My Holy Week Missions: Chapter 1

missionsThis is going to take more than one blog.

My Holy Week mission this year was quite an experience… family missions in Valencia. It was my first one with families (and in Spain, for that matter). And… I LOVED IT!

It definitely stood out as unique next to my six years of Holy Week missions with American teenagers. Here´s a few of the cultural and not-so-cultural differences that made me smile to myself:

Tuna fish sandwiches for breakfast. Granted, on deliciously fresh bread, but literally just topped with plain tuna fish. Or honey—that was a treat. This was apparently gourmet…a typical Spanish breakfast is coffee and galletas Marias (sort of like a tea cookie.) Not exactly under the category of “big American breakfast.”

A different daily rhythm. Since about half of the forty missionaries were kids under the age of thirteen, there´s quite a lot to do just to get everyone fed or in and out of the car. Having nieces and nephews has taught me how that works, so the dynamic itself wasn´t new to me, but it definitely makes for a different type of mission dynamic. Let´s just say we had an hour or two between one thing and the next instead of ten minutes.

missionsLunch. Is. A. Big. Deal. A sit-down meal with glass plates (none of this paper products stuff), two courses (and yogurt or fruit for dessert), red wine as a staple (not an extra), and two solid hours. Meals were a moment to really spend time with each other and build family. That´s what meals are for in my family, too, so it made me feel right at home… but again, on missions it took a little getting used to.

Going door to door with kids. With teenagers, it can take quite a bit of convincing just to get them up on the front porch, then maybe even knock on the door… But with these six and seven year olds, they were done handing out glow-in-the-dark rosaries to everyone on the block before the adults even made it up to a house. What was that again about the Kingdom belonging to the childlike?

The finishing touch: instead of meeting the Easter bunny on Sunday, we ate one. In the paella, of course.

Last and not least, my favorite cultural difference was the Easter processions. They´re a big deal here in Spain, and the ones in the southern cities, like Seville, are especially famous. And here´s where another blog is going to have to start, because I have too much more to say. (Yes, I read blogs, too… and yes, sometimes I get lost after the six-minute mark.) To be continued.

About Carol Dodd

Carol Dodd is a Consecrated Woman of Regnum Christi in her studies stage of formation. She is from Dallas, Texas, where she attended The Highlands, the Regnum Christi school there, for 11 years. After graduating, she was a Regnum Christi missionary in Chicago for one year. She made her first vows on March 14, 2015 after two years of candidacy at the formation center in Rhode Island. After three years at Mater Ecclesiae College, she is now part of the new studies stage community in Madrid, where she is studying Theology at the Universidad Eclesiástica San Dámaso.
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