This Lent, here I've started to open the chapel in the evenings when there isn't a Mass. It goes from 6:30 to 8:00 with adoration. It's the free offer of God's heart that is always open and inviting. People here are not accustomed to this type of personal freedom, they are only accustomed to the church being opened for scheduled community events. I'll be going around offering little leaflet invitations. Please pray that God will draw all freely and personally to His heart in the church! "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him." (Jn 6:44) When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all to myself. (Jn 12:32)
I was able to buy about 20 bibles for the community here using funds that I had planned to use for returning to Boston for the funeral services of Fr Jim but have redirected for benefiting the people here in his name. It took an 8 hour round trip to Quito to get them, I bought them from the Pauline bookstore there. They are good because they have a plastic cover and have large type in the New Testament, which is important for the rural areas as there's often a lack of vision care there. Plus, the cover has a picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe...
Along with this, I'm doing a presentation on different relevant themes in the Bible, each Sunday of Lent. I get out the video projector and put together a Powerpoint presentation with other dynamic elements, and go into some of the cool things about the Bible, the background history, and some personal stories, with multimedia. The idea is not a class, but biblical "paseos", or outings, like you would make an outing to a river (that is common here). The idea is that the Bible is like a river, a big mystery with a lot of entry points and a lot of different ways to make use of it. So, it's coming to know the Bible in the same way that someone would come to know the river, by guided visits. Please pray for the people and for me!
And so it was great for me to read what Pope Francis shared last Sunday about Lent and the Bible:
How do we hear the voice of God? We hear it in his Word. For this reason, it is important to know Scripture, because otherwise we do not know how to respond to the attacks of the evil one. And here I would like to return to my advice of reading the Gospel every day. Read the Gospel every day! Meditate on it for a little while, for 10 minutes. And also to carry it with you in your pocket or your purse. But always have the Gospel in hand. - Pope Francis, Angelus Address, 2/22/15
Have a great start to Lent!