First Communion for Santa Cecilia

In 2013, I visited the community Santa Cecilia each week along with one of the Franciscan sisters. Santa Cecilia is one of the satellite villages in Puerto Quito, and they received a visit from the local priest about once every several months. No one was available to visit the people there when the local priest asked me if I wanted to go. I invited Sr. Josefina to come along, and she continued for another year after I had to leave. By the end of the two years, 15 children received their first communion, in the first "first communion" experience of the village. For me, I also saw that the whole process was the children's - and the villages - first experience of communion in grace amongst each other.

The first time we went, we used the readings from the Mass to have a celebration of the Word. We had about 2 or three young mothers, plus some small children, gathered on a bamboo bench just outside of the local one-room schoolhouse. A dog lay nearby, and a large pig trotted by as we began. One young woman read the first reading while breastfeeding. And I remember that that was the first time that I ever preached, as a large number of small birds arrived to listen!  Well, from there we were able to use the schoolhouse for a bit, and then had to move to neighbor's house, as the group of children grew as well. We used material supplies that we could get in Puerto Quito plus our own creativity to give the people what I like to think of as the best activities of all the Sunday experiences in the Puerto Quito area! And above and beyond all, an experience of heart-felt communion. Check out the video: