My blog continued…

After an amazing three day weekend in the Gran Sabana, we all were anxious to get back to the heart of San Felix, the people.  We started off the week with a visit to Casa de Hogar, a home for orphan boys run by a dear lady named Maria.  We played soccer, a quick round of lightning, and then it was time to dance.  We danced, and danced, and danced, until it was nearly 4:30 pm and time to head back to the parish for Mass.  The evening ended with a visit to Christmas Park on the other side of the Orinoco River, in Puerto Ordaz.  The locals love to gather here to sell homemade cakes, walk along the candy cane trails, and enjoy the view of San Felix.

The missions placed in front of me going into the next couple days were very pastoral in nature.  Tuesday morning began painting the metal bars of the fence surrounding Jesucristo Resucitado parish.  After about an hour, since we were sharing brushes, I handed my brush to one of the students, and decided to go clean the sacristy and the Blessed Sacrament Chapel.  I definitely felt right at home in the sacristy as that is where I work back home at the Cathedral of St. Paul.

In the afternoon, and all day Wednesday, I had the blessing of accompanying Fr. Adams and members of the Legion of Mary on anointing of the sick visits.  What a privilege to be a hopeful, peaceful presence among the nearly 15 beautiful souls I was able to pray with.  A very similar highlight of the week was going on home visits with the St. Vincent de Paul Society, which the group does every Saturday morning.  The evenings of these days were surrounded by the beautiful welcome of fellowship, music, dancing and food with the people of the barrios of La Laguna, La Frontera, and Campo Rojo, along with joining the youth of the parish for DTS (Dead Theologians Society), where we got an idea of what life in Venezuela is like for a young adult.

Amidst these beautiful service opportunities, cultural highlights of the week included more Cachamay sunrise walks, La Llovizna National park with the Casa de Hogar boys, day trip out of San Felix beginning with Mass with the Brigantine nuns and ending with a tour of the seminary and Ciudad Bolivar with Seminarian Jose Antonio, seeing the Guyana Miners win a soccer game, and a trip to the castles to close out the week.

What a blessed and busy week.  Check back for highlights of my third and final week in Venezuela.

May God bless you!

Shantel Schallenkamp