Current Ministries

Immigration Retreats in Boston Area

In April, I and some friends initiated the first immigration retreat. I had been accompanying the Hispanic community at St. Anthony Shrine for several years until last year, and we had taken steps to organize the retreat before it ran out of support. But friends from the Shrine decided that we would do the retreat together in a small group format, which I think is the best way to do it. Accompaniment and sharing in the community life was the baseline for ministry. It opens the door for extending this retreat experience to other immigrants after an accompaniment period in a type of mission, as a grassroots, bottom-up retreat.

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The retreat itself was supported equally financially by the participants, though I did most of the organizing, ideation, and procurement. It is a participatory retreat with a balance of listening, vulnerable sharing, teammwork, and personal arts and crafts.  About 4 to 5 hours, the retreat environment allows Latino immigrants to identify, remember, unpack and recount their migration experience in the intimacy of small community of other immigrants. Afterwards, and each person can memorialize their story in a personal way by decorating a candle-holder/lantern that can be taken home and continually reused as a memorial of their migration experience and God's hand in it.

The retreat is placed in the context of the mystery of God's salvation as experienced by the Israelites' crossing the Red Sea. Retreatants are guided in relating their experience to that of the People of God, and a safe, trusting environment is established with sacred symbols, songs, interactive activities, and media.

Everyone who participated reported having a fantastic experience that had changed them to some degree and had changed our relationships. We all had a desire to continue with more meetings and workshops and activities that fed us spiritually and socially and communally. We have meetings planned to do this.   

Pastoral Ministry in Chontal

Coupled with, and as a fruit of, sharing life in Chontal, a variety of pastoral ministries naturally arise as seasons ebb and flow, that are at the core of the mission of turning barriers to bridges as brothers and sisters from the USA to Ecuador. These include:

  • Facilitating and preaching Celebrations of the Word
  • Spiritual accompaniment, personal and communal.
  • Visiting seniors, remote homes, and the poorest.
  • Facilitating the development of new groups and local movements, providing initial support and guidance and impulse, empowering sustainable local vision, leadership, community.
  • Facilitating new service-oriented projects and bridge-building.
  • Teaching and forming others for church ministries, including catechists, lectors, altar servers
  • Initiating and facilitating special faith-based celebrations, including Our Lady of Guadalupe, New Year's, local patrons, etc.
  • Formation in tools for advancement: language and technology. An emphasis on service to the human person and relationships.
  • Sharing of simple written materials, media, that are relevant to the local way of life and particular seasons. These include sharing my own book Luz en las Tinieblas, distributing foundational devotional literature, as well as showing of movies with quality themes.

Social Outreach Ministry in Chontal / San José de los Manduriacos

A new social outreach ministry is being formed in the parish San José de los Manduriacos, which is the parish in which Chontal is located. The aim is to integrate folks who have or have the intention of reaching out to those in the local communities who have the greatest needs: spiritual, emotional, material. As an initial participator and strong supporter, I aim to continue as a participator and supporter. 

Local Presentations About the Mission

I continue to share locally here in Boston about this mission, and am always open to new ideas for others' participation and for bridge-forming between families, groups, communities, and institutions such as parishes, schools, and others (seniors, children, people with disabilities, etc.)

If you're interested in hearing more, I'd love to hear from you - come on over to the contact page.

Living in Chontal

I've lived in Chontal for various durations, mostly as a short-term visitor between 2010 and 2014, but since then as a part-time "resident". Coming as a stranger with a message of "family" to a mostly isolated, poor, rural place on the other side of the world is a huge challenge in human trust-building! Accompanying the people of Chontal and sharing in the their life has been a joy for me, and has developed me into not a benefactor from beyond, but a family-member, a friend, a missionary who brings good news in relationship.