|St. Martin's goes online||
In a time of crisis, we reach for our faith, but it is hard when Churches are closed and we cannot receive the sacraments. St. Martin de Porres parish is bringing our dynamic liturgies to you!
We are blessed to have a very talented Associate Pastor in Fr. Jeremy Zipple, S.J., who has brought his extensive experience as a professional documentarian and filmmaker to help us create online content, so that we do not feel so separated during this time of social distancing. "Social distance does not mean spiritual distance," said Fr. Brian Christopher, S.J., our pastor.
While it is not the same as mass in person, Fr. Jeremy has managed to recruit parishioners' help in creating a sense that we are still together in spite of the restrictions. Check out St. Martin's Palm Sunday procession.
In addition to Sunday masses, Fr. Jeremy and Fr. Brian have also created resources for online prayer, such as a Tenebrae/ Taizé service.
Finally, St. Martin's has been working with the Jesuit Community of Belize to produce daily Scripture video reflections featuring members of the Belize Jesuit community, past and present, as well as lay ministers and local religious. These are posted on Facebook daily, or else they are available on our YouTube channel. Click here to subscribe.
|St. Martin's Food Assistance Program Serves Those in Greatest Need||
The COVID pandemic not only poses a health risk to our local families, but an economic risk, as well. With so many struggling, St. Martin's preaches the Gospel in deeds, not just words.
Tens of thousands of Belizeans have been laid off or fired as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many local families already struggle with food insecurity. The latest economic downturn has put many households over the edge.
In response, St. Martin de Porres parish has partnered with local grocery stores to provide $50 food vouchers to nearly 200 households on a weekly basis. "I remember how Joel Osteen closed his church up when the hurricane hit Houston," recalls Fr. Brian Christopher, S.J., "That is exactly what we wanted to avoid."
The Gospel must be preached, not just with words, but with actions. What could be better news for struggling families than the ability to feed their children?
|Carribean Youth Survey||
The Jesuits working in nine different Caribbean nations are collaborating on a survey for youth, ages 16-30, to understand better their hopes and dreams for the future.
This initiative is being spearheaded by La Conferéncia de los Provinciales en America Latina y El Caribe (CPAL), which is an organization of the Jesuit provinces of Latin America and the Caribbean, and conducted by the University Research Institute Ortega y Gasset (Madrid). The Jesuits of Belize have been invited to be a part of the survey process.
The goal is to solicit feedback from 800 young people of different ethnic backgrounds, different religious traditions, living in different parts of the country. When compared with the feedback from the other countries, the hope is that we will have a clearer understanding of the unique challenges faced by youth and young adults today, as well as their unique contributions.
The data gathered from this survey will be analyzed, published, and disseminated free of charge to all who are interested: governments, churches, educational institutions, etc. The hope is that the insights it generates will help us all to serve our young people better.
To take the survey, please click here.
And please feel free to encourage any young people you might know to do the same!
|Thank you, Ms. Annie||
St. Martin de Porres Primary School is sad to say goodbye to our principal, Ms. Annie Palacio. Three years ago, Ms. Annie, herself an alumna of St. Martin's, boldly stepped into incredibly challenging circumstances at our school, after two years of a very painful transition in leadership.
She came in with a clear mandate: help us regain some stability. With the help of her administrative team and local assistant manager, Ms. Annie has been able to implement numerous policies that have brought an increased sense of normalcy. "Annie has played a big part in helping us patch the holes," commented Fr. Brian, "Now it is time for the school to plot its new course."
While Ms. Annie is not sure what will come next, she remains characteristically hopeful and positive. Mrs. Dawn Wade, assistant principal, has graciously agreed to step in as interim head of school, while a search is conducted for a new principal.
Please keep St. Martin de Porres School in your prayers as we move through this time of transition.