Missionary helps curb violence in Mozambique through soccer

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30/09/2014
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For this missionary, soccer is a priceless help in Mozambique. Thanks to the sport, he met people from this place and avoid tragedies like this.   

FR. JUAN GABRIEL ARIAS
Missionary priest

'There was a school where there were concrete problems, where professors would abuse students, they would hit the students...The players had their sisters in that school and they already planned to go one night to the house of the professors and tie the doors with cables and set fire to the houses with them inside.'  

Thankfully, they did not go ahead with their plan. Fr. Juan Gabriel, together with other non-Christian religious leaders were able to persuade them to pursue the case through legal means. Fr. Juan Gabriel Arias was sent to Mozambique in the year 2000 by Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the then archbishop of Buenos Aires. He wanted to live a missionary experience and it was there where he found it. 

FR. JUAN GABRIEL ARIAS
Missionary Priest

'I loved the people, I fell in love with the people of Mozambique. I feel like I am a dad there. For me, the paternal aspect of the priesthood is very strong. Perhaps I like to be a priest for others that I never had'  

Mozambique is one of the poorest countries in the world. The mortality rate doesn't pass 55 years and it's estimated that there are 2,000 doctors for a population of 24 million. Christians make up 30% of the population but there are areas that have never seen a priest before.   

FR. JUAN GABRIEL ARIAS
Missionary priest 

'There are many neighbourhoods where I have celebrated Mass for the first time. I was the first priest that celebrated Mass in places where they didn't even now Jesus.'

 Fr. Juan Gabriel Arias will return to Mozambique to promote various educational projects.  One of them is sports. He already has the support of the Racing Club of Argentina, who donated shirts for sports competitions. The other area where he would like to invest in is computers. He will be receiving help from Scholas, an initiative promoted by the Pope. 

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