Friday, September 6, 2013

Not every thing is a success

So often I write about all the success of starting these two Catholic Missions.   Yet, not everything is a success.   There are many challenges.  Yet the joy of this ministry and the many surprise blessings often overshadow those challenges.

For instance, at Blessed Teresa of Calcutta Catholic Mission we have been blessed with very high attendance over the summer.   We have been numbering over 90 people for English Mass and over 75 for the Spanish Mass.  This is a huge blessing.

Likewise, we have a large number of people in our RCIA classes.   This includes two families, one teenager, and two other adults.   This growth is all blessing and the work of the Holy Spirit.
Part of RCIA Class

At Blessed John Paul II Catholic Mission we had another confirmation and our English speaking community continues to grow.   We also have one person in the RCIA.
Confirmation at JP II

May 2012 JPII First, First communion Class

Yet, where as these three worshipping communities are growing, this is not true of the Spanish Speaking Community at Blessed John Paul II.   When we arrived here two years ago, this community was gathering occasionally for Saturday evening Mass about once a month.   An average of 45 people would attend.   In the first year, we had a sudden growth.   This included a large Guadalupe festival, many first communions and many confirmations.   Last year the religious formation was not well attended, but the Mass attendance stayed steady.   Yet over the summer it began to drop.

First Guadalupe Celebration at JP II, 2011
We had more people attend Mass during August 2012 than August 2013.   There are many reasons for this.  First among this is that in the summer many people are involved with the tomato farms.   They work six and sometimes seven days a week.   Since this work is seasonal, there is a strong sense that they need to work hard, long hours and save their money for the winter months when work is few.
Sr. Marianna visiting the tomato farms

 Besides this practical challenge, the other is most more challenging.   In Mexico many places only have Mass once a month, thus a every Sunday worship practice is not always possible.  Then prior to our coming here, many had to drive 40 minutes to church in one direction.  Thus a many had the routine of going to church only occasionally.  Again regular church attendance was difficult.   This however does not mean that these hard workers are without faith.   Their home devotions and prayer are very strong.  During Guadalupe or Christmas, many will participate in nightly rosaries sponsored at one another's home.   They are very faithful people and believers in our Lord Jesus Christ.
Guadalupe  Posadas, JP II, 2012

So the challenge is how do I and my mission team help lead them deeper into a Eucharistic Spirituality so coming to church on Sunday is something that fulfills their life and  the Real Presence of Jesus Christ becomes the center of their life?  There are no easy answers.

Yet, one Thursday we held a Mass to pray for all those Catholics and other folks not attending Mass.  Then we divided out into three teams and visited many homes inviting them to begin this fall with our new faith formation.   Who will respond to this invitation is not yet known.  Yet, the invitation from one member of the church to another is very powerful.  Many expressed their joy in receiving members of the visiting teams.
Home visits with Fr. Aaron
Welcome at the door
So not everything is successful, but we keep moving forward in hope.

No comments:

Post a Comment