MEXICO, David Tijerina Sáenz and Mónica Díaz E. de Tijerina •
We are David and Monica, we have been married for almost nine years, and we want to share our experience of carrying out an apostolate together with the aim of motivating you to open yours and others hearts to work during this Year of Mercy.
Since we were married and because of the different circumstances life presented to us, we began to form ourselves in the Faith. Hand in hand, we began to feel the call to contribute, in some way, to transforming our society into what it should be through love and service.
We found an apostolate in our new place of residence
We prepared ourselves for this, and so we decided to join some apostolic groups, attending training talks presented by lay people and religious. Once a year, we attended a spiritual and marriage enrichment retreat.
In June 2012, we moved because of David’s work. We did not know anyone, and one Sunday two months later while attending Mass, an opportunity presented itself to participate in a weekly apostolate. Spontaneously at the end of the celebration, we decided to place ourselves at the service of Fr. Jaime Fuentes, who was in charge of our Lady of the Rosary parish in Manzanillo, and he quickly told us: “I need help with a new project that consists of educating youths in Christian values. Can you begin next Saturday? I already have the material you can study.” We did not hesitate to accept the challenge. We worked every Saturday for a year with a group of twenty teens ages 12-17.
Every Saturday, a small oasis for youths
It was an experience that profoundly affected us, because we realized that youths and teens have a great need to be heard when they express their ideas, doubts and dreams, and they have the implicit desire to be in an atmosphere of respect, peace and love. For these youths, Saturdays became a small oasis; they rarely missed the classes. We witnessed their inner and exterior transformations having observed the harmony that prevailed among all of them during the different activities, despite the difference in ages.
It is important to mention in order to carry out this apostolate, it was enough to give two hours of time, abundant enthusiasm, and to go prepared with the material for every gathering. Every Saturday that we attended became a source of love and growth for them and for us.
Outside our comfort zone
Because of work, we moved once again and returned to Monterrey. We continued to progress in our training with the last retreat we attended being about mercy and magnanimity.
All the material presented confirmed and gave us the impetus to return to action and commitment so that together we could transform the society where we live. This time, we sought children and youths from a neighborhood outside of our comfort zone.
From the beginning, our purpose was clear; we had to offer an experience of Christian values in an atmosphere of joy, respect, peace and love.
A new apostolate from basketball
David and I introduced ourselves at a basketball court in a poor neighborhood, and we began to play. Some of the children and youths started to come out of curiosity, and they stayed, which is how we began this new adventure.
This apostolate has also left us with some great life lessons, since we observed that children as well as the youths want and need to live together in harmony, and receive a strong dose of affection that in many cases they do not find in a natural or spontaneous manner at home. We thank God for giving us the opportunity to love, serve and transform hearts every Saturday, where He needs us. We appreciate the moments He offers us to take hope to those who are sad, because of their life circumstances, and for having the opportunity to tell them, “You are not alone; we want to be here for awhile and enjoy it with you.”
Another reality we discovered is that all these people we have had the good fortune of meeting are so special to us, because without realizing it, they have enlivened our marriage through their love. Their words and small gestures they do make us strive to be better people.
We hope that this awakens your desire to serve and to love your neighbor. The only requirement is your “Yes.” Jesus will take care of the rest by making it known to you through people and circumstances.