It really is wonderful to be living in the countryside – in a village. Of course, I’m not living much like my neighbors, but I do get wonderful opportunities to interact with them.
Tonight a family dropped over. One of them and relatives of two others had done contract work in Florida last year and the employer had sent them the forms detailing their contract earnings. Of course, everything was in English. I explained what the forms were and noting the amount of two of the forms – about $4,500 and $6,600 – I told that was under the poverty level and they were not living in the US. But I told them to hold onto the forms. But we sat around for about 15 minutes to just chat about all sorts of things. What a blessing.
Another day, I had returned home after a workshop and a young guy who was milling sugar cane called over to me from across the field. I then dropped over to see how he was doing. He was surprised I dropped by, even though he had invited me to come over.
Parish work has been considerable the last three weeks I had workshops with catechists in the four zones of the parish. Over 100 showed up.
Last Tuesday we had a workshop or two people from each village to prepare for Holy Week. I went over the services and we talked about what to do. The advantage of this was not only to hear what has been done in some villages but also to have a bit of consistency in the whole parish.
There were some interesting questions. I urged them to have the church and the altar without any decorations on Good Friday – even without a cloth on the altar. Someone noted that some people in her village would question this. Why? I talked a bit about the solemn and somber nature of the liturgy but when I spoke of this is terms of Christ being naked, stripped of his garments, it made a lot of sense to her. Another woman noted that the altar represents Christ and thus, for her, it made sense to have a bare altar.
We also arranged to have the Communion ministers go to the villages on Tuesday and Wednesday of Holy Week so that they can visit the sick and so that the villages will have the chance of receiving Communion in Holy Week.
I had told Padre German to send me where he wanted on Holy Thursday and Good Friday. I’ll be going to three of the poorest and most remote villages. It won’t be easy but I see this opportunity as a blessing.
I’ve also been working on material for sacramental preparation and will soon start to look at materials for the youth base communities. There’s no lack of work.
After Easter I've be taking a quick trip to the US - but this is home.
Life continues with its daily little joys and it’s good to be here.