In August 2018, nine members of St Joan of Arc Catholic Community visited Tierra Nueva Dos in Guatemala. Daniluz Schueller gave the following thank you speech during the goodbye at mass.
My name is Daniluz Schueller and I am the youngest member of this delegation between our sister parishes, St Joan of Arc and Tierra Nueva Dos. At the present time, our sistering relationship has lasted for more than 20 years. One of our goals is to build mutual understanding in solidarity between the communities of Tierra Nueva Dos and St Joan of Arc. One of the ways we do this is through home stays and delegations. Our communities take turns traveling to the other country – from North to South and from South to North – every year. We hope this will help increase our knowledge of each other’s cultures and I feel that is what we do when we share our gifts through meals, dances, conversations, stories and hospitality.
The stories that the families share is a part I like because although the content is important, it also shows trust when they share profound and also humorous things. There is a lot of value in this because there are many people who are open to sharing their lives with you and it is like holding up a precious piece of the family that is not material.
The first reading speaks of wisdom and understanding and I think that wisdom has been shared in the houses where we stayed because we have shared family stories that are an important part of our lives. From this wisdom, we learn and we grow in our friendship and that is powerful. During this delegation in our meetings with the committees, all together or separate, we could see that there are very strong people with a lot of passion in this community, like the Peregrinos bible study group, the women’s group, the craft group, the scholarship students, and the youth group. I feel humbled by all of the work they do and I feel that the passion they have makes me also feel passionate about their goals. That is how the true meaning of solidarity was born in me.
I also feel that music is one of the best expressions of solidarity – whether it is a happy birthday song or the song “Un millon de amigos – A Million Friends” in honor of our friends. The second reading says that we should be filled with the spirit of God and we have done this by caring for each other and joining our voices to sing a song of love that comes from the heart.
Finally, I don’t think I could finish speaking about our celebratory experience without talking about the food. I speak for everyone on the delegation when I say that we are all full of your delicious food and your infinite love. It is when we sit at the table to share a meal that we have had the best conversations. We are not just two parishes – we are a family that shares achievements and difficulties together. It was in these moments that I realized that our sense of confidence starts when we are vulnerable because we are welcomed and accepted at the table as we are. There we feel we can be honest with each other and this experience makes our partner relationship grow stronger.
In the Gospel, Jesus says that whoever eats his flesh and drinks his blood remains in him just as he remains in us. During our meals, we have shared the body and blood of Christ symbolized in the food that has given each of us life and has also kept our partner relationship alive.
Jesus also says that whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood will have eternal life and even though we didn’t always eat bread, but also birthday cake and tortillas, these memories will be part of us forever because of the love that God has made us capable of feeling and sharing.
Thank you with all our hearts for receiving us in your community. God bless our relationship. Thank you.