SAN DIEGO — How to help parishes struggling to make ends meet, particularly ones with large Latino congregations?
That was the question the diocese’s leadership considered as the pandemic contin-ued month after month, exacting its toll on families and parish communities.
During the Advent season, the response is to offer a virtual calendar in Spanish that presents a short video every day. The videos will be available starting on the First Sunday of Advent, Nov. 29, through Christmas Eve on the diocese’s website, sdcatholic.org. All pastors across the diocese will be invited to share it with their Latino parishioners through their parish’s website and Flocknote.
“Each liturgical season in the Church is a powerful invitation to be better disciples of Christ,” said Auxiliary Bishop Ramón Bejarano, one of the drivers of this project. “That’s why we titled our calendar ‘Disciples with a Joyous Heart.’”
He said Advent is a time to prepare for the celebration of the arrival of Christ and at the same time to prepare each day for His second coming.
Each video will include a brief Scripture reading that explores a theme of the day and an action item the viewer is invited to implement. The five-minute videos feature faithful from across the diocese, including from the Imperial Valley.
“Every single day, there is a new voice. There’s a grandmother, a young family, a bishop, a priest, a teacher, a religious woman, to name a few,” said Chancellor “Marioly” Galván, another of the project’s organizers.
Each day’s theme supports the concept of stewardship, the practice of giving time, talent and treasure to lift the parish community and the Church itself.
The diocese has focused on promoting stewardship in Spanish to parishioners throughout the year, and the calendar is the latest project in that effort.
“We want to show that stewardship is a way of life,” Galván said, noting that this practice involves a way of living and responding as disciples, sharing our gifts of time, talent and treasure within our parish communities and our domestic church.
In addition to Galván and Bishop Bejarano, the project involved Auxiliary Bishop John Dolan.
Bishop Bejarano noted that Latino families, in particular, have been hit hard by job losses and illness due to COVID and that many cannot afford to donate regularly at this time. However, he said they can support their parishes by involving themselves in a ministry or volunteering to do a service, such as cleaning the church.
“This time of year invites us to acknowledge the gifts God has given us, and to pin our hopes on Him,” the bishop said. “Although all of us see this year as terrible because of the pandemic, in the midst of all of that, we know God loves us, and that He won’t ever abandon us.”