Gathering youth to form the next generation is a universal issue for the Vincentian Family. Aidan Rooney and Diego Plá write from the parish of San Pedro in Mocomoco Bolivia, of a successful first gathering of rural young people. Hopefully, some of them will become missionaries! San Pedro is part of the Vincentian Bolivian Altiplano international mission of the Congregation of the mission. “Looking beyond the present, we think they are the future of the mission, not only because they are young but because in the near future they will be the leaders of their communities and parish leaders, since much of the support for the mission is based on the selfless work performed by catechists in their communities. The parish of San Pedro de Mocomoco has fifty-three communities…”
For years we’ve been conducting a formation project with university students supported by scholarships from our mission. But never in those years we had we brought together young people who remain in our communities and do not go to the city of La Paz or El Alto. These young people attend the celebrations we have in each of their communities but are limited to the celebration in the Eucharist. Looking beyond the present, we think they are the future of the mission, not only because they are young but because in the near future they will be the leaders of their communities and parish leaders, since much of the support for the mission is based on the selfless work performed by catechists in their communities. The parish of San Pedro de Mocomoco has fifty-three communities, and that makes continuous monitoring impossible.
The first weekend of August, the young people in nearby communities were called together. Attendance was very positive, fifty-one, without even thoroughly preparing the call. We were testing to see how things would turn out. We weren’t surprised by their joy and participation in everything that was scheduled; it was like water in a thirsty land! It was a wake up call indicating that we can not forget this work of the mission. Another really positive thing was the participation of university students who are involved in the formation project called “Nayrar sarpaxañani (Forward together!), who helped with the preparation and implementation of the program prepared for this meeting.
First thing on the agenda was a few dynamics to quickly breakdown fears so that we could get to the meat of the matter: addressing issues vital to the learning environment to connect with God: to listen, to be creative eliminating the fears that grip us. Finally, we addressed the issue of commitment that was given by one of the young university students.
We concluded with the Eucharist in Aymara, a luxury for us, because the young people participated more actively than is our experience in many of the communities, simply because many in them can not read, and can not even respond with the sung acclamations of the Mass.
They have asked that we continue with these meetings at least once every three months. The first thing that comes to mind is “The harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few.” God grant that among these young people we will find these workers.
(Translated loosely by me. Actually, I was happy all weekend, even though I look tired in the photo. +Tom Krafinski, C.M., would have been proud of the work done! This is posted as his wake is going on in Philadelphia.)