VMY Montevideo, Uruguay – March 2011
There is an experience in the APU Province which reoccurs in various places January after January, always with renewed spirit, awaited and prepared for by all with the greatest enthusiasm: the Popular Rural Mission. The first two were in Uruguay with youth from the center in Montevideo; the most recent was on the provincial level, in Santiago del Estero, together with cool people from various parts of Argentina.
“Why to go to a mission?” This question has been repeated to me by friends, relatives…. I have even asked myself the same more than a couple of times…. The answer can be found without much difficulty, for example, in the Gospels and in the writings of Saint Vincent. Nonetheless the answer does not become unique and personal until the mission is experienced firsthand.
The mission is one of the most beautiful times of my life as a Christian. During the time of the mission there takes place all that makes one happy with God and neighbor. One has the chance to share life in a community, a town, a neighborhood. One lives with them their hopes, ideals, serious problems and everyday difficulties, above all sharing with them Hope, Life and the Greatness of the Lord. One can feel the happiness of God in the children who, always anxious, come to the activities wishing to play and learn together – something they do not always have the opportunity to do – and to know better Jesus and His message. The youth in the area find at last the answer for which they have been looking for a long time, and with the grace of the Holy Spirit, help us organize the daily activities and catechesis. One has to admit…. it costs the adults a little more to approach, open their heart and share among themselves. Many are Christians but in general there is little sense of community or Church. Here it is always a challenge….
This year we shared with the people of the community two dinners, or missionary moments, where besides the plate and prayer, we shared dances and games familiar in the area. This enriched us very much both the people as well as the missionaries and caused the bonds to strengthen between them and us and God.
Though one goes on mission to give all of one’s self, what one learns, shares and lives are immensely greater.
The mission means for me a close encounter with the living God, present in the people, in each child, in every adult. This closeness occurs in the Eucharist, through prayer, in the day to day activity of the mission, through the Liturgy of Hours, adorations before the Blessed Sacrament and lectio divina. Without a doubt the time of mission is for me the greatest closeness to God in the year.
The bonds which form with the individuals of the vicinity, with God and the other missionaries are unforgettable gifts which remain printed on the heart.
This was only an attempt to express with words what I feel upon going on mission. I hope that I can encourage you to participate and that the mission would really form a fundamental part of our lives as Christians in VMY.
“If we have love, we have to show it having people love the neighbor in God and God in the neighbor.” Saint Vincent de Paul SP XI 553
Rodrigo Pérez Fulloni VMY
March 15, 2011
Solemnity of Saint Luisa de Marillac