Story and photos by Br. Rafael Vargas, SDB
(Guatemala City – February 11) – On January 3, a little over a month ago, I moved to Guatemala City and started my two-year experience in CRESCO, which is a formation for the formation of Salesian coadjutor brothers during their last stage before taking perpetual vows.
I immediately felt at home in my new community and have been blessed to be able to live with many confreres from provinces from both North America and South America. I’m joining five other young confreres in their first year in the program and four in their second. In addition, we currently have two formators; two more will be joining us in August. We are blessed to live with the theologate community of the Central America Province, which consists of ten more confreres plus their formators. Though we are considered two separate communities, we share meals, moments of prayer, and fellowship with each other.
Though I am barely over a month in, I have already experienced countless blessings for which I feel very grateful. The academic program, in addition to helping me to grow intellectually, has also helped me to communicate more efficiently in Spanish. Due to the rich diversity of cultures from all over Latin America, everyone is able to learn from each other different ways to express even simple everyday things, not only in Spanish but also in Portuguese.
One of the greatest blessings, which came to me as a last-minute surprise, was the opportunity to attend WYD in Panama. In addition to what has been shared by other members of our province who attended, I gained an immense, deeper appreciation and love for being a Salesian. Not only did we have an opportunity to come into contact with many young people from all over the world, but we also had the opportunity to meet and interact with many young people from our Salesian presences. The moments spent seeing the joy and love shared in the interactions between our Rector Major and the Salesian Family were beautiful and memorable moments.
I personally cherished the many informal moments I was able to spend with Fr. Angel. One night a group of us from CRESCO were blessed to be able to hang out with Fr. Angel along with a couple of young FMA aspirants and have a spontaneous chat while we downed some Coke. At that moment I was reminded of the great impact of simple moments in which we experience the family spirit and the love of Christ, which impels us to go out and share Christ’s love with others.