ROCHESTER — Oswaldo Salazar and María Luisa Martínez Campos believe prayer can change the world.
That is why the Hilton couple asked for a Mass to be said in support of their native Venezuela on July 7 at St. Michael Church. Now parishioners at St. Leo Church, they attended Mass at St. Michael when they first moved to Rochester from Caracas 15 years ago, said Salazar.
About 25 people attended the Mass.
"If everyone were to pray, imagine everyone during a national day of prayer, I truly believe … God would change things," Salazar remarked. "God would hear us and see the faithfulness of his people."
"We strongly believe in the power of prayer … and nothing is more sacred than the Eucharist," added Martínez Campos. "We stand with our country through our faith."
Since Feb. 12, which is the "Day of the Youth" in Venezuela, young people have taken to the streets in opposition to the government of President Nicholas Maduro. Salazar and his wife visited Venezuela in February and saw the student protests for themselves, he said.
Three people died during the first protest, and more than 200 have been injured since that day, according to an article in El Mensajero Católico about a local rally held in March.
Salazar said that the situation in Venezuela continues to deteriorate with continued violence against the protesters, high crime and food shortages because of government price-fixing.
Father Mickey McGrath said that St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Parish was happy to comply with the Salazar family’s request for a Mass to support the people of Venezuela during this difficult period in their history. The parish community joins the Venezuelan families here in praying for a swift resolution to the crisis as well, he added.
"We pray for the injured and for those who have lost their lives," he said. "And we pray that more attention is given to this situation."