Pilgrimage for Life in Greenwood

Matachines (dancers) presented prayers in dance at each stop.

The Redemptorist community in Greenwood teamed up with the Diocese of Jackson’s Hispanic Youth Ministry for a Pilgrimage for Life on January 14.

We hoped to educate the youth about the manda tradition – walking as a prayer for those whom we love. The pilgrimage began at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Delta, and continued for three miles on the Locus Benedictus property. We stopped five times to pray and meditate on the “seamless garment” of our ethic for life. After we prayed one decade of the rosary, matachines (dancers) presented our prayers in dance at each stop.

Meditations included reflections on the dignity of life at conception, migration and racial justice, care for the environment, care for those on the periphery and the elderly, and in celebration of youth.

Members of the Diocese of Jackson’s Hispanic Youth Ministry lead the pilgrimage carrying Our Lady of Guadalupe and a large wooden cross.

Many volunteers from our Hispanic Ministry in Greenwood generously contributed lunch for the pilgrims, and afterward we celebrated Mass at the shrine. A highlight of the Mass was a moment when we all prayed for the family of Rigoberto Salas, and a merciful hearing of his deportation proceedings.

The Redemptorists minister to the Hispanics across in the 24 established parishes across the Delta. The need is high, as only three of the local priests are comfortable reading the Mass in Spanish, and none are able to preach in Spanish.

The Redemptorists are working to create vibrant, sustainable Hispanic communities where the Gospel is proclaimed and the liturgy is celebrated well. They continue to develop the lay leaders in the Hispanic communities while local pastors study the Spanish language and culture. There are currently only 11 priests in the Delta, four of whom are past the age of retirement. Considering the likelihood of even fewer ordained ministers in the future, the Redemptorists are busy training liturgical ministers and catechists.