We are now one week before Christmas and we are all excited that our founder, Fr. Philip will be arriving this Friday the 21st of December and will be staying until February. He has been working hard as always and recently completed an extended stay in Covington, LA where he always feels at home.
We have also had the blessing of our pastoral visit by our bishop, David Martinez, O.P. He visited various chapels in the villages of Triunfo, Sudadero, Planchón, Alegría and Mavila. Test your kids to see if they can find them on google earth. He brought with him his strong faith and enthusiasm which has brought new life to our Vicariate of Puerto Maldonado. We fed him well but also, I am sure tired him out.
Fr. Isaac has been busy as well. He has recently come from giving a three day retreat in Chaclacayo in the diocese of Chosica. The topic was the seven capitol sins and was giving to the servants in the Charismatic Renewal of that diocese. He has also been hosting a radio program for five weeks on the healing power of the Five Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary.
We have also been preparing for the Christmas tradition here in Perú of the "chocolatadas" which consits of singing villancicos (Christmas Carols) and eating Panetón (Christmas bread), drinking hot chocolatem, and giving our toys. In some places we will be giving out coloring books with crayons which picture the life of Jesus and the mysteries of the Rosary. We will also give out rosaries (with pamphlets showing how to pray it) and other religious articles.
Mother Agés has been preparing a dance which she will preform with the prisoners in the jail for the Easter celebration. Sr. Gianna has been accompanying Fr. Isaac in the Masses in Planchón and has formed a choir with the children who love to sing with her. Sr. Isabel has been also accompanying Fr. Isaac to the Orphanage in Puerto Maldonado. The girls have become very attached to her and she has a great gift in helping them grow in thier faith and trust. Sr. Mary Therese with Sr. Gianna have started a group for women to help them understand thier identity as being women of God, thier relationship with him, and their true feminine role as spouses and mothers. They also have a desire to share this identity with other women.
This sisters are now making banana bread and cookies for gifts. Thier reputation as cookie makers became famous when they cooked a great number of chocolate chip cookies for the priest retreat this year. Our bishop went so far as to "steal" the container of cookies from Fr. José María for a whole day until he could not hold them hidden any longer seeing the hungry, diappointed faces of his fellow priests. All were overjoyed to continue the cookie feast which added a special flavor to every meal.
Br. Maximilian of the Immaculate has been busy maintaining the property mowing the lawn with the new tractor and pumping the water every couple of days. He has also been taking advantage of the large trees that have fallen due to the high winds on our property to make various pieces of furniture which you can see below. He has also has made beautiful crucifixes which he loves to give away as gifts to the kids in Alegría.