By Martin Rodriguez, volunteer in Ecuador
“Rejoice always in the Lord. I tell you again: Rejoice. Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.” (Philippians 4: 4-5)
These very words of the apostle Paul to the Philippians describe so accurately what we live here in Guayaquil –Ecuador- that it is as if they had been addressed from the onset to the “Trinidadian!" Indeed the people of my beloved ‘Isla Trinitaria’ have been spending this Advent time in a truly evangelical way: in joy, hope, generosity and availability.
All around us, we can sense that some big event is approaching, that Someone really important is on the way; and many activities help us prepare our hearts to His coming. Parishioners, divided in different missionary groups, go enthusiastically from house to house spreading and sharing a catechesis to help each other become more aware of this time of grace that the Church proposes every Advent. Each and every household prepares their crib, decorates and paints their houses with bright colors and everyone participates in parish activities that abound at this time of year.
On December 14th, an Advent decorated car vociferated all the neighborhood through that the Christmas Novena and its activities were to start the next day: daily cheerful “dawn rosary” at 5:00 am to start each day in the Mother’s attitude - the Magnificat; daily crowded Mass at dusk; the celebration of “Las Posadas” followed by a play representing Biblical passages; and a convivial fellowship for up to 150 people to close up each day, provided for by different parishioners.
The ladies belonging to the Fraternity St Jeronimo Emiliani, close friends of our Heart’s Home community performed Mary’s visit to Elizabeth on one of these evenings. They did a great job in helping our hearts expand and grow in expectancy, and availability: the same loving availability of Mary who runs in haste to serve her cousin right after pronouncing her Fiat.