By Br. Juan Acuña, C.PP.S.
Last winter in Chicago was brutal. When winter was over I went to the store to get a new winter coat to be prepared for the next one. Little did I know that Fr. David Matz, C.PP.S., was going to need help at St. Agnes Church in Los Angeles and my life was going to change drastically during the summer. The provincial directors of the Kansas City and Cincinnati Provinces asked me if I could go to Los Angeles and help out at the parish and provide some community for Fr. Matz.
My first instinct was to be cautious and take some time to think about it. Chicago and Northwest Indiana have been my home for the last nine years; I was not sure if I was ready to leave. Soon I realized that most of our conversations about the new creation have been around being bold, taking risks, and leaving our comfort zones, so if I have been talking the talk, I also had to walk the walk. I accepted the challenge.
This is my first time working side by side with a member of the Kansas City Province and doing parish administration work. This is a big parish and it requires a big effort to keep the school and parish afloat. Although I’ve been living here only a short time, and despite the many challenges, I can see the potential to create maybe a mission house and make a difference as Missionaries of the Precious Blood answering the Call of the Blood here in Los Angeles.
There is a real need to reach out to those who are being marginalized in this community today, in particular immigrants. Being a Latino immigrant myself makes it hit home even more closely as I talk with parishioners and we share our struggles as immigrants. Our society is in desperate need of healing and reconciliation and our spirituality seems to be even more important today than ever before.
I am not sure yet how my ministry here will take shape, but Fr. Matz and I are committed to make this work and start living right here and right now into the reality of the new creation.
My new winter coat will continue to hang in my closet and I am not sure if I will be able to use it in the future. In the meantime, it is a reminder that as a Missionary of the Precious Blood I have to be prepared to answer the call wherever and whenever I am needed and that I work on God’s plan and time before my own.
(Br. Juan Acuña, C.PP.S., is the chairman of the New Creation Commission.)