Reflecting on our Common Home
By Nelly Monrroy
It’s been two days since we returned from our mission trip. Many of us are missing our mission family as we return to our normal day-to-day activities or continue our summer plans. Deacon Pedro reminded us in his homilies to remember what we experienced and to share it with others - to create awareness.
Every year the priest at our sister parish, el Sagrado Corazon de Jesus, gives us direction about what to focus on - a theme. This year’s theme was on the environment. Ricardo had shirts made for the team that show two hands holding the world and “In the Beginning” stitched underneath. Many people at the parish saw us wear them, Sunday after Sunday, since we started preparing for the mission in April. The shirts serve as a constant reminder of our theme. We prepared to share the theme with the young adults, children, and adults through presentations, skits, and arts and crafts. Even our luggage tags that were made by Silvia Sanchez, one of the missionaries, reminded us of the theme.
In seeing how humbly the people of Santa Cruz del Quiche live, I recalled Pope Francis urging us to care for our common home. Our sister parish is taking great steps to encourage parishioners to recycle. Teachers at the schools find creative ways to solve problems - like filling plastic bottles with wrappers and stuffing them in the crevices of their classrooms to minimize the sound from other classrooms or outside. Showers are often cold because the hot water has run out. Children made us handmade gifts using just paper, glitter, oak tree seeds, and feathers they collected. Bones and leftovers are collected to feed to the dogs, so they have something to eat too. In the streets of Quiche, buses and cars zip by and the exhaust from their vehicles trail behind, leaving us coughing or holding our breath. Mothers cook in dark, dirty rooms with little to no ventilation. David told them about his mother. She got sick from years of cooking in similar conditions in his hometown in Mexico. It was his way of urging them to open up the room for ventilation. Time and time again, we had problems with the Wi-Fi connection - making it difficult to share our stories and pictures, or see the responses and support.
As we got a tiny glimpse into the daily lives of the people there, many of us could not help to notice the stark differences between how we live and how they live. They live simply and humbly. They live with pure joy and give of themselves so plentifully. Many of us live with abundance, some of us overlook the simple joys and graces in our day-to-day business, and some of us hold back. Day after day on the mission, I thought of Pope Francis - urging us to care for our common home in his encyclical, Laudato Si. I thought of his frank observations of countries that have plenty and countries that have little. I recalled his gentle yet strong reminder that we only have one world. We cannot be indifferent to how our actions and inactions are destroying our common home.
During our young adult retreat, we had an activity. Alexis and the Carillo sisters had written on one side of index cards, “Yo cambiaré el mundo…” - “I will change the world…” The retreatants had an opportunity to reflect and then commit to making a change in their lives to care for our common home. They were instructed to write their commitment on the opposite side of the index cards, then take them home and hang them as a visible reminder each day of their commitment.
On Saturday, June 20, we invite you to join us at 6:30 pm in the Community Center. We will come together again as a mission family and share our experiences at the Share the Experience Potluck. Maybe, just maybe, as we share everything we experienced and the love of the people of Quiche with you, we will all be moved to change the world too.