To this day, Chile has yet to recover from February’s earthquake – the most severe to have hit Chile since 1960. One and a half million people were left homeless, while many others lost their possessions and jobs. The ground itself has yet to settle, although people have grown accustomed to the constant minor tremors.
The family of ROCOR’s only priest in Chile, Priest Alexis Aedo Vilugron, has found itself in trying circumstances. The priest’s family lost virtually all of their possessions in the earthquake. Fr. Alexis is a professor at a local university. Inasmuch as the university has agreed to meet students halfway and accept partial payment for classes, Fr. Alexis’ salary and that of other professors are also paid in part. In addition, as a result of the difficult circumstances, paychecks are regularly delayed for months at a time.
Fr. Alexis has four children, his matushka is unemployed, and his salary as a priest only covers half of the family’s monthly expenses. Money for medical expenses, and in some cases even food, has been in short supply.
Conscious of the family’s need, the Fund for Assistance allocated $2,000 to the family from its general fund.
“Your contribution came at a time of great economic difficulty; brought relief to my family, help and hope,” writes Fr. Alexis.
“I still cannot find the right words to thank God, the donors, and you for your kindness and help. Thank you for helping us to live to serve our brothers and the Lord’s Church. I pray that God bless you for your generosity and repay you with long life, peace, health, and prosperity.”
The allocated funds went to paying two months’ rent on the family’s apartment, covering travel expenses for visits to parishes in towns across the country, education costs for the children (for two months), and utilities (water, electricity, phone), as well as covering the reception of pilgrims from other towns and aid for two other Orthodox families in dire need.