Basilian Novices in Mexico Minister to Many Despite Social Distancing Restrictions
The Basilian novitiate in Tehuacán, Mexico opened its doors to the current novice class on July 17, 2019. They will spend one year and a day, as prescribed by canon law, away from friends, family, work, and most things familiar to everyday life so that they may build a strong foundation of prayer and spirituality for the rest of their life as a Basilian.
Father Beto Rojas, CSB, director of novices in Mexico, shares this update of events in the novitiate:
In this time of COVID-19 we have had the opportunity to adapt our novitiate experience in the face of the unforeseen. This has been a deeply formative experience that has allowed us to discern as a group and make shared decisions.
At this time we expected to be doing some type of outreach work as part of a pastoral experience. However, due to the Coronavirus, these activities are confined to the narrow territory of the novitiate. During this time of seclusion we have been kept busy with the following activities:
- Along with the priests of the parish, we broadcast the Eucharist, Morning and Evening Prayer, Holy Hour, and the Rosary every day on our Vocacional Padres Basilianos Facebook page
- We participated in a seven day virtual conference on evangelization and formation with speakers from all over the world
- We hosted a virtual vocational day in which 10 young people participated
- We formed a network to collect food and distribute it to those most in need; we prepared approximately 6000 bags of food
- We continue to study and reflect on our vows
- We have set up a “ministry of listening” and reach 300 people through phone and text
It has been a challenge to put ourselves at the service of the most vulnerable while keeping a healthy distance. At the same time we need to reserve time for study, prayer, and reflection of our novitiate experience. Father Jess Owens’s, CSB kind, cheerful, and wise company has benefited us greatly. Father René Espejel González, CSB treated the house members to his very rich desserts and the novices were eager to learn his technique.
We have since returned to the normal atmosphere of the novitiate in preparation for the first profession of vows. We will continue to pray for our Congregation and we entrust ourselves to your prayers.