As part of the formation program, Greg Evers, a candidate of the Cincinnati Province, has been experiencing the multicultural aspect of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood. For over two months now he has been living, praying, and ministering with the members of the Central American Mission. He was asked to reflect on his experience and has sent us this reflection:
My experience of Guatemala thus far has been very fruitful and eye-opening all at the same time. Everything ranging from the weather, the food and the people have all been enriching to my experience. This adventure has also allowed me to see the impact that the Missionaries of the Precious Blood are having in other ministry settings outside of the United States.
Stepping outside of the airport, I was warmly greeted by Fr. Rony Diaz C.PP.S. who helped to get me settled into my temporary home at the seminary. The members and the seminarians have all gone out of their way to make sure that I was feeling comfortable and making the adjustments to a different lifestyle. The patience and compassion that has been shown to me is a great testament to Precious Blood hospitality. Although the language barrier can at times present challenges, through patience and cooperation, I have been able to participate more actively in the daily activities here in the seminary. This experience calls to mind what St. Paul wrote in his letter to the Ephesians, “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have become near by the blood of Christ” (Eph. 2:13). This is a great description of the mission that not only Precious Blood members are called to do, but also Christians and humanity as a whole. This theme of being brought near has been echoed in other places and times during my stay here in Guatemala.
Shortly after my arrival, I had the privilege of visiting the La Labor area where other Precious Blood missionaries are at work alongside with the Adorers of the Blood of Christ. There, they staff a parish, work to operate a medical center and an educational facility. La Labor is a heavily poverty-stricken area with many needs to be met. The work that is being done there is a sure sign that we are responding to the cry of the Blood in our modern times.
As part of the formation program, the seminarians participate in various ministries. Two of the seminarians visit a children’s hospital every Saturday to visit the sick, sing some songs with the kids and to sit and talk with the adults that are present there. One Saturday while we were sharing a meal together, they mentioned that one of the kids they had visited with earlier in the day had passed away. This ministry reflects what we are called to do not only as Precious Blood members, but also as Christians. To walk with those who are suffering and help them to carry their crosses, even if it is for just a moment. We are called to be with people, not only on their best days, but also on their worst. This is where I have found that many of our Precious Blood members flourish. They often accompany people in their individual walks of life. Whether it be through spiritual discernment or through the long grieving process of the loss of a loved one, the Missionaries of the Precious Blood are there and willing to do what they can to meet the need. This is Precious Blood Spirituality in action.
I have only been in Guatemala for a short time, but already my horizons have been broadened. Being able to experience a culture that is totally foreign to me has been beneficial in numerous ways. Also seeing how Precious Blood Spirituality is being lived out here in Guatemala gives me inspiration to make myself available to others in whatever way is possible. I can see that the future is looking bright for the mission here in Guatemala and for the worldwide congregation.
Text and photos provided by Greg Evers.