Browsing Reflections on the last year

by Lina Hernandez, Director of Youth + Youth Adult Ministry

     Years ago, during my high school days, I spent most of my Sundays with the Pontifical Mission Society, helping the missionary children  around town. Lent was a synonym of sacrifice, but it was the kind of sacrifice I enjoyed. My home parish in Barranquilla, Colombia (Our Lady of Torcoroma) once had a mission church on the outskirts of our city. To get to the church, my friends and I would have to take two local buses and walk a few miles. We had to help with the building of the church before we started catechesis.  During Lent, our activities increased with the planning for Holy week and their processions.  I will never forget the relationships that bloomed with the local community, our priest, and my youth group friends.

     Years have passed since then, but my desire to serve the poor has not changed.  If anyone asks me when I have been the happiest in my life, I have a few times that come to mind.  Those Sundays helping the community of Villa Sol, the missionary trips with the Claretian Sisters to the Dominican Republic, going to confession in Medjugorje, and walking the Camino de Santiago, are by far my favorite memories.

     For someone like me, who has always been adventurous, quarantine time did postpone many of my plans. However, has also helped me become closer with the friends I have made through my life.  Thanks to having more time available to me, ZOOM calls became a normal way to check on my friends and family more often.  I also took the time to learn a new language, train for a triathlon, and purchase my first home!  I know this is trivial in comparison to the suffering of others who were sadly isolated or dealing with the loss of a loved one, the cancelled mission trips,  and our children and teens not having access to faith formation.  All this makes me so very thankful for the many blessings I have received, the places I have visited, the hugs and the coffees I have shared.

     My faith has helped me see life with a joyful and grateful heart. Even in times of despair, I see the beauty of God’s merciful love, the value of the Eucharist, and the privilege to have a daily encounter with Him. Today, I surrender to Him.  My tears of worry are no longer because I trust Him entirely.  Perhaps He is inviting me to enjoy this time at home, His Home.