“The life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (Jn 1:4-5). In the present darkness of Venezuela, the seminary of Carúpano seeks to be “a little candle that can bring hope to the people, as the Light of Christ”. Bishop Jaime José Villarroel of Carúpano can see both the light and the darkness. He rejoices at the fidelity and perseverance of the 13 students in his Redemptoris Mater seminary, according to Aid to the Church in Need (ACN).
Yet he also sees how his people suffer. Robberies and murder are daily scourges, and poverty is a constant companion. To buy a new pair of shoes is something quite unthinkable. What clothing they do receive comes to the seminary via the “mysterious ways of the Lord”, from Mexico. And as the seminary rector adds, “We share our daily rations with every hungry person who knocks at our door”. Usually, between 6 and 10 people knock every day, most of them from the nearby neighborhood. Friends in Spain send them medicines. But the truth is they cannot afford to be ill, still less pay for intensive treatments. The teachers teach without pay, though they do get occasional traveling expenses and something to eat.
“The Church is the only institution helping people to carry their daily crosses; it gives meaning to their suffering”, says the rector. Most people are grateful for the seminary; it is a sign that God has not abandoned them. “Many of them have little hope”, says one of the seminarians, Wladimir Tesorero. “I sense how important the seminary is to them and I thank God for giving a poor fellow like me the opportunity to bring hope to other people.”