Even before the coming of the pandemic, the practice of the faith among Catholics has drastically reduced. More Catholics practice their faith only during baptisms, weddings, and funerals. Lax Catholics seem not to take seriously their baptismal call or even grow in the knowledge of their faith, the Church, the mission, and their final destiny. This alarming tendency reveals a real abandonment of the faith in Christ. According to recent studies, many people say that they believe in God “but in their own way.” Sadly, God does not play our games. God’s justice will come to many as a surprise since what will be revealed is the Truth and not what will be convenient for us. Although coming to know the love and mercy of our Lord, it is also important to learn about his justice that is also made manifest through Jesus’ passion, death, and resurrection.
A few years ago, I was a pastor at a church that had a Catholic School. I realized that the school was not celebrating the sacraments or teaching the Catechism of the Catholic Church with the same importance as other subjects. I immediately began to change the structure of the school, despite the many concerns and protest by some faculty, but it was achieved. The children began to celebrate Holy Week, school mass, Catholic hymns, and service to the community. One parent was rather angry about the changes. She was a working mother and depended on her mother, the child’s grandmother, to bring the child to school and often go to school events. It seemed that the child and grandmother grew in their relationship because of their shared experience in learning the faith. The the child would tell grandma all that happens and what she is learning, her grandmother would say: “When I was little like you, we did the same things.” The child’s mother felt left out and hurt saying: “No one taught me these beautiful traditions.”
It seems that the current generation of parents appear to be far more concerned with making money and attending to entertainments rather than providing for their children the greatest inheritance they can offer: the faith, the value of how to work, and the development of character and morals. Many parents come from other countries and small towns. When I asked them from where they hailed from, they immediately name of the town and where it is. But when I ask: “What is the name of their children’s community?” there is a frightening silence. It is here that they become aware that their children are orphans without a community that knows them and loves them.
The Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe is the (Pueblito) hometown to families. This amazing place is where our youth can learn about each other, God, their mission, and their ultimate destiny. In participating the development of this sacred place, we provide a witness of our faith. It teaches that, for God, nothing is impossible if we open our hearts to dream and make those dreams come true. I invite you to help me raise this pueblito by opening your Guadalupen hearts!
Muy Rev. Esequiel Sanchez