Initiatives in a time of pandemic (CJ Community of RODAS – CUBA)

Featured Image

We see ourselves as a community. We are three very blessed sisters who feel protected and amazed by our God, because in the midst of this worldwide overwhelming pandemic, He has allowed us to SEE and BE A PART of small and large signs of Resurrection throughout the island, giving us hope and renewing our joy and missionary commitment.

In communist Cuba, given the requirement to “all stay at home” due to the pandemic, after almost 60 years the Catholic Church managed to obtain some TV airtime to broadcast the various celebrations for Holy Week and Easter Sunday. It was also granted a 30-minute slot on every province’s radio station for the bishops to send a message of encouragement and hope to all the dioceses. This was granted for every Sunday during the Paschal time.

This represents for Catholic Christians a great sign of Resurrection which fills us with joy and hope in this covid-19 situation for there is a television and radio in every house.

The celebration of Mass and radio messages can be heard throughout the island. It is very touching to hear our neighbours say they never thought this would happen. On Palm Sunday, Catholic families dared to place a palm branch of some sort on their doors. What emotion on their faces!

We placed a message on the outside of our wall that everyone could read and spend some time with. We were moved as we wrote it and think about it.

During this time of “sheltering at home” we intensified the time for praying, spiritual reading, fraternal sharing, working together in the garden, enjoying and sharing with our neighbours the delicious mangoes we had in abundance this year.

During our liturgical celebrations, every day we bring forth different intentions and we pray for the needs of those who suffer most because of poverty, sickness, loss of a loved one, loneliness, etc.

As we realized that several people in our parish community and among our neighbours did not have masks and the stores had no fabric to buy, we donated some of our sheets along with the parish to make them as soon as possible.

One of our sisters and some neighbours volunteered to make the masks at home. These were then delivered to those who had none by volunteers from the community and Friends of Mary Ward.

During this time, we also occasionally visited poor families to offer them encouragement, hope, some basic food supplies and toiletries, especially single women living with their small children with no support from people or institutions.

We are part of a prayer group of “Retreat in the desert”, in this time of covid-19. It involved committing ourselves to at least one hour of prayer every day with a Guide Card, according to the Ignatian method of prayer. We began in a small group of 12 people for 20 days as EVC. Now, from May onwards, a new group begins with more than 35 people from Rodas who are joining. The cards are sent every day by WhatsApp. It is a way of praying in communion, from home and with the family. As we gathered the fruits of the retreat with the first group, we realized how much good can be done to encourage faith and hope.

We continue supporting EVC and some people as well as Spiritual Accompaniment, by sending some material online and through telephone contact which shortens the distance and makes communicating easier, especially at this time of “being at home”. Thank God, given the pandemic, the only telephone company in this country has significantly improved its coverage and signal.

The WhatsApp group of “Friends of Mary Ward of Cuba (which we belong to) has remained highly active during this pandemic with prayer initiatives, important care information and small actions for the welfare of others, from a domestic church (family).

The time and reality of this “coronavirus” pandemic deeply touches our lives and invites us to look with different eyes at our way of living, of praying, serving, and loving, wherever we are.
We ask for Mary Ward’s intercession with God for this pandemic to end soon so we may return to normalcy with renewed hope.

Angela CJ, Eudosia CJ, and Lavinia CJ

Esther Finis