In 1969, MSC from the USA began working in the parish of Santa Margarita Maria, which is located in a poor, working class section of Bogot·. Because the families in the area were very poor and schoolbooks were expensive, one of the MSC’s first projects at the parish was establishing a library with all the textbooks children needed for school and where students could come to study. Since then, the MSC in Colombia have been involved in a variety of pastoral activities such as youth programs, teaching, family enrichment programs and social services. For instance, the MSC have a long history of volunteering at Fundacin Vida Nueva (New Life Foundation), which works with prostitutes and their children to help them break the cycle of prostitution. MSC seminarians teach catechism classes to the children there.
Today, in addition to Santa Margarita Maria Parish, MSC in Colombia are also involved in formation and provide direct assistance to the poor. The formation program (Casa Chevalier) is flourishing and 6 young men recently took their first vows in August 2008. As part of their formation, the seminarians studying at Casa Chevalier go on mission experiences to very remote areas in Colombia during their Christmas and Easter vacations. Seminarians also help manage the MSC farm, thereby helping to provide the food they eat.
At the MSC community house, which is located in a poor section of Bogot·, the MSC provide meals 2-3 times a day, every day, to everyone who comes to the door asking for food. A couple of years ago, the MSC also founded the Fundacin Justicia en la Verdad (Truth and Justice Foundation) which builds houses and provides educational assistance for poor families in Bogot· and other regions of Colombia. Last year, through the Truth and Justice Foundation, the MSC were able to provide 43 families in Bogot· with the very first place they could call “home”.
May the Sacred Heart of Jesus be loved everywhere!
On June 14, 2014 at St. Margarita MarÌa de Alacoque Parish in the Kennedy neighborhood of Bogota, Colombia, Deacon Jorge Mario Vallejo Solarte, MSC was ordained a priest by Bishop Juan Vicente Cûrdoba Villota of the Diocese of Fontibûn. The next day in the same parish, Fr. Jorge celebrated his first Mass accompanied by the members of his community (MSC Colombia Section), the Provincial Superior of the MSC USA Province, family members, parishioners, lay MSC and friends. We thank God for blessing us with this new priest and we pray that Fr. Jorge will be a pastor according to the example of the heart of Jesus. Congratulations Fr. Jorge Mario Vallejo!