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Rome – Briseida Cotto Ayala, Puerto Rican, 52, is the third president elected to lead the Missionary Community of Villaregia, a community made up of consecrated laity, priests, married couples and individuals of different nationalities, united by a mission: to bring joy and the proclamation of the Gospel to the entire world, to build communities, to live fraternal communion and to promote the dignity of every person, favoring the poor, the marginalized and the victims of injustice. Founded in Italy in 1981, today the Missionary Community is present in 9 countries in Africa, Latin America and Europe, with 16 communities. The elections were held on July 10, during the General Assembly which began on June 29 , but her appointment became effective only after the confirmation by the Dicastery for the Laity, the Family and Life, as foreseen by the Community Statute.
The first words of the new president, as reported in the note sent to Fides, were: “I said yes to the will of God which was manifested through the trust of the brothers and sisters in the assembly. I would like to continue to serve the Community with joy and the certainty that it is the Lord who guides our history. I thank you for the journey made with the outgoing council for fraternity and communion in the search for the good of the Community, which have united and guided us in recent years”. During the Assembly, which was held online due to restrictions due to the health emergency, the Council of Presidency was also renewed. The last acts of the Assembly are the drafting and approval of the Final Document and the concluding Eucharistic celebration, on Sunday, July 18. Briseida Cotto Ayala was born in 1969 in the city of Caguas, Puerto Rico, and joined the Missionary Community of Villaregia in 1991. She graduated in pedagogy and carried out her missionary service in Peru where she completed her studies in theology. She lived in Italy for several years, occupying coordination and responsibility roles in some local offices. Six years ago she was elected to the Council of Presidency, and she represented the Community of Villaregia in the Conference of Missionary Institutes in Italy , where she was secretary for 4 years.