Saturday, February 8, 2014


El Nino at BTC
El Nino at JP II
Last week was the  Presentation of the Lord.   For some countries, this really is the end of the Christmas season.  It is only after Feb. 2 that the nativity scene is put away until next year. At both missions we celebrated the custom with activities following Mass.   Through in one sense both Spanish Speaking communities did a similar presentation, there were significant differences.  Both groups prayed the rosary and had a meal, but the presentation of the child Jesus was different.
BTC reverence of the child Jesus

At Blessed Teresa of Calcutta Catholic Mission,  Maynardville the folks placed a very large image of the child Jesus, known as "El Nino" on the lap of one of our young mothers.  Individuals then approached the child on their knees and kissed the infant Jesus and then they were given a bag of candy.  Where as at Blessed John Paul II, Rutledge they dressed the child with handmade clothes, then took him around for everyone to honor and finally placed him on a throne like an infant king.  The reverance and care they put into this this prayer ritual demonstrates a deep appreciation for Jesus.  It may too, represent a strong sense of family life and the importance of children.  Either way, it is beautiful to be a part of it.
JP II the dressing of the infant

John and Lourdes presenting at JP II
The weekend before two representatives of the Bishop conducted a presentation on the possibility of a capital campaign that would include a new Cathedral for the diocese of Knoxville.  It was an education for all of us as the presentation on the dream for a Cathedral meet with the financial reality of our people.   At this moment, many of our parishioners are working only 6 - ten hours a week.   One week when the snow shut everything down, they worked no hours and had their children at home because school was closed. 

In light of this being such a tough winter with electric bills high because of the cold, children at home instead of in school which means more meals, and little outdoor work for those in construction and agriculture, we presented a few families with some food.   It was not much, but hopefully it made a difference.
Joe and Sarah preparing the food for delivery

 We were happy to present Donna to the local community during these basket delivery.   She is our first long term volunteer for the "Toppa Joppa" Glenmary volunteer program. She is a mother and grandmother, speaks Spanish and served in Liberia, Africa before joining us for one year in mission here.  Just one more dimension of our on-going missionary ministry.

Donna, our first long term volunteer

With all these presentations, please dear reader, present your prayers to our Lord for his continued blessings on these missions.

Chuck, our faithful driver

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