The Servant Sisters in Playa Prieta tell us about the Feast of the Epiphany (Three Kings) in Playa Prieta (Ecuador), January 7, 2017.
Although this is not precisely the latest news, we want to share the great joy the Magi brought to all the children of Playa Prieta and surrounding areas.
The parish of Mary, Mother of the Church, of Guayaquil, led by Fr. Francisco Sojos, spent months of dedicated preparation and enthusiasm in order to fulfill their mission: to bring joy to the children of Playa Prieta. We called upon all the children of our school, of the public school nearby called “April 13th” located also in Playa Prieta, all the children from the other side of the river, and some children from Río Chico.
On the long awaited day, Saturday, January 7, our school welcomed approximately 1100 children, 300 volunteers from Fr. Francisco’s parish in Guayaquil, and our teachers and support staff... In a matter of hours, our humble school was turned into an amusement park: bounce houses, popcorn stands, slushies, cotton candy... The classrooms became storage points where we distributed water, soda, hot-dogs, burgers... Our humble sports court had been suited with a structure made of rods and colored canvases. And all decorated in such a way that you could not look without smiling. This had to be a huge party, because the Three Kings were coming!
Fr. Francisco said to the children that you can’t have a celebration without the one celebration par excellence, the Party of parties, the Festival of festivals: the Eucharist. He said that a party without Jesus is not a party. That’s why it all began with the Holy Mass, led by Guayaquil’s chorus group 'Borkis'. In the homily he spoke to the young people about the importance of having good friends.
Then the festival began. Our youngest students welcomed the people of the parish of Mary, Mother of the Church, followed by two more presentations by our youth. After that, the entertainment was passed on to the great professionals: a flamenco dancer, a show for children, a contest, and of course we had the music group 'Borkis.' This group is so well known by our students because Sister Clare sang their songs last year.
We all felt her presence, especially when we sang the song 'Cheer up', which she so strongly used to sing to us just a year ago. All the children were very happy. The common factor in each of their faces was their smile. Their gestures of awe could not be erased because as time passed they were met with more surprises. Looking at their gestures you could guess what they were thinking: 'There’s still more?' We asked a child who was passing by us: "How are you? Are you happy?” He responded, “No, Sister, I am more than happy.”
And, indeed, there was still more... The climax was the entrance on horseback of the Wise Men and the distribution of the gifts to each child, asking them their first and last names. They would approach Melchior, Gaspar, or Balthazar and then received their gift. At the door another team gave each child a bottle of yogurt and a piece of cake as a farewell. Their parents waited for them at the school exit, and took their children with open arms and a big smile.
It all began and ended in the same way: with immense joy. The volunteers left with their hearts widened by their great generosity. And all of us Sisters were happy to see the generosity of Fr. Francisco’s parish and the joy of our students. For us it was truly the day of the Epiphany because everything was grand, like the love of God. Now the question that arises is: If man, who is poor and sinful, is able to do all this, how much more will our Omnipotent God do for us? May we, one day, be seated at His table and may He Himself serve us His eternal Gifts. Amen.