On the 19th of February, Fr. Matteo Invernizzi officially entered the parish of Our Lady of the Waters, in Bogotà, as pastor. Here is the first letter from Columbia.

For a few months now, I have been in Bogotà, Columbia. After a period of adapting to the new environment, which is fascinating and full of contradictions that differ greatly from those in Chile, we have finally been given a parish. It is called Our Lady of The Waters, a very ancient parish, and is located in the historical center of the city, which is surrounded by universities and student residences. The desire of the archbishop is that our community of three priests might become a point of friendship and Christian proposal in a zone that is quickly being secularized.
I have been the pastor here for a short time. It has been an experience of fatherhood and guidance that is new and interesting. I am discovering that I can put to use many fruitful experiences that I lived during my years in Rome and Chile. The people are nice, welcoming, discreet, and very sensitive; in the past, my manner has been much more “direct”; now it is necessary that I make the sacrifice to be patient so that I can take in the many hints and insinuations. I do what I can, without fear of making decisions, and when I make a mistake I ask for forgiveness. I see that this is the right path and so I continue to walk, sometimes tired but always in peace.
We have recently passed the Christmas season, thus undergoing the first “parish trial”, which was more than anything else an occasion to get to know the parishioners, as well as an opportunity for them to get to know us.
Above all, we are meeting the elderly, children, and the poor (near our house there is a area that is similar to those in Brazil, where the poor gather in shacks, forming neighborhoods called “Barrio la Paz”), as well as professors and university students. Every encounter is a surprise, which leaves me grateful for the possibility to touch the heart of those who are so far from us culturally and yet so near in their desire to come closer to Jesus.
Without the friendship and help of John and Carlo I would not be able to do anything. Here the communion that we share is not an option among many, but a fundamental necessity. Maybe for this reason the mission, despite all its difficulties, is so fascinating: it simplifies life by always leading us to what is most essential.
We lived the traditional blessing of the houses with a missionary intent, entering in all the stores, bars, clubs (which occupy this zone of university students), introducing ourselves and inviting everyone to participate in a Christmas novena as well as a collection taken up for the poor. Seeing priests enter into their clubs left the owners in shock, yet they warmly welcomed us. Many want to know more about us. We asked a few people in the neighborhood to accompany us, to help us understand the different dynamics of the parish better and to begin to share our friendship with them.

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