By Linda Bordoni
As Venezuelans struggle every day to get by, with inflation predicted to reach 1 million percent by December, Catholic Churches across the nation and across the border with Colombia, through which an exodus is taking place, are doing their utmost to join forces and provide services to the people.
The IMF has said the country is in the throes of an economic crisis comparable to Germany’s after the First World War and Zimbabwe’s at the beginning of the last decade.
Venezuela, which has the largest proven oil reserves on the planet, is in the midst of a five-year crisis that has left many of its people unable to afford food and medicine, with shelves bare in supermarkets.
Crime rates continue to set records, with local residents fearful to leave the house at night.
In the latest sign of solidarity and brotherhood, the bishops and 17 priests of the Colombian Diocese of Cucuta have teamed up with members of the Venezuelan Diocese of San Cristobal to offer pastoral service at the “Divine Providence’ transit home, reiterating the fact that Christian brotherhood and charity have no boundaries.
The Bishop of San Cristobal expressed his gratitude to the Bishop of Cucuta and prayed the two dioceses may continue to join forces “so that the miracle of God might be revealed in this shelter for migrants from Venezuela”.
Pride was expressed for the teams of volunteers who come every day to help their brothers, in the transit house, and the prelates highlighted their belief that true Christians put everything in common so that no one is in need, as indicated in the Acts of the Apostles.
The two dioceses have always offered a concrete witness of brotherhood and as an extra sign of solidarity on the part of the Church.
Each of the 17 Venezuelan priests were given a box with food and other basic necessities: a simple but important gesture of charity to accompany the pastoral, spiritual and material actions carried out by the Colombian diocese for Venezuelan migrants.