Youths open to the world

January 25 marks the Missionary Childhood Day. Initiatives to give a central role to the young " "

“I am one of them”: it is the theme chosen for the Missionary Childhood Day celebrated Sunday January 25 across Spain. The president of the Pontifical Missionary Works in Spain, Father Anastasio Gil García, presented the related initiatives along with Fr Alberto Cisneros Izquierdo, missionary in Nicaragua, and Marlon Eduardo González, young collaborator from the Casa Hogar Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos, located in the Country. “My life has changed”. “I am one of them because I grew up with the support of many generous people”, said Marlon González, 23, who as a child, after the death of his mother, homeless, was welcomed, along with the three brothers, in Casa Hogar Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos, in Nicaragua. “Since then my life has changed”, he explained. In the Home where he was welcomed “serves” Father Alberto Cisneros, in charge of the pastoral care of the Casa Hogar Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos. “I am celibate, yet I became the ‘father’ of 300 children. I try to bring them closer to God’s love, even when working in the fields or in the kitchen”, said the missionary. Efforts for the integral promotion and for the formation of world childhood has always been the goal of the Pontifical Missionary Works, highlighted Don Anastasio Gil, who recalled how generous the Spanish children are towards their peers. In 2014 they sent over two million euro to fund training and integral development projects for children across the world. Their contributions have been helped 218,975 children in 40 countries, through health, education and evangelization projects. To promote this spirit of solidarity, the Missionary Childhood works all year round through the magazine for children “Gesture”, along with activities such as Sowers of Stars and the Missionary Music Festival. This year was also organized a competition of short stories. The winner, announced on the occasion of the Day, is “Missionaries” by Carmelo Gálvez Alvariño. Project for parents, educators and catechists. The National Office of the Pontifical Missionary Works, through the Secretariat of Missionary Childhood, is also launching a four-year long project to help parents, educators and catechists in the praiseworthy commitment of developing the missionary dimension in Christian initiation. It consists in providing “background music” along this path, to remind children and educators that the experience of adherence to Jesus in the Church implies the recognition of universality. It is one of its essential dimensions, not just “doing something good”: “It means helping children open their hearts to all mankind as Jesus did”, argued Don Gil. “The first step is to recognize that in the plans of God there is no partiality. We are all members of the human family, called to build a fairer society, as we mature as a human persons – he added -. The intention is to show that it is wrong to draw an imaginary line to separate the children of the North, who help and, having received baptism, have more guarantees of going to heaven, and those in the South, who do not know Jesus and are so poor that they need our charity. Children need to be told that “we are all children of the same God and we are all called to eternal happiness. Those of us who know Jesus have the duty to bring the good news to others and help them with our good deeds”. This is what missionaries do. App to meet peers for other continents. Through the DVD “I’m one of them” children can compare their lives with that of children in other continents. Educators – religion teachers, parents and catechists – also have educational materials for children of 6-8 years and 9-12 years. And that’s not all. This year the Pontifical Missionary Works for the first time provides the app “Missionary Childhood”, through which children can learn to become missionaries. Children can participate in the Missionary Childhood games on their mobile phones, tablets and computers. Through mini-games, such as puzzles, colouring pages, quizzes with questions and answers, skill games – children can be taught to live together with their peers from other continents, learning to help those most in need and approaching the work of Spanish missionaries in the five continents. The app “Missionary Childhood” is inspired by the DVD “I’m one of them” and is available not only in this period but all year round.

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