A few people, including our students in formation and confreres, having been asking me what Fazenda da Esperança mean, its purpose and Mission: in other words; its programs and spirituality.
Thus I have decided in this article to give you briefly what Fazenda is, its Charism and Mission. I shall later, write a bit more in details about what it does concretely.
- Fazenda spirituality and mission. “You must be ambassadors of hope”, Pope Benedict XIV during his visit to Brazil, Fazenda, 12th May, 2007. Fazenda Charism and Spirituality is based on the inspirations of St Francis and Chiara. Thus Franciscan Spirituality of Prayer, Work and Community Living and Chiara’s Spirituality of Unity and Mutual Love (Christian).
- Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Center (for boys and girls). Fazenda Da Esperança is a Drug and Rehabilitation Center (Farm), based on 3 main principles: Spirituality, Community Life and Work.
- Conditions and requirements. Personal and free decision from the client. Admittance and acceptance that one has a problem and needs help. Family and Community support. Since it does not depend so much on professionals, the Centre can’t help in cases of serious mental or psychological problems.
- Duration of the programme. It takes one full year, with the presentation of a certificate of having followed successfully completed the Rehabilitation program under Fazenda. From there, they become connected to Fazenda, Group of Living Hope (GLH). GLH meetings of Exs are once a week, and with their families monthly. This helps them in case of temptations, relapse or need to share and encourage one another. All are encouraged to attend GLH meetings, even those who did not complete the program but stopped along the way. They are also encouraged to participate and attend Mariapolis (Focolare) and living the Word of life on daily basis. In case they relapse, they are always welcome again in the farm for refresher sessions of one month or more. In fact the farm is always open to welcome Exs members whenever they would like to visit the farm or have experienced relapse repeatedly and need help.
- Who manages the farm. The Farm is ran by members of the Family of Hope consisting of lay people, married, religious priests and sisters, single people and missionary volunteers.
- Who are admitted into the farm and the scope of Fazenda Mission. The center admit youths, adults and even older people, boys and girls, lay people, religious, priest or nuns, non-Christians, people of other faith and works of life. It is open to all. But due to its spirituality, most of those coming or admitted are Catholics or Christians. The Farm receives people who have issues different kinds of addictions and related issues such as: Drug addicts and those in networks with drug Lords, involved in serious crimes, Alcohol dependents or abusers, abandoned teenagers, victims of human trafficking, those with some behavioral problem in society, victims of prostitution, homeless youth, school dropouts, Internet and pornography addicts, Gamblers, sexually abused youth, pregnant teenagers without support of families, prisoners, those reflecting on Vocation, Priests and religious with problems in Ministry etc. In other places, Fazenda runs schools; they help the sick e.g. AIDS patients and orphans, awareness of human rights, helping the poor, assisting victims of human and natural calamities and catastrophes like typhoons, flooding, earthquakes, and helping Small Christian Communities in the local Church they find themselves. They also collaborate with other groups and religious congregations in mission e.g. Missionaries of Africa (White Fathers) in Dombe mission, Mozambique, Southern Africa.
Many groups visit the Farm for retreats, recollections, camping, meetings, Mariapolis, weddings, tourism, for purchasing and buying Fazenda Products; others come and learn new skills such in farming, milk processing etc. It is a well-known place and famous for daily products, especially fresh vegetables, milk, rice and Cattle rearing. Our place is about 260 Hectares of Land, used for farming, grazing, irrigation, accommodation, ponds, gardening, piggery, Orchards etc. It is a quiet place where immediately you arrive near the Farm you experience quietness, fresh breeze from the sea, beautiful mountains, free of pollution and ideal place for silence, peace, prayer and discernment. We are far from the pollution and noise of the city, about 30km from Masbate City.
- Conclusion. Fazenda da Esperanca believes in Gods Providence. They are somewhat flexible, adapting, trusting and hopeful instruments of God’s love. Indeed living in a Farm of Hope requires openness, patience, greater and sacrificial love, non-judgmental spirit and trust in Hope and to be a personal with a deeper relationship with Jesus. A person who gets his energy from prayer and Word of Life-daily Gospel reflection. This is what I am growing into day by day. You have to be definitely compassionate and forgiving. You have to show the boys and girls that God still loves them; that they are still beloved children of God (especial in Confession), and that God is waiting for each and every one of them to come back home (Prodigal Son experience) so that they may experience life, and life in its fullness and abundance (Jn 10.10). They need to experience joy and happiness and change of life. Also we have to be the link with their families so that eventually they reunite with them and start again, with HOPE. “Fazenda…where Hope and Life begins Anew…” Bishop Joel Baylon, Diocese of Legazpi, the Philippines (Chairman of the CBCP Commission on Youth)
- Website: http://www.fazenda-ph.org/