This year we spent Christmas at the mission station called Wea Au, in the Nagekeo region, on the island of Flores.
It was a blessed time because, despite the threat of the Covid-19 virus, parishioners flocked to the chapel and attended Masses in large numbers. Together with the old missionary Father Tadeusz Gruca, SVD, who many years ago was the parish priest here, we celebrated the Eucharist on Christmas Eve, Christmas, the feast of Saint Stephen, and also on Holy Family Sunday.
The mission chapel was always packed - there were lots of youth, mothers with young children, parents, and the elderly. From the distant parts of Raja parish, everyone wanted to come to the chapel to bow to the newborn Baby Jesus. Although the chapel was very poor, the faith of the people of Flores is strong. Regardless of the adversities and the rainy season, parishioners gladly participated in the celebrations.
On Sunday we also visited about 60 sick and elderly people with Holy Communion. The mission station is very large and situated in the mountainous part of the island. However, the roads are good enough to reach most of the families. So we could visit all those who wanted to receive the Lord Jesus into their hearts.
Each time we came to celebrate the Eucharist, the local people were smiling and happy. Despite economic difficulties, the people of Flores are optimistic and devoted. After Eucharist, we had the opportunity to talk to those responsible for the community. Local pastries were always prepared, as well as tea and coffee. In addition, we were invited to eat rice, finely chopped chicken meat, and some vegetables. Then, we talked and shared our experiences.
It was similar on the last day of the old year 2020, as well as at the Holy Mass opening the New Year 2021. The chapel was filled with believers who wanted to give thanks and also ask for blessings for the coming year. Therefore, we prayed together and begged the Lord before the Blessed Sacrament that He would always protect us. Together with the Mother of God, we entered the New Year 2021. We want to follow Jesus, the Word of God who dwells among us.
Prayers of SVD
May the darkness of sin
and the night of unbelief vanish before the light of the Word
and the Spirit of grace
and may the Heart of Jesus live
in the hearts of all people.
(Saint Arnold Janssen)