About a year ago, we began a cultural center at our parish in Bogotá. It’s called El Faro (The Lighthouse). We started during the quarantine, when the majority of our parishioners were in isolation, especially the university students who had gone back home to avoid remaining alone in their apartments. To maintain contact with them, and to have some fun, we launched the idea of a book club, beginning with Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. The experiment worked and pushed us to start a virtual cultural center. We designed a logo, created a page on social media networks, and threw ourselves into working on it. Months later, though, with the gradual return to normality, we saw that it was time to stop asking our Italian friends to host encounters. With this step, though, we feared that the activity would have come to a standstill because of the shortage of interesting people who could guide the meetings. However, to our great surprise, we discovered that our fear was unfounded. One of the most compelling aspects of this work has been discovering the hidden talents that we have in the parish. Keeping our eyes open has allowed us to discover an inexhaustible human richness. Just as in the emerald mines that we have here in Colombia, every month we extracted new gems, some of high quality, others more unhewn, but all of them gems nonetheless.
We let ourselves be helped by the Mexican Gamaliel to understand general questions about the Covid virus and the vaccines. The professors Gloria and Santiago, recently Baptized, guided us through different musical courses, while Maria José threw open the doors to the world of ballet. Andrea introduced us to the master of “crude realism”, the Colombian writer Mario Mendoza, while the professor Kniasian spoke to us about the suffering and faith of the people of Armenia.
All the meetings hosted taught us that the culture that is born from Christian experience, even in a small parish community, need not be envious of even the most important universities in the world.
In the photo, a moment of celebration in the parish Nuestra Señora de Las Aguas, Bogotá.