The former youth pastor Martin Schlachtbauer is active in Ecuador.
His mission is far from over.
Ober- / Unterammergau -
Ober- / Unterammergau -
Martin Schlachtbauer (60) inspired many young people for the church in the early 1990s as a youth pastor in Werdenfelser Land and Ammertal.
Since then, the native of Traunstein has felt particularly connected to this region, especially to Unter- and Oberammergau.
It's been 19 years since the pastor took on a new challenge in 2001 - in the two-million-inhabitant city of Quito in the South American Ecuador.
The Padre, as butcher's farmer is called there, campaigns for the poor and those in need in the land of rainforests, volcanoes and the Galapagos Islands.
Schlachtbauer is financially supported by the parishes of Ober- and Unterammgau, which repeatedly collect donations and send them to Ecuador.
“The people on the street are often surprised and happy about this help from distant Germany, and they thank them for not forgetting them,” reports the Catholic priest.
“It is just so much fun to do something good for others who really have nothing.” And he assures: “We will and must continue this campaign for the next few months.
We cannot leave people alone. "
Mercy and charity
In Quito, Schlachtbauer built the Maria Madre de la Misericordia pastoral center.
"We want to put God's mercy into practice through concrete works of charity," he describes his task.
Strengthening people spiritually and accompanying them so that they can live out of faith and experience solidarity is his goal in life.
Specifically, his center offers family therapy support in the various problems of living together, material help in the social area, in education and medical service.
“Many people in Ecuador do not receive any government support and are in dire need of help.” His desire to help and serve others arose as a child.
The example of his parents, who always helped people in need, shaped him early on.
Since then, his great role model has been his namesake Martin von Tours, who not only showed a big heart for the poor through the history of the coat division.
After leaving school, Schlachtbauer studied theology as a seminarist for the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising at the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich.
In 1987 he was ordained a priest.
Then Schlachtbauer worked as a chaplain in Velden an der Vils, prefect in the Traunstein study seminar, as a pastor in Traunreut and for two years at the order of Mother Teresa in Tijuana in Mexico before he decided to help the people of Ecuador.
“The people here are open-minded and warm-hearted;
with a lot of family spirit and usually with a lot of optimism, you can feel a certain trust in God, ”says the padre.
But the current situation of the pandemic is currently shaping the mood.
Movement and work opportunities are drastically restricted.
"Many families have lost their jobs and there is no quick improvement in sight." Especially since there are no short-time working, unemployment benefits or protective screens for companies.
Layoffs are the order of the day.
People are hungry and can no longer pay their rents.
In addition to the local families, there are also around half a million Venezuelan immigrants who keep themselves afloat through street sales and begging.
"We distribute food parcels throughout the greater Quito area to help people and to alleviate their misery."
The gap between rich and poor is growing ever wider.
The crime, riots and riots are increasing steadily.
"Burglaries and armed robberies in the market, on the bus, are the order of the day," says Schlachtbauer, who lives in the pastoral center in the middle of Quito and is therefore close to the action.
“As a church we have to be where the emotional and material need is greatest”, emphasizes the padre.
“God lives in each of us.
That is why it is our task to contribute to peace, justice and the unity of people through prayer and acts of charity. "This sincere and compassionate man of God, who finds peace and joy on long walks in nature, has a heartfelt wish for everyone: That every person encounters God in their innermost being and becomes the bearer of his goodness and philanthropy.
Nobody should be left alone and everyone should experience the solidarity of their fellow human beings. ”