There was a moment today when about forty of us were working together to clean the community, and especially the area by the Church.  At one point, we needed to demolish a concrete box (3 x 8) that I am sure was used to feed the animals in a time gone by.  It was too heavy to move and it was only a few feet from the front of the Church.  It was the last of the remnants of a time gone by.  In a wonderful way,  something as simple (and demanding) as demolishing this concrete container became an incredible community building event.  Everyone took a swing with the sledge.  All of us worked together to clean up the debris.  Everyone (including me) made major noises when the animals came crawling out from beneath the vessel. It was silly. It was fun. It needed to be done, and we did it together.

This exercise, amid a very busy day of cleaning, and finishing, and planting, and preparing, was the ‘great’ moment of the day.  It revealed both the Paschal Mystery and the reality of the Church.  We can only get to something new, if we let go of something old. Destroying the old ways (and concrete box) gives rise to a new and radiant vision of God’s glory (the new Church).  In our own lives, when we let go of the old/comfortable/familiar, only then can we find the new and abundant life God has in mind for us.  The concrete box was also a great exercise in being Church – all of us coming together – all of us giving, and sharing, and working, and screaming together.  All of us coming, as one, to the Lord… recognizing that all of us have great needs, and are absolutely dependent on God’s grace and mercy. 

The name of the new Church is Divina Misercordia – Divine Mercy. The hope and prayer is that all who come will find the outpouring of God’s grace and mercy.

This evening we spent a little time with the ‘pastor’ of the new Church and area.  He presented himself very well to all who were helping us.  He was very inviting, and welcoming, and caring.  Our hope and prayer is that this holy place will give this community a place to center their lives in prayer and faith in the Lord.

The dedication of the Church takes place on Thursday at 10:00 am. Bishop Nicanor from Higuey will dedicate this holy place, accompanied by the Bishop of Santo Domingo (the capital, and representatives from the community). In a good way, there’s an eagerness in the community to come and share in this special day.  Local leaders,  government officials, along with our community members, are all excited and planning to join us.  Lorenzo even went the other day to get a pair of shoes so he could come as his best self to this special day….Praise God….watch for photos.

At the end of this day, I am humbled by the good we are able to do together.  We hear, repeatedly in the scriptures, that we are called to go and “spread the Good News.”  This time, we actually can see the results of our efforts which is really only the beginning of the good that can happen here.  I met with all the workers at the end of a long New Year’s day.  We talked together about the importance of God, prayer and the life of faith – it is the path for all of us to a better and more glorious day.  As we gather for the dedication, you will be in my thoughts and prayers.

May God bless you for your goodness and the good we do together – here, there, everywhere – in the name of the Lord.

Blessed New Year. May we die to our old ways so we can find abundant life and joy in the new year.

Father Bob Stec