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Published in 2021
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The joy of knowing that they are God's people and that they are blessed throughout history fills the air with festivity as they celebrate the Silver Anniversary of Our Lady de la Mercede de la Arcadia Parish, a bright sign of God's presence in this southern sector of the city of Quito. In this area, most people engage in informal trade; a smaller percentage, in formal trade. Currently, due to the pandemic, only a small percentage have stable jobs.

The origin of the Parish dates back to 1989. The property where the church office is located was donated by a wealthy family to the Metropolitan Curia of Quito. In this way, the family's farm house became a parish house, church, health center and school. Given its historical and architectural value, from the colonial era, the Instituto Metropolitano de Patrimonio, FONSAL, about 13 years ago, intervened to restore the property, elevating it to a "Cultural Heritage" category.

Every life, in its essence, is precious, because God created the good human being. This creature is called by God to faith, to be family, to be his people, to constitute himself in Christian community, which grows moved by God's grace through the accompaniment.

Knowing the action of the Holy Spirit in the 25 years of Our Lady of Mercede Parish of Arcadia, allows to strengthen faith in God, in his Church, our Church, to be a channel to rebuild trust in our pastors, a path of motivation and hope for today's society, busy with the meaningless things of this world.

Since its founding, the parish has been based as a palpable presence of God's Love for the men and women of this area. Encouraged by the power of the Holy Spirit, in these 25 years it has been growing and maturing as a community of faith, of hope and of charity. It has become a welcoming community that lives by the love of Christ, that grows and is enriched by the presence of various pastoral workers, human and Christian formation groups.

In celebrating the 25 years of the parish, we pray to Mary, the mother who gives us Christ, the source of life and salvation, she directs us with her motherly gaze and never ceases to repeat to us "Do whatever he tells you" (Jn. 2, 5).

This ecclesial community, takes care of a population of about 8,000 inhabitants, of which a considerable percentage, often, turns to it. The Eucharist is celebrated in presence on Thursdays with adoration of the Blessed Sacrament; 5 Holy Masses are celebrated on Sundays. In normal times, about 1,000 people attend per Eucharist; in this time of pandemic, the number has dropped to 500 people.

The festivities took place from September 11 to 26. Each group participated in the celebration with folk and religious dances (national and international) and invited singers. Everyone offered their best to pay homage to Our Lady of Mercede. Due to the pandemic, this year they were held virtually by the "St. Francis of Assisi" Educational Unit of Arcadia.

It is celebrated according to the traditions of Latin American countries: young people, the great wealth of this continent, sing and dance to the joyful rhythm of harmonious and lively music, dressed in multicolored costumes to pay homage to the Blessed Virgin Mother. The traditional rhythms of Ecuador are influenced by indigenous, European and African influences.

The history of 25 years, is woven with the contribution of all, today accompanies us and serves as a good shepherd, Father Marco Gualoto, originally from Ecuador, parish priest, very involved in the lives of parishioners and pastoral workers, always attentive to the work or service that each pastoral group performs in the parish. His peculiarity is to be grateful, to value the help that each one offers.

From September 15 to 23, the novena is prayed, all pastoral groups are responsible for it. In addition, every day a priest is invited, some of them have been in the community as parish priests, vicars or seminarians. As a sign of gratitude, Father Marco Gualoto gives each priest a beautiful picture of Our Lady of Mercede.

To give greater prominence and facilitate participation in the patronal feast, which takes place Sunday, September 26, is preceded by a "Marian serenade" in which the various musical groups of the parish make devotion to the Blessed Virgin with songs dedicated to her.

We share the Word of God explained by Father Carlo in his homily: "He is not our property, God loves everyone even those who are not part of the church, nor of my group, so what he teaches us is openness, the ability to integrate others and the task we have as a church is to pray for the unity of it that has been divided and torn over the centuries".

The Franciscan Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart participate in all the activities that the parish carries out, becoming, since the beginning of their presence in this area of Quito, a great support for the pastoral, through the witness of faith and the animation of the parish and the community in general, with the announcement, prayer and meeting in the various services they perform: liturgy, catechesis, altar boys, worshipers, Christian formation to the different groups.

Celebrating 25 years is saying Yes to life, in the catechetical groups there are children and where there are children, there is the family, families according to God's plan, founded on the committed and responsible, suffered and forgiven love of a man and a woman, open to life. The parish church is alive, with men, women, children, adults, elderly, young people, different, but equal in dignity: Children of God, brothers and sisters of all.

The condition of "mystical body" is made reality, formed by many members in which each one has a distinct mission to build up the Church: consecrated ministers, religious, catechists, animators, musicians, altar boys and a variety of pastoral groups that correspond to the tradition of the Church and the idiosyncrasy of the Ecuadorian people. All contribute with their different charisms.

Mass media allows the celebration to be shared with all families in the parish, each in their own home, so even those who are more vulnerable because of their age or health condition can participate. THIS IS FAMILY, everyone feels part, everyone integrated, everyone valued! This is the reality we live in Latin America; God bless! In this way, children are taught that no one is left out of the family, and that the family is all of us: parents, children, grandparents, uncles, cousins, brothers-in-law, daughters-in-law, and that they are the most important.

Let us give thanks and rejoice in the Lord for these 25 years of foundation! The joy and love for Mary, Our Lady of Mercy, encourages us to sing "My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour" (Lk. 1:46).

Through her, the greatest wealth of this people is offered to the Father in the Son with the power of the Holy Spirit: children, young people and families who, together with the God of their parents, the God of the church faithful to Jesus Christ, paint their souls with joy and hope, because life has its full realization in the love of family, in the love of God and neighbor, and in the horizon that awaits us: the Eternal Life that Christ conquered with his life given and his glorious resurrection!

Last modified on Tuesday, 16 November 2021 09:26