Spotlight on Associates

IHM mission in Juarez
By Barbara Yugovich, IHM Associate
IHM Sisters Maureen Kelly, Maria Antonia Aranda Diaz and Carmen Armenta Lara

Maria Antonia and Maureen greeted me when I landed in El Paso to get to know the IHM mission at work there and to celebrate the associate commitments of a married couple, Hildelisa and Valentin. We stopped for la comida (lunch) and then went to their home in the western area of Juarez.

Throughout the week, Maria Antonia showed me the beautiful vistas and mountains of Juarez as well as many places to introduce me to its rich culture. I learned that the local parish has locations called “chapels” where the local community can gather for many activities such as Mass, religious education for children and adults as well as Bible Study.

Maria Antonia led a Bible study the evening I arrived, focusing on a passage from Luke’s Gospel about the meaning of the reign of God. I was deeply inspired as well as feeling “right at home” because of their joyful and welcoming spirit. There were still palm branches strewn at the entry of the chapel from Easter Sunday. I kept a portion of one branch to remember their warm hospitality on that Easter Tuesday.

The mountain vistas were breathtaking, showing the many realities of Juarez –the simple mountain communities, the modern city (Centro) and large industrial areas. I saw the border wall on which is painted, “Not Criminals, not Illegals, we are international workers.”

We visited a school in the town of Anapra. Parents and children were meeting with a team of educators and learning how to support their children in their education. The children’s beautiful art work surrounded the sun-filled space.

On Sunday, April 8, the associate commitment celebration of Valentin and Hildelisa took place in the morning liturgy at their home chapel, The Lord of Mercy. The entire family participated in the opening procession, bringing forth symbols important to Valentin and Hildalisa.

Carmen, Maureen, Maria Antonia and I facilitated the commitment ceremony, which followed the homily. At the conclusion of Mass, Maria Antonia introduced me to three individuals who have expressed a desire to begin the mentoring process with the IHM Sisters of Juarez. The celebration continued with a meal at the family home of Valentin and Hildelisa.

We – Carmen, Tonya and Maureen – are very grateful for the presence of Barbara representing the Associate Program, as were the new associates and their whole family. Also, Barbara’s interest in our ministries meant a great deal to us and to our communities.