Mensajeros de la Paz Association (Messengers of Peace) was born on October 1962 in the city of Oviedo (Asturias, Spain) as an initiative of two young men recently ordained as priests: Padre Ángel García Rodríguez and Padre Ángel Silva.
At the time, the Association was composed of a group of people driven by a special social sensitivity towards the groups of marginalized children and young people. These young men embarked on an adventure aimed at the assistance and care of helpless children, with no home or family. The children were offered the possibility of living in a proper environment that allow their personal and social growth with family values, so they could integrate into society and avoid their institutionalization and marginalization, training them to be self-sufficient and able to organize their own lives.
It was in Oviedo where the first family home was inaugurated. It held twelve children, young people and even adults that had been living on the street. It was an open home, with no age or problem limits; a place where everyone had a roof, a bed, company and food.
…as an initiative of two young men recently ordained as priests: Padre Ángel García Rodríguez and Padre Ángel Silva.
Also, in 1962, the first “functional homes” were created.
The first experience was conducted in an apartment in Otero, Asturias, where eight children and their teachers lived. This new project was very successful and led to an expansion into other provinces in Spain.
The year 1970 is crucial for the history of our social work. This year, the “Cruz de los Ángeles” Association began a period of expansion and development. Its name was, and still is, specific and very significant in the Asturian region. However, when the borders of the region were crossed, it was decided that the name should change into something more general and indicative of the Association’s mission. This is how “MENSAJEROS DE LA PAZ” was born. This new association would act in the rest of Spain with a similar purpose as the one “Cruz de los Ángeles” had in Asturias.
The human and social development of society’s most underprivileged populations
Mensajeros de la Paz, led by Padre Ángel García, has always had as its main objective the human and social development of society’s most underprivileged populations. This is why the Association has adapted to the different social realities of Spain and the rest of the world throughout the years.
The social and demographic reality in Spain has changed over time, suffering from an increasing ageing population. This entails a new challenge for the assistance resources. Additionally, there is a large number of elderly people suffering from loneliness and, many times, poverty and/or neglect.
Faced with this reality, Padre Ángel was not indifferent and, in 1995, he created the Golden Telephone Project. This project has had the objective of promoting the emotional health of the elderly people in solitude and isolation or in situations of individual or family crisis through telephone assistance. The Golden Telephone was well received from the start and many elderly people, older than 65 years of age, have called at 900 22 22 23 to fight their situation of unwanted loneliness.
Due to the increasing number of calls to the Golden Telephone and the ageing population, on November 1996, the ASOCIACIÓN EDAD DORADA MENSAJEROS DE LA PAZ (Golden Age Messengers of Peace Association) was created. Its main objective has been to give a proper response to the elderly, providing an assistance that allow an improvement in their standards of living and their full social integration.
The Edad Dorada Mensajeros de la Paz Association is a non-profit organization with a social mission, dedicated from the start to the human promotion and defense, protection and encouragement of the elderly. It was registered in the National Registry of Associations on November 23, 1996, with the register number 161.791.
Then, on February 6, 2001, it was declared an Association of public utility. The entity is also included among the beneficiary entities of patronage in accordance with Law 49/2002.
The residential model followed by the Edad Dorada Mensajeros de la Paz Association (Residencies, Senior Centers and Assisted Housing) is conceived as a socio-sanitary service, destined to elderly people no matter their degree of independence and autonomy. It is based on a person-centered assistance model and it meets the basic personal, therapeutic and relational needs of the residents, boosting their personal autonomy so they can, within their possibilities, continue developing and controlling their own life projects.
Every person that lives in or turns to one of the resources from the Association is the driving force of their assistance process. They participate actively in the support plan, fostering, on the one hand, their maximum independence in daily activities and, on the other, the conservation and encouragement of their personal autonomy to make their own decisions and continue having control over their lives.
The Edad Dorada Mensajeros de la Paz Association guarantees a friendly environment in all its centers. There, the residents and their families can feel at home, listened to and taken into account; they feel important and they can see that their lives have meaning and develop, day after day, according to their own wishes and values. Without human quality, the care has no value. We try to give our best to each person.
The professionals of direct assistance not only protect the people and assist to their needs, but also empower them.
In this way, the creation of bonds that facilitate the interpersonal relations is promoted, knowing and respecting the life stories, actively listening, observing daily and finding opportunities and support so that each person can develop their abilities, controlling their lives and, thus, feeling better about themselves.
Currently, there is an agreement with Madrid’s Social Services Organization SAMUR SOCIAL to assist, in our residences, the elderly people in social emergency situations: elderly people living on the street, with low economic resources, with no support network or in other serious situations.
When possible, we try to keep the elderly that have physical and psychic autonomy living in their own houses, with their vital and family environment. To ensure this, our NGO developed a series of programs and services destined to maintain, as much as possible, the elderly’s independence in their homes. Thus, it is guaranteed their standards of living through professional services and their families are relieved from an excessive dedication that may interfere with their personal, professional or family development, or with their necessary resting and leisure times.
From Edad Dorada Mensajeros de la Paz Association, we organize sensitization campaigns. The two most representatives are:
The Elderly also believe in The Three Wise Men: : in this campaign we celebrate, on January 6, the arrival of The Three Wise Men in all residences, giving gifts to all the residents.
Grandparents Day: on July 26, 1998, Padre Ángel started celebrating this day. Since then, this festivity has increased its importance in Spain.
On May 18, 1998, the Mensajeros de la Paz Foundation was created with the main purpose of finding and developing ways of achieving peace and harmony among the people, fostering the solidarity among the different peoples and cultures and ensuring the assistance to society’s most underprivileged populations. The Foundation manages many projects both at a national and international level.
On March 2015, Padre Ángel took over the management of the Church of San Antón, located in Hortaleza Street, in the center of Madrid. Following in Pope Francis’ steps, Padre Ángel not only left the Church open 24 hours, but also started offering in it services oriented to assist people living on the streets of the city center in substandard conditions. This turned the Church into an operations social center.
Mensajeros de la Paz is legally constituted in numerous countries including: Argentina, Benin, El Salvador, United States, Honduras, Italy, Jordan, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Dominican Republic and Uruguay.
Moreover, we work directly or in collaboration with local organizations in different development cooperation, social assistance or humanitarian aid social programs.
To know more about our current international projects:
In Spain, Mensajeros de la Paz is present (in addition to Madrid) in the following Autonomous Communities: Andalusia, Canary Islands, Castilla-La Mancha, Castilla and León, Catalonia, Extremadura and Galicia.
Furthermore, Edad Dorada Mensajeros de la Paz is present in: Andalusia, Asturias, Cantabria, Castilla-La Mancha, Galicia, Castilla and León, Murcia and Valencia.