As I mentioned last time, we had a wonderful reunion of all the priests and lay leaders of our zone. The reunion was in our sister parish of San Miguel in Italaque, where our confrere Cyrille de Nanteuil de la Barre is pastor. There were presentations on the different parochial strategies for reaching out to families through sacramental prep, youth ministry, and other programs. Here, Deacon Juan, and Veronica, leaders from the parish of Santiago de Huata, present their strategies.

But it’s not all work. We had a great dynamic where groups listed the talents of one of their members and then “auctioned” them off to the highest bidder. The dynamic was to expose some of our prejudices about the different gifts of men and women. It was fun and informative. I was “sold” for $300. A woman in another group went for $10,000!

Ready for worship...
Later in the month, we were in Wilacala for the reunion of our own catechists for planning and formation. The new chapel is grand and almost finished. This week, Mario Porto (our master of works) and I will install the electric feeds and lighting (who knew my theater background would be so handy?). Then he and some folks from Wilacala will paint everything. In August, I’ll lead some young folks in special painting and fabric installation to add color. And hopefully, a special donor will send us $1000 for the altar!

While there, we distributed school materials for the communities up on the Altiplano. This program, administered by Flora Silva (our pastoral associate) is made possible by a small foundation in Spain. Groups from Spain also make possible our ongoing program for supplementary nutrition assistance for the most needy families in the 52 communities that make up our parish. These programs, along with the Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal early childhood center, the free medicines for kids/ visits with the doctor program, and the university scholarship/formation program, make up what we call “Nayrar Sarapxañani” which means “Lets go forward together!”

Catechesis happens every Friday in Mocomoco, with sometimes a little “bribery” for the kids. Last week, it was good ol’ USA hot dogs with mustard! The kids were delighted (and well fed!), although some of the younger ones struggled to get the dogs in their mouths. Here’s a little slide show of that day.
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Finally, June 29 is the parish feast day, which includes a fútsal (small scale soccer on a cement court) tournament and a music group challenge. Here’s another short slide show. I was the goalie — my first time ever playing soccer. With Diego’s leadership (he was a rising professional prospect before becoming a priest), we won!
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Finally, a little cellphone video (shaky, low quality) that will give you an idea of the traditional music sound of Aymaran music: simple rhythms, and a sharp nasal quality of the female voice.

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That’s quite a lot in a month, but it’s all worthwhile. View all the photos here in their original resolution. Keep the donations coming, and remember, we need a special donor for the Wilalcala altar and ambo!