A few days ago I came back to the parish. As soon as I entered my office, I knew that a big amount of work was waiting for me; it is been piling up in my desk. I prepared psychologically to the workload I would face after a long time out of the parish. I sat down and pray so the Lord can help me to do my best as His priest.
Last Friday, we celebrated the solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and I was praying to the Sacred Heart of Jesus to help me have an open and caring heart for my flock; to be humble and faithful to his calling always. My mother has especial devotion to the Sacred Heart. By the way, many houses in my country Venezuela and Colombia have by their entrance the image of the Sacred Heart. I grew up with this devotion inherited from my mom.
Entrance of my maternal home in San Cristobal, Venezuela, were I grew up
Also, last Friday was the World Day of Prayer for the Sanctification of Priests; the Church was calling to pray for us priests and for our sanctification. In a world that encourage having possessions, fame and pleasure, being a priest in this age is very challenging. I experienced all sort of temptations in Mexico and with the help of God I was able to overcome most of them. We need the prayers of the People of God to be afloat in the midst of difficult times. This World Day of Prayer should be a daily prayer. Again, we really need those prayers from you.
Many people were speculating about the reason I was out of the parish: It was my passport that is expired still (but valid through a decree). A decree from the US government is what allowed me to come back https://www.state.gov/the-united-states-supports-extension-of-validity-for-venezuelan-passports/
In the same way, people were asking me about my time in Mexico: My time in Mexico was a blessing. I was able to rest mentally. When I left the parish, I was kind of tired. In Mexico, I was at the other side of the pews participating with the People of God. Something I learned from my time in Mexico is to reduce the length of my homilies and to work more on the content. I celebrated twice in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, for the first Mass of a friend who was recently ordained. I was able to visit many beautiful cathedrals, churches and sanctuaries in central Mexico as well. It was like a long retreat in which I found God again and the richness of our Catholic Church that I love so much.
I come back to the parish feeling refreshed and ready to work as hard as possible. It is good to be back after such a learning and humbling experience. I came just on time to celebrate the Feast of our patron saints: St Peter and St Paul.
Thanks for accompanying me throughout this journey…