Since the beginning of 2020, Deysi Ordonez, Daughter of Jesus, living in Choluteca, Honduras, has supported a project with young people based on the encyclical Laudato Si. She tells us about it.
The project entitled “Young people humanizing themselves in the way of Jesus” was inspired by the charism of the Daughters of Jesus and born out of the invitation made to us in the Orientations of the 2016 General Chapter to :
- collaborate with others in supporting projects around the care of the “home we share”.
- as well as to go out to the “peripheries” to meet young people, among others.
The birth of the project
It all started at the House for Young People where I work as a counsellor and psychologist. It was there that I met a small group of young people who work in Rural Youth Ministry and who wanted to give more flesh to their pastoral work. I spoke to them about the possibility of doing something based on the encyclical Laudato SI, and the theme of migration. I also shared with them that these two concerns are part of our Congregational Orientations. The idea was very well received, and we began to reflect on the project, over the course of several meetings.
We finally defined the following objectives :
- To promote among young people the care of our “common home” by encouraging and supporting simple actions which take account of the common good and have an ecological dimension.
- To reach out to the peripheries, in particular to young people who suffer from a lack of opportunities to advance.
- To support the rural youth ministry of the Cathedral Parish. This ministry seeks to stimulate young people in the countryside by valuing their land, their roots, their culture, their country and so preventing them from emigrating to other countries,
- To inform and train the young people of the Cathedral Parish involved in rural pastoral work around the importance of caring for our common home and the sense of belonging to their culture, their country, so that they can play an active role in society.
The ideas become reality
The project includes educational, cultural and sports activities as well as concrete actions, some of which I would like to share with you:
In a recycling workshop an instructor from the National Vocational Training Institute taught the young people how to make small baskets from the disposable material used in shrimp traps. These baskets can be used for various purposes.
They conducted clean-up campaigns and installed waste bins. In each village, they carried out clean-ups of roads and water sources and gave talks on how to classify rubbish. At the same time, they installed bins on the patios of the prayer centres of the eight communities.
For Earth Day, 22 April, they organised an ecological festival of new songs. These demonstrated the process of raising awareness among young people on how to protect the environment.
Young people participated in training workshops on leadership and social skills.
The values we have tried to promote
The sports meetings attracted many young people to take part in our project. During the meetings we emphasised values such as teamwork, discipline, and giving your best on the field. Above all, we insisted on keeping the environment clean.
One of the songs they wrote
Peasant don’t burn the Earth
Farmer, farmer, listen to my song,
You must not burn the earth,
Because the passing fire will destroy
The fertilizer that will make the plants grow.
Peasant, peasant, don’t burn your land anymore,
For you are crucifying yourself.
Think of your future and that of your children,
That tomorrow they will not find a place to sow.
Our earth is a miracle of the Creator,
A generous testimony of His love.
If you take care, it will always be fertile
And give us the bread of each day. (Bis)
If the war against the forest does not end
The rivers will cease to exist.
Because of the burning, the rains will be absent.
We will all have to suffer from hunger and thirst.
We are also supporting a small group of young people who have not been able to complete their secondary education. By offering them a course in car mechanics, we hope that this will then become a source of employment for them.
God willing, these small actions will contribute to the rebuilding of our planet so that we can all have a better life.
Accompanying the young in this way has given me great satisfaction. It has allowed me to share their deep desire to inhabit a different world, a world where it is possible to enjoy the beautiful CREATION that God has given us.
“Beyond our feelings of helplessness, we recognise a call to risk some bold commitments … to look, where we are, for partnerships, collaborations and other forms of solidarity with others.”
(Acts of the General Chapter 2016, p. 9)
Sr Deysi Ordonez dj Choluteca, Honduras