I have met many Grupos de Jóveness in my Pastoral life throughout the United States and I have seen the beautiful job they carry out in keeping Popular Expressions of Faith and Devotions alive in the many parishes they live. It is through their energy and enthusiasm that we are able to experience and celebrate the Way of the Cross, the Posadas, Our Lady of Guadalupe and many other devotions of the different communities. Faith is also shared by example; during the Easter season. The readings for the Mass remind us that it was the example of the Apostles that gave birth to the Christian community. As Líderes de Grupos de Jóvenes it is important for us to realize what a significant part we play in passing on the faith.
As the DIRECTORY ON POPULAR PIETY AND THE LITURGY states,
“Popular Piety has rightly been regarded as “a treasure of the people of God” and “manifests a thirst for God known only to the poor and to the humble, rendering them capable of a generosity and of sacrifice to the point of heroism in testifying to the faith while displaying an acute sense of the profound attributes of God: paternity, providence, His constant and loving presence. It also generates interior attitudes otherwise rarely seen to the same degree: patience, an awareness of the Cross in every-day life, detachment, openness to others and devotion”. No. 9
As Líderes de Grupos we are tasked to show our Grupos the value behind what they already do and to explore their own lived experience of faith. It is important that we understand what our traditions are so we can enhance their spiritual meaning and use this experiences in the evangelization of youth and young adults in our groups. How do they see God manifested in their daily life? Around the holidays there are always articles on the importance of traditions as a unifying essence of families. Grupos de Jóvenes are families to the members that participate in them. A well run Grupo creates a deep bond of affection between its members. These bonds last a life time. People find their wife or husband and even jobs through the group. I know I found my wife and a job (not at the same time), in a Grupo that I was part of when I was a Joven. This is what makes the sharing and creating of traditions and Popular Piety so important. The living of these moments creates a deeper bond between all who live it.
I invite you, Líder del Grupo, to see traditions and Popular Piety beyond Lent and Advent and find ways to live and experience these moments thoughout the year. Fr. Gilberto Cavasos-González OFM wrote a wonderful book titled “Tradiciones of Our Faith.” If you are ever looking for ways to learn and invite your Grupo to experience different aspects of our faith, this is a good start. God Bless you on your journey through Ordinary Time, may this time not be so “ordinary” in your experience of faith.
2014 © Alejandro Barraza. All Rights Reserved.
Featured image by Iglesia en Valladolid, Book cover by WLP website.