St. Lucia Summer Mission 2018
After fifteen years of silence, the church bells sounded once again for the final Mass. The furthest flung homes heard a call to return to God; the faithful (who kept in their hearts the memory of the parish’s glory days) rejoiced again in the victory of our God; and the other religions (especially the Pentecostals who have grown in these last years) understood that the Catholic Church which seemed mortally wounded is ready to begin again. As the Gospel which we read in these days said, “she is not dead, but sleeping.” These tolls of the bell have been the “Talitha cum” of the Lord, and the Church rises up like a warrior. These bells sounding again for the final mas has been a sign of what has occurred in these three years of mission: the local Church has awakened with the hope of glory. During the mission we undertook many activities, most importantly, visiting the homes. It is there that disciples are formed. As we always do, according to the instructions of the Lord in the Gospel, we went out by twos and threes to visit the six small towns surrounding Holy Family Parish, a parish which is lead by a zealous priest, but who is in charge of two parishes and all of the schools. As a result of the visits, in the last days we proposed to the families to consecrate their homes to God. In a moment of prayer in which we sung, “I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back, no turning back,” we stuck a sticker to the door with a Divine Mercy image and the inscription, “This is a Catholic Home.” Toward the end of the mission you could see all the homes that painted the doorposts of their doors, begging the protection of God and his angels. It was a victory in Christ.
There were also games for children, which, just as they did for Saint Francis de Sales in Geneva, opened the doors to the toughest homes. We also hosted a two-day retreat in the local prison ending with confessions and mass with 60 prisoners plus the guards who sung even louder than the prisoners. One night the women missionaries met with the women from the parish, and the next night the men met with the men. There were three nights of retreat on the prayerful, fraternal, and missionary community with a closing Mass. 140 people at the first night and 300 at the final Mass! Victory in Christ. As fruit of the mission we were able to plant three houses of prayer that will meet weekly with materials we have given them for the next six months. We trained the leaders and did the first two meetings of the house of prayer during the mission. As a fruit of the meeting with woman from the parish we trained 5 “Lydia’s,” who, carrying the name of that woman in Philippi that was the first to open her heart to the message of Saint Paul, and left her commerce in purple dyes to carry the Gospel. These five women, with purple cloths about their shoulders as a sign, will visit 5 houses of people who haven’t come to Mass to bring them the parish bulletin, recount the highlights of the homily, pray with them, and invite them to Mass and other activities. Finally, the Spirit suggested to us to revive a group of men that existed 15 years ago called, “Men of Faith.” Under the leadership of Stan, a just man that works as a police officer and is deeply appreciated in the community, these men will gather monthly to read the Bible and pray. We had a first meeting with 10 of them. New sprouts are beginning to show, the pastor is really happy, and disciples are making disciples. Victory in Christ.