Comboni Lay Missionaries

Celebrating Easter in the five Villas

This Holy Week we have been fortunate to get together again to celebrate the Easter Triduum of the CLM of Spain.

This year we were hosted by the parish unit of the five Villas in the Sierra de Gredos.

We were fortunate to “premiere” the parish house of Villarejo del Valle, recently renovated.

As we have been doing in recent years, we have chosen to celebrate Easter with a community where some animation and collaboration with the local parish priest who has to attend to several distant communities would come in handy. In this sense we were in charge of animating some community and together with the same community to celebrate together both the services and some activities.

This year there were only 11 of us because for various reasons at the last minute some of us could not participate so we have experienced a more familiar atmosphere if possible.

We have felt very well received by the community with whom we have been walking these days and we have engaged in many conversations and sharing our faith, learning a lot from them.

Most of the time we have been in San Esteban del Valle. On Thursday we started with the celebration of fraternal love. A lot of participation and a very simple Eucharist where we could enter into these important days.

Then we went to the monument that was in the hermitage in the center of the village. As in all these days, the blessed rain has been accompanying us and it was not going to be less, so the transfer of the Blessed Sacrament was done as quickly as possible.

Then we returned in the evening for the prayer in the garden of Gethsemani. It was a simple moment where we were able to accompany the Lord with the different passages of the Gospel. Reviewing similar moments of our life. We were able to delve into them and even share them with each other.

Good Friday was also a very important day. Every morning we started with a moment of prayer in the church of Villarejo, in front of the house. In a simple way and with some neighbors with whom we gathered every morning.

Then we go to San Esteban for the Stations of the Cross organized by the community. It was a very simple and emotional moment, full of tradition with the carraca and a traditional song that counted each station. Accompanying the Lord on the way of the Cross….

Later in the afternoon, the celebration of the Passion and Death. Austere and simple, which helped us to enter into those moments so difficult to assume and understand.

We ended the night in Santa Cruz, where we shared the adoration of the cross with the neighbors and with the group of young people from the five Villas who were celebrating a youth Easter. A moment that they prepared very well and through songs and gestures of adoration helped us to accompany the death of the Lord.

On Saturday morning we had another time of prayer in Villarejo. It was always nice and it also allowed us to talk about the reality of the pastoral unity that is being carried out in the five Villas, the difficulties and challenges that the Church is facing, the changes and the responsibility of the laity in this journey.

We immediately went to San Esteban where we met, in addition to the people of the local community, two other groups that were celebrating Easter in the area. We shared the Path to Emmaus. We listened to the testimonies of the disciples of Emmaus, Peter, Thomas or the Magdalene in those first moments of uncertainty before the Resurrection. Of joy and almost of unbelief….

An intense moment where we learned from each other and were enriched by sharing our lives.

At the end of the day we went to Monbeltran where we were invited to a magnificent rice with chicken to finish the morning.

On Saturday afternoon we organized a missionary testimony. After several days with the people of the town, many of them wondered who we were, the Comboni Lay Missionaries. So we took advantage of the afternoon to have a sharing. Isabel and Gonzalo told us about their years in Arequipa (Peru), and then we had a nice discussion about the lay missionary vocation and its challenges.

Afterwards we rushed back to have an early dinner and leave for Monbeltran where we celebrated Easter with people from the five Villas. The parish priest wanted to make a single celebration that night so important for all together to celebrate the Resurrection of the Lord.

It was a very beautiful celebration. The moment of the fire had to be quick because the rain was present as all these days, and then we went to the temple where each one had prepared a part of the celebration. We finished with a small party and sharing.

On Sunday morning some of us had to return and others ended up celebrating the Mass of Resurrection with the community of St. Stephen. This time the rain held off and we were able to bring out the Risen Lord and his Mother.

We would like to thank Don Alvaro and all the communities of the five Villas for the welcoming we received. At all times we felt very well received. Each one of us accompanied and animated different moments and together we were able to celebrate the Resurrection of the Lord.

May the Risen Lord accompany us all always. May we know how to be witnesses and bring his light to all the peoples of the Earth. Alleluia, Alleluia

Alberto de la Portilla. CLM.

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