In this time of COVID 19, Oblates everywhere are finding the need to be creative in reaching out to parishioners who are at risk of the virus.
Fr. Andy Sensenig, Pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in the tiny town of Sarita, Texas (Pop. 270) is no exception.
Fr. Andy has enlisted the help of parishioners to hand out copies of the New Testament to parishioners and others in the area who find it too risky to come to church during the pandemic. He and his parishioners are inspired in this outreach by the late Elena Suess Kenedy (of the famous Kenedy Ranch Family) who donated funds which built the current church and parish hall back in the mid-1980s.
Said Fr. Sensenig: “The picture that I am holding up is a blown up copy of Elena Suess Kenedy. She paid for our Church and Parish Hall Complex to be built and guided the use of the funds along with the late Fr. Kelly Nemick, OMI. She is one of the great Kenedy Family Women, who were the great Evangelizers in our neck of the woods. People of the area really respond well to the memory of her faith and generosity.”
At a time when many older people are virtually homebound by their susceptibility to the virus, Fr. Senseig feels it’s necessary to keep some physical connection with his parishioners. His volunteers are taking the copies of the New Testament out to relatives, friends and neighbors in both English and Spanish as “personal evangelizers,” reminding them that Our Lady of Guadalupe remains open for them (under COVID restrictions) to meet their needs.
Fr. Senseig is doing many things to keep in touch including mailings to parishioners along with driving 50 miles and more to visit people who live on distant ranches. “The Sacraments are mostly physical and are not very “Zoom friendly, personal outreach is essential.”
Fr. Senseig appears to be following in the footsteps of Oblates who rode the circuit on horseback 100 years ago, but at least his car has air-conditioning.