“Important is not to think much but to love much”
Teresa of Jesus. Inner castle.
To see, to contemplate with the eyes of Christ
The healthy social distance by COVID-19 has been the vehicle for us to be closer to thousands of stories that converge in a common space and that we want to be more useful for pastoral, spiritual and educational purposes than for than training. That’s God, it has always been like this, when things have been harder, there’s more profit and opportunities in another sense. It has always been that way. When Calasanz was in the most difficult predicaments, it is when the light of the holiness of the founder, the Pious Schools, the Church, the poor children and young people, the Piarists, shone most. This complex moment we are transiting through need can be a call to be better and let the light of the risen one shine in our lives and structures.
I confess that I have taken a long time to write this article, where I do not want to be the protagonist of an experience that many of us have built… but I do want to express in this article, what I look at and contemplate with the pastoral initiative that is Facebook: Juniorate Piarists Mexico.
On March 17, the juniors came home with a question, what is going to happen to us? The classes had ended in their face-to-face format because of COVID-19, and a new academic phase began… the virtual format.
Actually, at the time I did not know what to answer. However, something inside me, I knew I had to pray and think, and so I did.
Three are the categorical conclusions I reached:
- This pandemic theme has caught us by surprise. No one knows what to do and how to coordinate this situation. There are many of us who speak and we have to discern “TOGETHER” information in the light of Christ.
- The daily life to which we were accustomed will change and that we can build it, but we must now look for the criteria from which we have to build it. It is a formidable time to build new dynamics. It is a time of great opportunity in the dark of fear and uncertainty. New scenarios are at the door, it is our turn to open the door for them and take them in.
- We cannot stand with our arms folded waiting for everything to happen. Well, God is not like that. Therefore, we cannot leave the young people of the Groups of Talcoligia abandoned in “mute” mode, because when we return, surely we will not find them in the same place.
Here is how “something” came up in the community that sums up several intentions:
- Pastoral care
- Experiential accompaniment
- Exercise of ministry in another space of evangelization
We immerse ourselves “ALL TOGETHER” on the social networks of Facebook, Instagram and YouTube of Juniorate Piarists Mexico. This pastoral educational experience has many edges that I still do not find how to classify and encompass them. Perhaps because this was born as an open project, in continuous construction, sensitive to the reactions of the people who follow this accompaniment, and above all, to let in the omnipotence of God in this space, let Him inspire us to reach those whom God has entrusted us to watch and care for.
The foundation. We allow the Gospel to enlighten us
Juniorate Piarists Mexico on Facebook, YouTube and Instagram has been integrated by various activities that we now prepare in community, in common-union, in cooperation, in dialogue, in an attitude of discernment, in an attitude of raising awareness of the messages that are transmitted. In making authentically transparent what we live and what we are and we want to be. And above all, making more transparent the call of Jesus to follow him and to overcome our fears and doubts “TOGETHER”. It has been this formidable point, which I have really enjoyed in the accompaniment.
Life in the juniorate has become an opportunity to focus our gaze on Jesus and to do things for Him, to focus our gaze on children and young people and to be sensitive to them and their families. To focus our gaze on the families and society we suffer and to be in agony in despair and fear, but that “TOGETHER” we can weave the range of possibilities that make us more cohesive and more supportive.
Jesus, the Christ, is an event of incarnation, and the Trinity a real relationship of communion. This is the model we want to promote in pastoral practice through social networks. We want it to be the complete experience of the Apostles in John 21, 1-14. Including the moment of confusion when the apostles caught nothing overnight. But also, we gratefully wish that it will cause in many the experience of hearing Jesus tell us where to throw the nets, and to put on the table of the altar the fish that are the fruit of the Kingdom of God among us. We also welcome the Pope’s words in the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation (2019) “Christus Vivit”: Christ Lives and Wants You Alive.
Finally, enlightening pastoral practice with the Gospel is our duty, so that we do not pride ourselves on the fruits obtained, but only to Him glory and honor. He is the one who provides, He is the one who grows, but it is up to us to sow, and to water.
People. The convened community
The people involved come from various scenarios where the Spirit flows and speaks differently. Religious and lay people; youth from early years to professed of solemn vows; young people in vocational discernment to young people who every day build their Piarist identity by vows; inexperienced to experts of communication, on this ship we all fit. Everyone, including those who see our pastoral moments, follow us, participate in the activities, live the Eucharists with us. etc. All of us, we form a new community. We seek that not only do they consume a service, but see in the service we provide, the call to which they are called to participate in the construction of the new scenarios that we must face “TOGETHER”.
Between understandable and valid fears, but above all in a spirit of trust and dedication, the juniorate community, and little by little, more people, we have been building this space. It wasn’t easy, because what we thought was going to be short, has been getting longer… what we thought was going to translate as “rest” turned to different work… something we thought would be just the juniorate, it would now be an experience of community and communion. We are experiencing transformation, as a dynamic that was not before very explicit to us, because the human being is by nature routine and ritualistic… now there are no rituals, no routines, everything is new, transforms us and challenges us.
We discover the helplessness that gives us to stop meeting in person with the children, young people and families of our apostolate. The confusion that generates within us this estrangement. We found out we wish we would not get it to keep serving, but we know we do not.
We discover that it is not easy to walk in the same direction even in times that demand this attitude from us. But that this space is an areopagus to generate such a dynamic.
We discover that generosity is more significant than flight, silence, or passivity.
We discover that the Spirit blows and we do not know where it comes from and where it goes but – as happened to Calasanz – we must be attentive in his step, so that he does not pass suddenly and leave.
We discover that our juniors have a seed of renewal, a light of hope, a word of encouragement that we must still know how to welcome, and sustain, and let their word and light sustain us, especially those who think they do not need.
We discover that the lay Piarists are a source of pastoral energy and that it does us much good to accept the charism that they possess within them, because it challenges us and moves us to cease to be territorial or selfish.
We discover that this is not ours, and that it is open to being a NETWORK Mission, because when we least expect it, this was “entangled” with México Calasanz Movement, Morelos, and with the UFEC in Miami. We feel more Piarists, more at home.
We discover that being NETWORK, according to the Gospel of John 21, 6-8 is an art of listening, dialogue, openness, joy, tolerance, understanding, compassion, work, hope, shared leadership, quiet and humble work. “And the NETWORK didn’t break…”
We discover that we have faith, but we must ask more strongly for the faith we lack, for in the middle of the night, visions arise that God is with us, and blesses the work of the day laborer. For prayer for vocations and accompaniment to young people has not ceased, and even in the healthy social distance, the Lord continues to send us to those who listen and accompany. Thank you, Adrián, for accepting the Lord’s invitation to live your discernment within the juniorate community. Thank you, Octavio, for letting yourself be inspired by the Spirit and living holy week in the key to listening to the call. Thank you Justino, Luis Javier, Omar, Julen, Alam, José Luis, José, Lupillo, Patricio, Juan Francisco, Sergio, Emilio… by staying in touch with AVE forms or other resources, occupied in God’s call to your lives.
We discover that we are the ones who put the barriers, but the Holy Spirit is responsible for reunite the divided.
We discover that it is worth giving life as a Piarist, for it is the way Calasanz teaches us to follow Jesus and reach the Father, and children and young people, in circumstances like these that we live.
The Holy Week was exceptional, because with little, we discovered that we were able to do and give a lot, and that with many, the wealth was overflowing.
We discover the need we have as a Church to make the Network not an instrument of evangelization but an environment, a new theological place, from which the coherence of the Christian life can also be transparent and the Word of God proclaimed.
Many… in short: change of mindset, let ourselves be touched by the Spirit of the risen one, to be a thorough day laborer of God.
I am sure we have not seen everything, and we may have omitted some situations, of which, we are sure that together we will find out.
The above concerns, in short, are a thoughtful invitation to realize that we require training or digital literacy to exercise our role as pastoral agents communicating the Word of God from and with the evangelizing possibilities of social networks.
The boundaries between physical reality and virtual reality are so blurred that both spaces have to be looked at already as part of the one reality – albeit in the background. Nothing like being faced with someone having a good coffee, in a good talk, or a camp with the kids or young people, or a meeting of so many topics that summon us. How to make it tangible? This is our task as pastoral agents.
It remains for us as a pastoral task to continue to discern, dialogue, discover and plan, how to approach this reality from the spirituality or holiness of the “next door”, seeing in it the scope of expression of the highest aspirations of mankind, such as communication, knowledge and relationship.
Activities we have found so far.
- Eucharists on weekdays
- Sunday Eucharists with wink theatre
- Dialogue with Jesus. Holy hour
- Juvenile catechesis. Time with Calasanz and Mary
- Catechesis with children. Jesus and Calasanz child
- Save a junior
- Information capsules of vocational culture, Piarists and Calasanz
- Songs and dynamics for groups
- Viacrucis, Vialucis and the Easter triduum
- Easter preparation retreat online
Thank you all for continuing to put your grain of sand, because: We are with you and with you, we are more.
Facebook: Juniorato “Escolapios Mexico”
YouTube: Juniorato Escolapio CDMX
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Fr. Julio Alberto Alvarez Díaz Sch. P.