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Happy Easter – Feliz Pascua

Feliz Pascua_Victor

Editor’s Note: In the Christian calendar, Easter is not just one day, but a whole season to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus.  As it comes to a close this Sunday with Pentecost, Missioner Victor Artaiz reflects on how he and his Franciscan community share Easter joy in the 50 days of the season.

We Franciscans in unity with the Catholic Church all over the world are celebrating the season of Easter. In his resurrection, Jesus met with his disciples, his followers, and bestowed upon them (and us, through baptism) the power of the Holy Spirit. Upon his ascension to heaven, and echoed in the priest’s direction at the end of each celebrated Mass, Jesus instructs us to go to the ends of the earth and share the goodness and light of the Lord with every creature we encounter.

In acceptance of this sending, we, his followers and flock, are led to accompany and befriend our brothers and sisters who are hungry, who are sick, who are imprisoned, who are lonely and share his primacy and grace with them by whatever means we have been blessed with.

Accompaniment is that space and time with others, in silence or exchange, to be the eyes, ears, voice, hands, feet, and heart of Jesus Christ.

How do we respond to such a supernatural calling? … “Whoever has ears ought to hear”…

Through the many years of efforts by Franciscan Mission Service leadership, we international missioners were chosen via mutual discernment to go out and serve this calling. We were each nurtured through a formation of Franciscan values and practices that stirred the spirit within us to be shared with those we each encounter during our mission journey in other countries and places.

Having now lived in Bolivia for fifteen months as a Franciscan lay missioner, I am able to act on Christ’s calling and accompany those I encounter daily in this beautiful part of God’s creation. I am enthused and rejuvenated each day through the experience and wisdom of the Masses I attend at the local churches of San Francisco, Santa Clara, and the Catholic Chapel in the men’s prison of El Abra (to name a few of several). I also regularly meet with local Catholic men and women, as well as Franciscan brothers and priests to serve others, share our faith, and discuss our concerns and the trials we encounter on our mission journeys.

During Easter we have an opportunity to focus and reflect on the risen Jesus who sits at the right hand of God and sends each one of us to do his will as the body of the Church…his body. Nourishing our journey with the holy Mass, the Sacraments, the word of the scriptures and New Testament, and his body and blood in the holy Eucharist.

May each of us turn towards the countenance of Jesus and have the courage to live and share his way, his truth, and his life.

Feliz y bendecida Pasqua!  Happy and blessed Easter!

Question for reflection: How are you sharing the joy of the resurrection with those you meet this Easter season?

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After a 30 year career in international business and serving communities in Kenya and locally in New Haven, CT, Victor Artaiz is grateful for the opportunity to serve and accompany individuals living on the margins in mutuality and simplicity through FMS’ Overseas Lay Missioner program. Victor's ministries in Cochabamba, Bolivia, include addiction recovery services, accompanying men who are incarcerated, and serving meals to people experiencing hunger.