On October 22, 2017, a celebration of the 50th anniversary of Spiritan presence in Paraguay took place. Fr. Jim McCloskey attended the event on behalf of the U.S. Province.
Beginning with a Mass celebrated in the town of Lima, where Spiritans began their ministry in the country, hundreds gathered for the festive celebration of the Eucharist, followed by a meal for the entire town and visiting friends.
Located in the Diocese of San Pedro, Lima has a population of more than 10,000 inhabitants. A chiefly agricultural region, the area is a center for the cultivation of cotton, tobacco, mate, sugar cane, and cassava. Traditional music and dance, and a feast of traditional foods, were highlights of the event.
There are 11 Spiritans who live and work in Paraguay. They hail from Portugal, Spain, Mexico, Nigeria, and Cape Verde. Two houses of formation — a novitiate for Spanish speakers in the Congregation and a Paraguayan postulancy program — underscore the strength and vitality of the community there.
A Latin American Encuentro, or “Encounter,” will be held in Paraguay for the first time in January 2018. This annual event, usually held in Brazil, is a gathering of confreres from Brazil, Bolivia, and Paraguay, for retreat, reflection, and rest. More than 100 Spiritan confreres are expected for the Encuentro.