Thursday, January 30, 2014

Out to Delicias - the delights of ministry

Yesterday, the feast of St. Thomas Aquinas, I went with Padre German to the village of Delicias, Dolores – a village up a very bad road which is nearly impassible in rainy weather. Fortunately, it was sunny.

It’s the first time I had been to Mass in Delicias Dolores and it was good to meet another community, though I knew a number of people already.

The town has about 50 houses, in the midst of coffee fields, though this year the crop is poor due to a fungus that has devastated one coffee variety and the prices are very low. But I saw a good number of people picking or returning from picking. There were lots of young people, but also families with little kids and grandparents.

The church in Delicias Dolores
In Delicias, Padre German asked me to speak of St. Thomas Aquinas at Mass. Seven young people were baptized at the Mass and so I tried to speak more directly to them, combining the Gospel, the life of St. Thomas, and their baptism. I had no notes; so I can’t tell you all that I said. But I’m getting accustomed to being asked to reflect and so spend more time than usual thinking, usually as I’m driving out to Dulce Nombre.

I had spent the morning working on materials for religious education in the parish. I’m writing materials for confirmation preparation, preparation of parents and god-parents for the baptism of infants and children under 7, material for baptismal preparation for children between 7 and 14 (the catechumenate of children), and material for the catechumenal for those 14 and above who are seeking baptism.

It’s fun, but not easy since it’s a lot of work and it’s in Spanish. But the challenge is to make the material understandable for people with little formal education, participative for kids who are too accustomed to classes where people speak for hours, and helpful for the students in their faith formation. Recently, Padre asked me to prepare some first communion material.

But we are hoping to form teams for formation and spirituality who will help in the formation of catechists and other pastoral workers.

Another day out in the countryside. A real delight

Tomorrow is a meeting of all the parish’s catechist. Next week I start a series of workshops for catechists in the four zones of the parish. Then I’ll be helping Padre German in meetings for base communities.

There is work – but that’s what I’m here for  and what I love.

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