Colombia - A shared mission / Laity and Little Sisters of the Assumption
During Holy Week in 2015, some Little Sisters (Amparo, Esperanza et Zoila), laypeople (Leyda, Fabio) and an Aola (Luz Amparo), had the opportunity to take part, for the first time, in the mission in a district of the municipality of Filadelfia en Caldas, a department in the west of Colombia. It is a coffee-producing area; the district of Morritos is at 1,760 metres above sea level. It is a beautiful, agree-able place, with a rather cold climate which was warmed for us by the welcome given by those who received us, beginning with the priests: Edinson, the parish priest, and Father Fredy (curate), who trusted us to carry out this important mission.
We arrived on Saturday the 28th of March and remained for all of Holy Week. From the time of our arrival and welcome we were witness to evangelising actions by the inhabitants. We settled into two rooms close to the little chapel. We quickly organised our dormitory with the materials (mattresses, blankets, pillows etc.) loaned to us by various people.
On Sunday we began the activities with the blessing and procession of the Palms, to celebrate as a community the arrival of Jesus: that triumphal entry to renew our lives.
A youth of sixteen had agreed to take the role of Jesus riding on a "borrowed" donkey, as the text says. His presence reinforced the attitude of the community that is respectful and has such deep faith. It was possible to sense the action of the Spirit who is revealed in those who are simple of heart.
During the three days before the Paschal Triduum we had times of reflection with the children and also with the adults, at different times, so as to be more aware of these holy days. It was really wonder-ful that this community recognised how, on many occasions during their lives, they do the same thing that Jesus did – and which He continues to do with each one of us – through total giving, the faith they have, respect for others and the value and importance of life as a community and in their family.
On Monday, the subject of the reflection was the meaning of Holy Thursday: the value of devotedness, of solidarity, and of Love. On Tuesday we meditated on the meaning of the cross and how to live it as Jesus did.
On Wednesday, with the people of the district (children and adults), we celebrated the Jewish Passover, in a catechetical way, so as to understand the culture of Jesus with its traditions but, above all, to show that the Eucharist is at the centre of the Christian life. It was a magnificent celebration, carried out as a family in an attitude of prayer, reflection and community sharing.
At the end of the celebration many people said it was the first time they had experienced something like that. They thanked us for such an opportunity and were motivated to continue with the other celebrations.
During the Paschal Triduum, there was good participation by children, teenagers and adults. We could feel the support, the solidarity, the participation and the commitment of the community.
For us it was very significant that, even though there was no priest, it highlighted the intensity, the dedication, the faith and the love with which each celebration was carried out: the way of the cross, with some special times of prayer and recollection, the liturgy of the Word in silence, participation and reflection, the seven Words of Christ on the cross – all of this was in an atmosphere of listening, reflection and attentiveness to each message.
On the Saturday, at 6 a.m., we recited the pilgrim rosary with meditation and biblical reflection on the sorrowful mysteries of the Virgin. That evening, we had the great celebration of the Paschal Vigil as the conclusion of this beautiful week. That day it was Father Fredy who accompanied us with surprising simplicity.
Throughout the whole of the shared mission we were able to recognise Jesus, Servant and Saviour: Servant because we saw the charism reflected in families that share, with concern for one another, in the kindness and hospitality shown to us, being attentive to our needs. And Saviour because they truly live the love of the Lord and of their brothers and sisters.
As Scripture says: "Let us be concerned for one another, to stir up a response in love and good works. Do not stay away from the meetings of the commu-nity as some do, but encourage one another to go; the more as you see the Day drawing near." Hebrews 10:24-25
In such a beautiful setting, our eyes were able to admire the impressiveness of creation: the landscape, the flowers, the scents, the rain, the people. We received a great gift that is not experienced much in the city – tranquillity; there are no discussions, it is life in community. All this recalled the life of the first Christian communities. In the midst of the many conflicts and difficult situations that our country is going through, we can say that this place is "a territory of peace", in spite of some difficulties being experienced by those who live there..
Whether we are laity or Little Sisters, we still have some thinking to do and many concerns to deal with.
- Defend and take even more care of the planet, of water and of peace.
- How do we live out our Christian/Assumptionist commitment?
- How do we ensure continuity for the mission, taking account of the wonderful welcome we received from the priests and the community in general.
- Cultivate non-violent relations, live in solidarity etc.
- Learn to work as a team
- Examine more intensively the importance of the shared mission.
- We need to be trained for the mission
- Importance of the youth and vocations ministry
- Make known the different forms of belonging to the Assumption
"Thank you to the Little Sisters who offered us this opportunity, this mission, that leaves us Resurrection, life, peace, reflection…"
And, to conclude, we ask: who, in fact, were those who were really evangelised?
Can we say that we are missionary disciples?
We ask the Lord that He would give us Wisdom, simplicity, humility, and that we may be attentive to His calls and projects so that we may respond to them. May we "give freely what we have received freely", as the Gospel says.
It only remains for us to say with the psalmist: "How good, how delightful it is for all to live together like brothers." Psalm 133
For the missionary team:
Luz Amparo – Aola from Medellín
Amparo – Little Sister from the Aguablanca community