Once again, Ecuador has been blessed. On February 22, 2011, Fr. Rafael, Mother Ana, and Sr. Kelly Jo (who was visiting us for the first time) arrived in Playa Prieta. Their schedule was fairly tight and everything was ready.
We ate lunch and that same afternoon, around 5, the whole group of girls and women began to arrive. There were a total of 39 of them, from Chone, Playa Prieta, Pueblo Nuevo, y Portoviejo, who had all come for Spiritual Exercises.
February 2, 2011. The Servant Brothers serve the Holy Father
Everything that took place was completely from the Lord's gracious hand. In an authentic Home, one receives everything as a gift, with gratitude. And yet, even so, there are things that surpass our imagination. And so it was this past February 2, at 5 pm, when four Servant Brothers of the Home found ourselves in the Sacristy of Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome, with the mitre and staff of Pope Benedict in our hands, ready to serve him in this celebration of the Universal Church.
On Saturday, February 26, taking advantage of the visit we were paid by Father Rafael, Mother Ana, and Sister Kelly Jo, we had a get-together in Playa Prieta. Members and friends of the Home from Chone, Canuto, and San Vicente began to arrive around 9 am, along with others from Playa Prieta...all together: 150 people.
Saturday. A day full of activities for girls in Alcalá de Guadaíra, Seville (Spain). A grey sky with no sign of the sun making a guest appearance. Ominous clouds prey in the distance. For the time being, the rain had resisted. It was understandable that only a few girls would come. They started coming, one by one...until there were 46 of them. How brave!
On Sunday, February 20, the Servant Sisters in Rome led a day pilgrimage for college girls from Rome's various campuses to visit the places assciated with the life, martyrdom, and death of St. Maria Goretti located in the area of Nettuno, a small seaside town about an hour and a half southwest of Rome. We were a group of 19 all together.
In the very moment in which our beloved Holy Father, Benedict XVI announced in Sydney that the following World Youth Day would take place in Madrid (Spain), a group of 30 young people of the Home of the Mother from Chone and Playa Prieta, Manabí, Ecuador, started dreaming of going. It wasn’t going to be easy, as we did not have the funds to make it happen, but our excitement at the thought of being near the Pope got the better of us and now, nearly 3 years later, we are about to wake up from our dream to find that it has come true! Since April of last year, with the help of the Servant Sisters of the Home of the Mother, we have been working non-stop to try and raise all the money necessary to go to Madrid and participate, along with the other thousands of young people in this encounter of the Holy Father with the Church’s future.
On Sunday 20th February, the Servant Brothers in Rome got together with boys from St Thomas More College who are spending a semester there as part of their university study program and went on an excursion to visit the Benedictine monastery of Monte Cassino, founded by St Benedict himself in the 6th century.
As we had already prepared banners in honor of Our Lady during our last retreat for girls in Toreno, we suggested the idea of organizing a Rosary for the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, February 11, to our children and young adults in the catechism classes.
We now have the dates for the HM Summer Encounters in Spain! The 2011 Encounters will be held in Peranzanes, Leon (Spain).
First, will be the Girls’ Encounter: July 5-12, and then the Boys’ Encounter: July 19-26. The price is 100 Euros. So, sign up now!