I arrived at Caminante to receive psychological therapy for bad behavior. My family did not cooperate, and I stopped attending. When I was 13, I started frequenting the streets. I was raped, abused by men, even women. I drank alcohol, smoked hookah, and marijuana. My mother and grandmother took me out of the house. CONANI (National Council for the Protection of Children and Adolescents) took me to a foster home. Shortly after, they took me back to my family. While under CONANI, I became more rebellious and full of hatred toward my parents. They took me to a psychiatrist for depression. The medications made me even more defiant, and I hated my mother.

I went back to the street. I stayed with other young women, and men abused all of us.

My brothers and sisters from Caminante contacted me and came for me. They started helping me work on my emotions. They sent me to take a computer course. I continued with psychological therapies and approached my mother and grandmother. I felt like I was missing something. Soon, I realized it was Christ. I started attending a church and accepted the Lord Jesus. I began changing my physical and emotional life, enrolling in a school and a technology center. This year, I graduated from high school with honors. I am attending Air Force school to soon be in the military. In the meantime, I am now collaborating in Caminante with teenagers crossing the same paths as when I was their age. I am thankful to Caminante for the patience and confidence they had with me.

Prayer and sharing of the story: Sister Denisse Pichardo, Executive Director, Proyecto Caminante
Translated from Spanish by Angel Luis Rivera Agosto

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