• English
  • Français
  • Italiano
  • Español
Gustavo Papa 01
You are here:Home / Family News / NEF 2015 / Family News - 2015 March 14th / Life of the Congregation
Mar 12, 2015

Life of the Congregation

Being close to the social sufferes

Life of the Congregation

Catechesis in Ciudad del Este (Paraguay) is faced with the issue of high numbers of drug addicts and alcoholics. The response to some of them was - and still should - quite clear: stay away!

But with the Papetra project (acronym for Pastoral of Prevention and Spirituality and Treatment) another path has been discerned. Since 2010-2011, attempts have been made to respond to this social problem by a welcome and prevention pathway using three components: art, culture and spirituality. Fr. Fulgencio Ferreira SCJ, who is behind this project, and has completed a doctoral thesis on the subject, tells us more.

Before ascending to heaven, the Saviour gave his disciples in every age the mission to proclaim the Gospel to all creation, highlighting three interesting aspects: "Go and teach; Go and baptize; Go and heal." This third aspect is still new for us. We have not yet developed the therapeutic role of the Gospel, and this pastoral project continues to be a weakness or even a deficit in our Congregation. Our holy founder says that we must take on the tasks that others will not or cannot take on.

Social suffering related to the excessive consumption of alcohol and drugs is a complex problem that requires a careful response that is multi-layered and humane. In this area, our Church and our Congregation can say and do something: This problem requires a tailored response, specializing with a spiritual dimension.

Social suffering resonates with us as a call that sometimes does not find an echo in our hearts. PAPETRA Pastoral of Prevention and Spirituality and Treatment, is proposed as a response to enrich the Pastoral Care of the Church in a preventive dimension, offering space to develop skills for life. It offers a football academy, a dance academy and two music workshops (guitar and flute) in Ciudad del Este, Parish of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. For treatment, we rely on a treatment centre, which operates in two places: one in the parish and another in a medical clinic funded by the municipality.

We are aware that this Pastoral project can’t overcome all social suffering. However, we can ensure that the negative impact of situations of suffering does not persist, and that aggressive behaviour and destructive syndromes diminish. Being close to these people, we can heal what is sick in human relationships and the social fabric, so that life can develop in a healthy and productive way, "I came that they may have life and have it to the full," Jesus said. With PAPETRA, Betharram offers a saving branch to those who suffer in our society to free them from compulsions that prevent their life from growing.

Fulgencio Ferreira, scj



"What we're doing with PAPETRA is to enable the individual to adopt a protective pathway. Without it, we cannot imagine overcoming drug addiction. What we hope to establish and encourage by this community programme is for children and adolescents to have opportunities to cultivate life skills. We want them to learn  to practice good values and ​​and good habits, so that when they are offered drugs, they know to say ‘no’."

At present there are 12 people who have been trained to carry on this project. Four people are managing the structures for preventive measures, three people are dealing with the treatment in medical clinics, two people are supervising the building of the “Christ’s home”, a future residence for long-term care, that is a Therapeutic community for recovery and social rehabilitation. Three people are working in the Clinic and in other areas collecting funds and seeking technical support.
The treatment of social suffering coupled with excessive consumption of alcohol and drugs must be: appropriate, specialised and with a spiritual dimension. In our ministry we offer closeness and human and spiritual support: all these aspects are overlooked by Institutions and Technology. In this area the Church has something to say and something to do. The San Jose Association has offered on lease a piece of land for the construction of a Clinic for a well-planned treatment for drug addicted.

Document Actions

« May 2024 »
NEF, Family news


Nef is the official bulletin of the Congregation of the Sacred Heart of Jesus of Betharram.
Nef is edited by the General Council.

You can read the NEF by going to the appropriate section of the portal, which also contains the archive of recent years.

Below you find the last three issues ...