A call, someone called. This someone is God. Following Jesus in the Gospel I realized that He always opted for the poor, the marginalized, the sick etc.
Pope Francis keeps calling us believers to leave our comfort zones and reach out to those brothers and sisters with whom we can share the many blessings we receive, from the family, the faith community, and the governing system of our islands of Malta and Gozo.
Ruminating on all this I kept asking the lord ,when, where, and how ? I was attentive to His answer to come in his way and in his time.
It was August of 2017 when together with a group of young adults left for the Holy land for a longed for pilgrimage on the footsteps of Jesus. Fr. Anton joined us, a surprise gift by the family. It sparked, is this the time?
When we came back we had a meeting with Fr.Anton at Dar Guzeppa Debono , a residential home for single mothers. We invited him to talk to us about his mission. I took him around the home and before he left he invited me to Guatemala to present the work we do regarding the issue of teenage mothers, sexuality education and the promotion of the beauty of life in the womb.
Yes this is the time. Many questions crossed the threshold of my mind. Best time of year to go , at my age (68),far away, with whom? One by one the questions were resolved.
We were to leave Sunday 11th February 2018 ,Matthew Bartolo a counselor and board member of Dar Guzeppa Debono and myself.
Fr.Anton with his team set up a wonderful program. We were to address different stake holders all interested about the work we do and all keen to address the issue of sexuality education , teenage pregnancy and beauty of life.
The stake holders were NGO’s, teachers, cathecists, and priests.
All of them eager to find ways of forming themselves on the subject and ready to help families and especially the teens.
There is a great exposure to communication facilities and this makes it more important to impart the right information and holistic formation on the matter.
I was impressed by the educational outreach Stella Maris TV has and how Fr.Anton intelligently reads the signs of the time.
He is a shepherd of his flock ,believing in his community especially the younger generation, investing in them.
The people respect him. From all walks of life. His pastoral mission speaks loudly. We went with him in the far off villages in the jungle, in the mountains. O the beauty of nature, the simple life in the midst of mother nature, so one with it.
It would be a pity if these people leave their village. They must be reached out and made more accessible to their needs and to receive the necessary education. They are rich while poor.
I realized that poverty, not misery, set the person free. The more we possess the more we are slaves and insensitive to others.
I observed the wonderful work the catechists at each mission station do. They go to the parish for formation, sometimes leaving home as early as 4.00 am to walk and to reach Izabal on time for the meetings. Their respect is astonishing and the attention of Fr. Anton to their needs is impressive.
Their faith so strong! They are a people of praise. They participate in the liturgy , young and old , Sundays and weekdays it is the same a lively liturgical celebration.
We stayed with Fr. Anton, his home open for all. People coming and going. I loved it in the morning to wake up not to the horns beeping and breaks but to a chorus of cocks, hens, ducks, dogs chanting their morning ode to Sunrise.
Mission complete but it seems that this is the beginning of a new phase in my life. I feel that I have to return. He who called me will show me the way.
Thank you Fr. Anton and the people of Guatemala. I received a lot from you.