Thought for the Week
I recently set out on a long journey to Peru with an old friend.
My main reason for being there was to honour three friends, who had been killed by Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path) in 1991.
I was taken to the outskirts of Lima to visit a new Christian community, composed of little shanty dwellings stuck to the side of the hill. It was a lovely sunny day (25C) and I stood in admiration when I was invited into one of their homes.
My colleague, who has spent nearly 50 years in Peru, was happy to be living with them, knowing that they will soon organise themselves into a community which will be beneficial to them all. They are already setting up a community kitchen in which to prepare food for 20 or 30 families. Other amenities will follow; such as running water, electricity, schools, and medical facilities.
Christmas is a special time for them, when they remember that Jesus the son of God was born in a stable and that he knows and understands how they feel. When you read the Christmas story in a setting like this it has a special resonance.
After three days in Chimbote, my next port of call was the Parish I lived in for 10 years. I was invited to work in the mountains visiting the villages and sharing the lives of the people as they struggled in what was a subsistence economy. It was such a joy to be with them. They feel God has blessed them and preparations are well underway for the celebration of Christmas when they will come together from near and far with their many varied traditions, they will sing and dance in the sunny summer days which they are now experiencing.
Happy Christmas to everybody, and may 2016 be a year of many blessing for you all. Father Pat Hennessy, St Columbkille’s