Father Rocendo Herrera, S.T., arrived at our mission in Loiza, Puerto Rico, two years ago. One of the first things he noticed upon his arrival was that there were very few young people attending Mass. He knew this needed to change but he also knew it would not be easy. One of the first steps he took was to get acquainted with the people. He visited families in their homes and got to know the principals and teachers of the town’s schools.
Father Rocendo’s tactics worked — more and more children and youth are becoming active in the Church. There are now more than ten altar servers who are faithful to their service at Sunday Mass. Before Father Rocendo came to the parish, there had not been a religious education program for five years. Now they have three robust groups, with about 20 students in each group! “Our program is a little different than the traditional religious education,” Father Rocendo explains. “Parents attend classes with their children and share the homework so that both parents and children are growing in their faith together. So far, it has been a great success!”
The children are also instilled with the importance of helping others, especially the poor. They raise money for the parish’s food pantry throughout the year, and at Thanksgiving they help families who would otherwise not be able to have a special meal. The children and parents accompany Father Rocendo when he takes the food to the families so that they are actively ministering to the poor. Afterwards, they gather to share their experience of performing an act of mercy, and to give thanks that they can share what they have.
Father Rocendo is grateful to all who support his good works. Through the kindness and generosity of our many benefactors, he is able to stock the pantry with other items to extend their giving throughout the year. Together, we are making a difference in so many lives.