We closed the parish mission this Sunday morning at the 10:00 am Mass. The seventy-four parishioners who had spent a week in different locations in the parish returned for a short evaluation with Padre German.
Most had a very good experience and were well-received by their hosts in the 54 different sites in the parish. Many managed to visit almost all the houses where they went.
In one area, the missionaries reported that they had visited not only the Catholics but more than 50 houses of evangelicals, including the houses of three evangelical pastors.
In several cases they helped the people reorganize themselves into base communities or welcomed people back to the Catholic Church.
Some people were surprised – and happy – to find Catholic missionaries at their doors. They are all too accustomed to have evangelicals or Jehovah Witnesses knocking.
After the discussion we headed off to Mass. They entered with a hymn of thanksgiving.
The Mass was simple - but with a nice spirit.
After Mass, a group in Dulce Nombre had prepared a lunch for all of them.
This is just the beginning of an effort in the parish. Padre German is proposing sending the same missionaries out from Palm Sunday to Wednesday of Holy Week, as well as having another mission week next October.
This is heartening, a real effort to follow Pope Francis’ invitation to be a church that goes outside its walls. As he wrote in Joy of the Gospel, ¶ 20:
In our day Jesus’ command to “go and make disciples” echoes in the changing scenarios and ever new challenges to the Church’s mission of evangelization, and all of us are called to take part in this new missionary “going forth”. Each Christian and every community must discern the path that the Lord points out, but all of us are asked to obey his call to go forth from our own comfort zone in order to reach all the “peripheries” in need of the light of the Gospel.
What a joy to be part of this.