With much joy, as well as a great challenge, I wish to share my missionary experience in Antigua and Barbuda with you. What better way to do it? Than by sharing my story during this special month dedicated to MISSION: “Here I am, Send Me”! I discovered that in these islands, the people with whom I connect, share life and faith more closely. There are different beliefs, religions, customs, and values. Yet, in this diverse mix, God continues to pour out His grace and love on each one in a particular way!
I find myself sharing with a Spanish speaking community from the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Cuba, France and myself, an Argentinian. I see among the people simplicity, suffering, peace, and a search for the things of God. Among them are different challenges in terms of the economy and housing problems because almost all of them rent a place. With the problem of COVID-19 most of the people were left without work and consequently also behind in the payment of rent. Others have health problems, and the medicines are too expensive for them to get. In spite of the various difficulties they experience every day, these people do not lose their joy and hope in the God of Life who will open the way for them to find supportive people who will lend a hand.
I see in each face a great desire to overcome these difficulties on a personal level as well as on a spiritual and social level. During the visits I make during the week, I try to ask what they would like or need to reinforce, review, or learn about the Bible, catechesis, sacraments, liturgy and so forth. In this way, someday in the near future, they can integrate themselves in some pastoral activity. Before the pandemic, we began workshops for the health ministry. God willing, we will review this workshop again with the purpose of visiting the sick and the relatives who have lost a loved one. I am currently accompanying a group of children who are preparing for their first communion and a group of adults who want to prepare for this sacrament. We are also searching for a person to continue this service.
In November, we will begin workshops to prepare parents and godparents for baptism. We also have couples who want to receive the sacrament of marriage. We are planning to start the preparation workshops before the end of the year. At the request of some adults, I prepare them to approach the sacrament of confession. Others sought education in regards to basic computer skills, which is so indispensable at this time of pandemic.
Before concluding my experience of ministry here in Antigua, I want to share that in August we started a radio project with Father Robert Ratajczyk, SVD who is in charge of the technical department. Previously there was a technician, but he is retired. The radio programs are presented in English and Spanish. It is called “Where the Sound is Different” FM 89.7 - Catholic Hispanic Radio. It is a means of communication for evangelization. Its purpose is to create bridges of social dialogue, human, ethnic, religious, and missionary promotion.
Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we continue to shepherd the great flock entrusted to us by the Lord. Echoing “Here I am, Send me”, I count on your prayers and on our unity in the Eucharist.
We, Holy Spirit Missionary Sisters, are an international religious community of women disciples. Empowered by the Holy Spirit we invite people to a deeper communion with the Triune God by living and proclaiming the Gospel of joy, love, peace, and justice. In dialogue with people of diverse cultures and traditions, we minister together with them in promoting human dignity, life-giving relationships, and care for all of creation. To learn more about the Vocations Ministry and SSpS please click here.