Thoughts from a young theologian

Chehalis


I mentioned earlier in the week that we recently started our catechisms… I’ll try and talk a little bit more about it here today… Most of the other seminarians catechize in one of the nearby parishes. We have St. James and St. Ann’s in Abbotsford or I think, also St. Joseph in Mission… I’m not 100% sure now. Others also do prison ministry — visit some of the prisoners once each week, while still others have hospice care where they visit the sick and dying each week. One thing that the seminarians of old have apparently always taken care of, in addition to these, is the missions to the First Nations communities. There are 3 First Nations communities we help out. I’ve only been to Chehalis but there’s also one in Seabird Island and another one somewhere else (sorry… it’s my first year and I don’t know them all yet)… c”,)

Anyway, I am working with the group that heads out to Chehalis. This year, our team is made up of all new seminarians, with not a lot of catechism experience. There has been a bit of misunderstandings between previous seminarians and the sister who has over the past 4 years taken up residence in Chehalis and so we weren’t completely sure what exactly we were walking into yet. Over the past couple of Wednesday nights, immediately after Vespers, I drive our team of 4 guys as fast as I can to make it all the way there in time for the 6:30 catechism… Now, the direction I’m driving in is interesting too… Most people consider Mission to be really far our there… Let me tell you!! I don’t go west (in the direction of Vancouver)… I go further out east! It’s about a half an hour drive as this reserve is about 30+ km east of Mission and the in between, all we see is one convenience store, one gasoline station, one restaurant and LOTS of fields. Our marker for knowing when to turn is an interesting looking signboard with a human-like figure that appears to be glaring at you as you drive by it. It’s really captivating though… c”,) Hehehehehe

The church is a small but pretty little church. It can fit maybe about 40 people and it’s well decorated with lots of paintings and a few First Nation style candles, which really give it a rustic and different feel. Walking in, I feel like I’m in a very familiar but at the same time, very different world… familiar in the sense that most Catholic churches have the most essential part, the tabernacle easily present but different in the sense that this one has a very First Nation feel to it. It feels like if I was walking in the forest and ran into a church in the middle of it, this is what it would look like. I really like it… c”,)

The kids are absolutely amazing… they’re very very energetic and so it’s usually a big challenge for us to try and maintain a bit of order in the place. Their community is not very big and so they all know each other really well and in fact, are mostly related to each other too. They’re very enthusiastic in their answers, motivated by the fact that we provide them with lots of treats (candies at first, but that got them a little too sugar high) for a fairly correct response. Their knowledge of the faith is very rudimentary but it’s there… For now though, what they know about their faith is mainly in their heads… Part of our work should be to move that into their hearts so, not only do they know it, but they fall in love with it. That’ll take time though. For now, all we’re doing is preparing them for their First Holy Communion this coming Easter.

I think that’ll be it for now… I’m having a bit of a tougher time getting these posts out on a regular basis as I’ve been getting steadily and steadily busier as the days go by… You’ll have to keep me motivated by leaving comments and feedback!! Let me know how I’m doing so far!! What do you like and what don’t you like… How can I improve this blog? Thanks! c”,) God bless!!!

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