February 20, 2017
Sunday, February 19, 2017 started with the sun shining and Mass with all of the “family” who live at the Center. Padre Juan (a Jesuit priest who has been serving the Center full time for over 50 years) celebrated mass in the circular library with the aid of Madre Miguel (a BVM sister who also has clocked decades at the Center).
After mass we feasted on a delicious brunch prepared by Sister Cindi (another BVM who basically runs the Center with energy and compassion). Ordinarily Sunday is the day when the Center volunteers help families build their homes. Most of Ecuador’s working poor are employed 6 days a week leaving only Sunday to fulfill their dreams of constructing a family home. However, presidential elections were scheduled for Sunday. All Ecuadorians are required to vote or face adverse financial consequences. Therefore, the families could not participate in the house construction project. We were bussed to a local park which sponsored "Art in the Park” and we handpicked the best in the market to sell to St. Mary’s parishioners after mass and at the annual soup supper.
Dinner was at at a local restaurant. We finished the day with a reflection and a much needed short yoga class to relax us before bed.
Our group is growing. We added a sophomore from Clarke University in Iowa who joined us at Miami. We have also adopted others and we are benefiting from sharing experiences and prayerful reflections. Joining us are a grandmother and her 12 year old granddaughter from a suburb of Dallas, Texas; a retired firefighter who with his four brothers responded to the Twin Towers collapse on 911 hails from Long Island, New York; and a married couple from a growing Catholic community in Salt Lake City. Frequently participating are refugees from Pakistan who hope to enter Canada..