We want to share with you our mission in Chile. We have three different communities in Santiago de Chile with varied kinds of missions.
One of the missions, that we work in is “Fundacion Las Rosas”, a Foundation that serves the elderly. Most of who have been abandoned by their families. At this institution we have received the gift of being able to accompany them in this very integral way. We believe it’s a very special mission to serve Jesus through them preparing their hearts to the encounter with God.
In the other two communities we work with young people that are in schools and in the university. We also work in different parishes giving catechesis for the sacraments, formation in faith and formation for volunteering and pastoral care.
Our first reading is from the Book of Acts. In fact, it is the beginning of that Book. Acts was written by St. Luke. It is a continuation of his Gospel in many ways. We do not learn that much about Luke from the New Testament. Most historians agree that he was a doctor; he was a Gentile; and he was a companion of St. Paul.
Acts is basically the continuation of Jesus’ work as described in the Gospels. In effect it describes how the Good News traveled from Jerusalem to Rome. Our readings today are filled with reminders that Jesus’ work is not completed. He commissioned His followers to continue it after His Ascension into Heaven. Among those commissioned so to speak is each of us.
The Lord’s work continues from that day to today. However, for it to continue and for the love He shared and displayed to be the factor it needs to be in our parish and in the Church and in the world it is reliant upon us.
It was St. Teresa of Avila who wrote, “Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which He looks compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which He walks to do good. Yours are the hands through which He blesses all the world. Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, yours are the eyes, you are His Body. Christ has no body now on earth but yours.”
Once again, the bloody fingerprints of a terrorist have been left on our society. Ever since that dreadful day in September, 2001, we have been dealing with the fingerprints of terrorism either through waging war, using drones to take out terrorists, or through an increasing acceptance of trading our liberty for security. And as the years have waned, our taste for war has grown sour. In general, western democracies have little desire to fight any more wars. As a result, our will and resolve when it comes to dealing with terrorism is greatly diminished. And while being a warmonger is not what we aspire to, protecting liberty and freedom sometimes requires a strong hand. So either we keep doing what we are doing and hence keep getting what we are getting, or ask for the terms of surrender so the killing stops, or design a new strategy.READ MORE
Our Apostolate in Colombia…In 2002 we opened our first foundation outside Peru: Colombia. Today, we are in the town of Marinilla, Antioquia. We have several missions, we feel, where the Lord wants us to serve. We would like to share some of them with you.
In the social pastoral area, we have the opportunity to help the elderly and people that are homeless. We do this ministry in coordination with “Accion Cartitativa” (Project of the Diocese).
In the pastoral health area, we visit those who lacking in this necessity of life. We also do pastoral work at the universities, accompanying the students and workers of “Universidad Catolica de Oriente”, providing formation in the Catholic faith and developing projects for the students to volunteer their services.
Through our service, we seek to be open to all the needs of the church. Nowadays, we assist in ministries in different parishes, such as: preparation for the sacraments, retreats and mission trips. We also have a project “Alegria y Esperanza” where we catechize people in human promotion in a very poor town in Marinilla.
When I was young(er), I was Dustin Hoffman - or at least people thought I was. People would ask me if I was, and sometimes I would even give my autograph. Ironically, I also worked for a lady named Mrs. Robinson, strictly business relationship, of course. Actually, she was Jewish, but “Jesus loves you more than you will know.” I thought of this when I saw that it is the 50th anniversary of the film “The Graduate” with Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft. In the film, Hoffman, a recent college grad, is given non-stop advice on what he should do, what job, what career is the best for him and is constantly asked what he wants to do with his life. He is given advice such as “There's a great future in plastics. Think about it. Will you think about it?” In the film he falls in love with the daughter of Anne Bancroft, who finds out he is also having an affair with her mother, and well, Hoffman’s entrance into adult life is a complicated mess.READ MORE
Holy Scripture, the Word of God, is filled with so much meaning for us each and every week, if we only listen carefully and absorb what we are being told. In the last verse of today’s First Reading we hear, “Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.” It is speaking of Sts. Peter and John who traveled to Samaria to more or less confirm those who had been baptized there.
In fact, most historians believe that the laying on of hands in the New Testament is the origin of the Sacrament of Confirmation. In the Apostolic Constitution on the Sacrament of Confirmation Pope Paul VI affirmed that laying on of hands in the sacrament of confirmation continues the grace of Pentecost (on Sunday, June 4 this year).READ MORE
As we enter into the Centenary Celebration of the Apparitions at Fatima, I want to point you towards Fr. Andrew Apostoli’s book Fatima for Today. Fr. Apostoli gives a thorough account of the history, theology, and the implications of the messages for us today. I highly recommend his work and at the same time caution you that there are different groups that promote the Fatima message, and not all of them are worth your time. There are some groups that dispute that St. John Paul II revealed the full contents of the “third secret” or that the Consecration of Russia actually took place according to our Lady’s direction.
Our Lady did warn that Russia (communist) would continue to spread her errors throughout the world. She specifically asked that the Pope consecrate Russia to her Immaculate Heart so it would be converted. Since no Pope has been able to actually go to Russia, though both John Paul II and Benedict XVI tried, this is how the consecration took place:READ MORE
The word “church” finds its roots in the Greek word “ecclesia”. However, a correct translation of that word is actually “an assembly of people, called out of their homes into a public meeting place.” Thus, the Church is really the people who make it up; the use of the term in relation to a building has developed through time, but we must never forget that it is we who are indeed the Church.
That is a basic part of something St. Peter writes in our Second Reading. Peter says, “… like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house,” in reference to the members. He is saying in effect that we are called to build a church with living stones, namely ourselves. We all also understand that for a structure to be most effective, every element is needed to keep it strong.READ MORE
As we are called by the Lord to serve the most needy people, we have a Pastoral and Solidarity Center named “Nuestra Señora de la Reconciliación” (Our Lady of Reconciliation) located in Tarifa (a very poor town of Guayaquil). With a group of volunteers we assist families that live there and give them a pastoral care through catechesis, preparing them for the sacraments, with courses of faith formation. We also seek to contribute to the social development of the people through human promotion with Labor Training Workshops.
Also, in Guayaquil, we have a center for young and adult women with mental disabilities called “Jacinta y Francisco”. We seek to educate and form them (along with their families) through the Catholic faith by providing them with everything necessary to maximize their skills and abilities so that in order to be socially and professionally integrated. This apostolate is with the help of a professional staff that is dedicated to the participants.
Our apostolate in Peru is called “Encuentra a Cristo”. In the city of Lima, one of the apostolic projects that we have is called “Encuentra a Cristo” (“Find Christ”) in which every week we go to visit, with a group of volunteers, those who are the forgotten, facing the hard life of living in the streets of the city.
For each one of us, as Servants of the Plan of God, it’s a pleasure to serve Jesus through them, asking us for help. We believe that God never forgets any of His children. He will do everything to have them return back to Him. We too want them to have the experience of God’s love. A love that always find us, even if we have committed mistakes. With the grace of God, we see many of them choosing the option of a better life and most importantly, a life with Jesus.
Shepherds and sheep were so much a part of life for Jesus and those from Galilee. Galilee was, after all, largely a rural area and raising sheep and shepherding was an intricate part of their lives. That is why the image of a shepherd with his sheep was so often used during biblical times. It was a connection with which people could identify.
It is equally important for us today to understand this important cultural connection for them. Shepherding was all about feeding the lambs and the sheep (recall that Jesus tells Peter “Feed my sheep.”), bringing them to good pasture lands and water (“The Lord is my shepherd…He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside quiet waters; he restores my soul.”); going after lost lambs (“Does he not leave the ninety -nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?”); and protects the sheep in the field and the fold (“The watchman opens the gate, and the sheep listen to his voice.”).
Our Gospel reading today comes from St. John 10: 1- 10. In St. John 10: 11, the next verse, Christ declares “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep.” As Catholics and Christians, we, too, are called to be Good Shepherds to all those with whom we come in contact. It may be from another culture than ours, but we should understand full well the implications of that.
The BIG ONE is coming. No, not my first heart attack - still awaiting that one, but the 100th Anniversary of the Apparitions at Fatima. The First Apparition took place on May 13, 1917, when Our Lady appeared to the three children, Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta on the 13th of every month from May until October. Her messages were dire warnings about the coming scourges that would engulf the world: two World Wars, Communist Russia and China - all of which were responsible for the deaths of tens of millions of people. Also, since she chose to appear in a city in Portugal named after the Muslim Prophet Muhammad, she also wanted to warn us of the conflict that is engulfing the world currently. Still, despite the warning of coming calamities, Our Lady offered hope that through prayer and penance some of the suffering could be mitigated and limited. After this period of 100 or so years, she promised that a period of peace would come upon the earth.READ MORE