Santiago, Chile, Mar 20, 2019 / 23:31 pm
For six years, Fr. Marcio Toniazzo has worked as the director of immigration services for the Archdiocese of Santiago in Chile.
In that time, he says he has witnessed “a good marriage…between migration and Chile,” in which “both [have] had to reinvent themselves.”
Toniazzo, a priest with the Congregation of the Missionaries of Saint Charles Scalabrinians, spoke with ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish language sister agency, as he concludes his work in the Latin American country.
He said that in his work to help foreigners integrate and assimilate in Chilean culture, he has found that “God was providential with the Church in Chile, because migration is what is revitalizing the Church in the midst of its crisis.”
“The migrant is the one who is working to help incorporate, integrate, improve, heal and go forward,” he said. “The migrant has given a new dynamism to the faith and a clear example is the choirs they have joined in the communities. It’s with that participation that they find a way of showing their love for God and to live the faith through music.”
The energy in the workplace, the cuisine available, and culture that Chile is experiencing “show that migrants came to contribute and have a life experience,” he reflected.
Chile’s economic and political stability has made it a major destination for Latin American immigrants. Politicians in the last year have proposed cracking down on immigration through tighter border control and increased restrictions on access to social services for immigrants.
Toniazzo himself is an immigrant, originally from Brazil. During his time in Chile, he has directed the Chilean Catholic Institute for Migration and served as pastor at a parish.