Archive for category General

Lent – The Hottest Time of the Year

Fr Adams with Group “The HOTTEST time of the year” is how the people all describe these days, especially Holy Week (“semana santa”).  So, full speed ahead here in Ciudad Guyana with planning for live Stations of the Cross coming soon…and the Good Friday five hour mega-Stations walk through all 11 barrios of the parish…a marathon Stations of the Cross started by Fr. Dennis Dempsey, the authentic long distance priest! via cruces Good Friday close up of two girls It is the time of deep prayer and deep conversion, certainly what is most needed here. All of the violence, fear and confusion have seemed to only increase in these last months and so many people in daily conversations are wondering what could possibly be next for their country. The last presbyterial meeting was broken into and most if not all priests were robbed.  A couple of neighboring parishes have had either a life-threat against the priest or the deacon robbed, all during Mass. Recently one of our kids was robbed coming out of catechesis and our neighbor a few houses down lost his life to the violence that surrounds us. One sees the vivid effects of little to no family in the lives of these young people who are committing the violence and murder. Thank you to all those moms and dads who say yes to your call, you are literally saving lives. We daily kneel and pray to show and see the face of Christ in all around us. I am so humbled at how far I have to go. The joy and prayerful love from our committed Legion of Mary, youth and catechesis, daily communicants and so many others who lead by example all sow so much hope and love. They are bright lights in the increasing darkness.

Thanks for helping us carry the cross here all the way to the empty tomb.                                                                                                                                                                         Peace and blessing to all,                                                                                                                              Pdrs James and Greg

December News from Venezuela

Hallacas fr adams

Music is the only way to begin explaining December in Venezuela and among our people!  It is a must to hear the songs at Mass…and at 5:00am every morning for nine days up to Christmas!  We have jumped deep into Advent with the making of hallacas (hugely typical food for December here), big time preparations for our early morning “rooster” Masses and spiritually praying hard for our own personal conversion and invitation to the multitudes to find their peace in the manger at Bethlehem.

hallaca 1hallacas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Someone mentioned that over the period of a few days recently around 160 were murdered in Caracas. Also, our people seem to increasingly lament the state of their beloved country as prices keep rising and the simple products and goods used daily are more and more harder to find.  It has called me on to a deeper search for meaning…rather than constantly giving into the secular culture’s loud pressure to fill up every possible space and ache of ours with pleasure, noise and distraction.  We increasingly see each day the urgent need to do all we can to build up families and strong marriages so that there is a foundation for the future.

Recently I was blessed to gather with three couples who have been married in the last five years to start a small group of “newly-weds” who want to get to know each other and seek ongoing formation in living out their Sacrament!! Amen, thank you Lord.  How so much of all the trouble here stems from the fact that there is no dad…or mom…or both at home and the kids grow up with no discipline, no love.  Thank you good moms, dads, teachers, coaches, priests and mentors who challenge, lead, encourage, urge and root us on to be better people and followers of the King of kings.

God’s blessing in these sacred days, Pdr JA and all

Holiday Time in Venezuela

Wedding

There is no Thanksgiving holiday in Venezuela!  Our two young volunteers have asked about that, but the focus here is to gear up for Christmas and especially New Year’s when they pull out all the stops and have a special family meal.  Everyone dresses up in their very best to usher in the New Year.

I have been busy with family visits, weddings and school visits which have been very hopeful!  They are mostly public schools but depending on the director they seem to really welcome and ask for our presence to help orient the youth, who are subject to such violence and absence of values in their streets and surroundings, to good values.  Our own parish youth program has been blessed with some young adult leadership to start up an intense few months of formation with the hopes of equipping teens with more tools and identity in Christ. This should grow their numbers and help them engage deeper in the parish (in addition to our monthly study of the saints and pilgrimage to World Youth Day that we pray may happen in ’16).

Young Adult

The country continues to limp along in its battle to move forward with distribution of such rich resources.  With some of the most beautiful landscapes, resilient people, rich mining and oil reserves it is so hard to understand how people can go hungry and abandoned and stand in line for hours for the simplest food and household items.  It seems to me the rampant recourse to witchcraft, drugs and alcohol, the majority of folks in our area who live together with no concrete marital vows and the very young girls having children all adds up. Pray for us!

We continue to put all our hope in God and thank you for your prayers,

Pdr JA (the turtle below is real common in the homes…and a delicacy to eat in Holy Week!)

Turtle in Venezuela

 

Back in Venezuela!

A late October ’14 hello from the mission parish in Venezuela!  I spent much of the month attempting, once again, to hand in my application to the Venezuelan consulate in Chicago and waiting to hear back from them about a possible work visa.

Austin and Leo

On the ground here we have had two MN high school graduate volunteers Leo and Austin teaching English and getting a good introduction to the life.

The barrio La Frontera celebrated their 9th anniversary of their chapel on October 28th, feast of St.s Simon and Jude.  Their chapel is named San Judas!  Many representatives from neighboring barrios were present for the festive Mass and fun after.  This was very hopeful for me to see after the recent violent deaths there.

image

People are starting to get prepared for the next couple months ahead, especially the novena of 5am Masses leading up to Christmas.  We try to make sure the trucks are working well as they will start at 4am those days to round up the choir and arrive to the respective barrios for their Mass!

Thanks for your prayers and sacrificial offerings of so many kinds.  In Jesus and Mary, Pdr JA and all.

 

September at Jesucristo Resucitado

Greetings to all from the Mission!

Venezuela Virgin of the Valley Celebration

This month is a biggie in eastern Venezuela with the very large and festive celebration September 8 of la Virgen del Valle (Virgin of the Valley) celebration of our Lady’s apparition on the Island of Margarita where a lot of our people come from.

Virgin of the Valley Mass

The vacation bible school was a big gift for our little ones and families to encounter Jesus and form our teens in service to their younger parishioners!  Everyone is trying to relax as best they can before school starts.

I have done my best to hold down the fort while Fr. Greg is in the U.S. for some weeks.  It is always a grand challenge to respond to the constant demands that are all asking to be met immediately with little to no preparation time and no thought as to the future. One very difficult area in this regard are the funerals.  Yesterday we buried the 2nd son to die a brutal death by gunshot as he was involved in one of the worst gangs in the whole area. Nobody is baptized in his family and his mother asked me if that had anything to do with the horrific deaths of her two young sons. I gently said that baptism is definitely what God is inviting them to. Last Saturday the St. Vincent de Paul society went to this home to console them after the murder of their first son and were greeted by the second son.  The next morning he was killed. I start to get a little better sense of St. John Paul II’s constant emphasis on the immense dignity of the human person after he saw so many lives wiped away before his eyes during such bloody years of Polish and world history. We thank you for your prayers for this family and so many others who live moment to moment trying to figure out how to take the next step.

In the midst of this immense darkness continues the bright light of so many who do have the joy of the Holy Spirit as they participate in the mission, in prayer and service of their brothers and sisters.  We just watched the movie of St. Vincent de Paul’s life in the barrios in honor of his feast later this month, and the ending line is our great hope: “among many of the poor you serve, some will spit, curse and be mean to you, which means you need to pour out even MORE love on those in particular!”  May we all follow that wisdom.

Peace and blessings to you all, Pdr JA

Greetings from Venezuela!

With seminarians

 It is a very full time here at the mission parish of the Archdiocese!  The St. Paul Seminary Theology (year three) just finished the annual August visit with us and jumped into life here. This included unintentionally getting soaked in the rain on the truck ride back from visiting the cloistered Brigitines.

Our daily work and visits in the barrios have no end to the needs.  I sat with a family in these days who is mourning the brutal murder of their son. Those who took his life sent a picture to his family of the terrible results. We work hard to accompany the people in these situations and pray even harder for an end to the vengeance and more of the Holy Spirit and mercy of the Lord.

VBS teachersWe begin now in mid-August the “plan vacacional” which is their vacation bible here…with many many little children and super teens leading the way to Christ!

I continue to struggle to obtain a work visa which would enable me to stay longer than 3 months at a time. The relations between the USA and Venezuela are not improving quickly and we try to grow more each day in patience and understanding. The wonderful moments of hope for me continue to be the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist and each of the thousands and thousands of people in our close quarters. The teens bring lots of joy especially as they seek to attend world youth day in 2016 (Poland) if they can fundraise enough for flights. The smiles of all the folks at each age here is a sure sign of God’s presence and final victory over the evil that touches all. Thanks for your prayers and sacrifices for us as we promise ours for you.

Many blessings, Padre James Adams

 

June in Venezuela

June at our Venzuelan mission parish of the Archdiocese has been awesome!  Deacon James Stiles came down immediately after being ordained a transitional deacon.  My sister Margaret came as well and we have all been hard at work to make Jesus known and loved!  This included a beautiful and sacred trip to the indigenous community of Canaima with an overnight and close up look at Angel Falls, the largest waterfall in the WORLD!  Talk about a visual of God’s love just pouring out day and night…day after day.

There are bright lights in the midst of the country’s continuing struggle to draw on their rich resources and provide for the needy people who are waiting in long lines…starting in the wee hours…for food.  We have a vibrant youth group who are hoping to go to World Youth Day in 2016.  If anyone would like to support the cause and be a special part of the future down here, please let me know.  I will be home July 15 through August 7 preaching mission appeals the last two weekends of the month (Pine Island/Zumbrota first, then Immaculate Heart of Mary in Minnetonka) and the first weekend of August (St. Olaf, Mpls). I am happy to see you in person.

At mass

The school year here is ending and we will be going out each day for masses and blessings of all the kids in their respective schools, praying that they come close to our Lord.  Thanks for your continued prayers as you are all in ours.

Many blessings, Padre James and all.

 

 

Back in Minnesota

Hello dear Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and all the Church!

What a gift if has been to visit MN several weeks ago, starting with the transitional diaconate ordination, doing mission appeals and giving an update in person to many!  I was so blessed to visit many churches as well as my alma mater where my family was raised and went to grade school at Nativity of Mary!  What a joy it is for me to do my best to connect the two worlds of South America and North America!

It is good to be back visiting Minnesota.

It is hard when you have not BEEN there to explain it, but at least I can give a glimpse and add more depth about where I am and the people we serve that you all are kindly praying for and offering sacrifices for (THANK YOU!).

I have tried very hard to obtain a longer visa so I can stay more than 3 months in Venezuela at a time.  However, the process is not complete and hopefully will be later this summer.

I will now be back in the saddle at our parish this June with our visiting summer deacon,  James Stiles (from the St. Paul Seminary!).  My little sister will also visit for much of June as well.  So, we will have many Minnesotans to witness and receive the witness of Jesus from our brothers and sisters in Ciudad Guyana.

You also are always welcome.  I invite you to spiritually adopt one of our parishioners.  This could happen in many forms.  One way is to each day say a simple prayer for one in our barrios, maybe offer one whole day of your prayers, joys and sorrows for them!  Thank you!

Many blessings be upon you and your families as summer begins.

In Jesus and Mary, Padre James Adams

 

You Are Invited: Fr. Adams Presents…Venezuela

 Fr-Adams-talk

Fr. James Adams, along with Fr. Dennis Zehren, request your presence for an evening about our archdiocesan sister parish of Jesucristo Resucitado in Venezuela on Tuesday, May 13th, 2014 at 5:30 pm at Nativity of Mary parish, you are also invited to Mass at 5:00 pm.  Father Adams will walk us through his last ten months as Associate Pastor at Jesucristo Resucitado in San Felix, Venezuela, and update us on the status of the country and the mission during this difficult time there.  Friends, family and students who have traveled to the mission in Venezuela  will also be there to share their personal testimonies and stories.  This is a great opportunity to learn about the the mission in Venezuela and visit with Fr. Adams during his short time back in the states…and enjoy authentic Venezuelan food.  RSVP is appreciated, contact Colleen Thuente at 651.291.4531 or thuentec@archspm.org.

Don’t miss this event!!

Fr.-Adams-talk-2

 

Happy Lent from Venezuela!

The folks here are sure carrying their cross as the tension is felt by everyone: between those for and those against the government.  Fr. Greg and I are grateful to be serving the many needs right in front of us leaving little time to be immersed in the protests.  We are striving to receive lots of hope in prayer and offer that to the community amidst the violent reality and lack of food in many cases.

Fr.-Adams-singing-at-altarThe many baptisms and youth involved in the parish are bright lights for me.  We have a faithful youth group that studies the saints each month and is trying to think concretely about attending World Youth Day in Poland ’16.  The little children that I meet in each barrio especially at Mass are always a joy.  For one of the Ash Wednesday evening Masses, the dear little girl who helped me get ready and prayed so sincerely that night asked me after, “When is the next Mass?”

We are offering more adoration this Lent on a daily basis and so many people have benefitted from the religious goods/devotionals that have generously come from MN.  This all provides many special moments to plant lots of seeds that we pray will bring out lots of fruit in God’s good time.

I was able to strum the guitar chords for some of the well known Mass songs recently in the barrio after my first class of guitar (Venny style).   I try to keep finding ways to enter into the reality here to better evangelize and be evangelized.  Rapping with the teens has also helped in that front.

Thanks for the continued prayers and support.  As they all say to each other here upon coming and going: BENDICION!  May I too have your blessing, Archdiocese of St. Paul/Mpls, and many blessings upon you, Pdrs James and Greg.