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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Sunday in Soacha, Bogota

Quedate Senor, quedate Senor, Quedate Senor
aqui, aqui, aqui

Stay Lord, stay Lord, stay Lord
here, here, here

That was the chorus of the communion song at an outdoor Mass on Sunday in Soacha, a community of poor people and civil war refugees who live in the hills above southern Bogota. It was the same song Fr. Ed sang at my housewarming party almost three years ago.

About 50 people attended the Mass, held on a flat patch of dust above the local brick factory. More than half of the people who came were children under 10. Mass was celebrated by six German priests plus the U.S. Jesuit in our delegation. Radical Catholic readers will appreciate the following details. During the homily, members of the congregation were invited to speak, and the whole congregation said the consecration together. Given that the word I heard is most of the Colombian church wouldn't do that, it was an extra treat to be there.

I put Soacha in Google and the first thing in English that came up was an EU-funded project to improve education and prevent forced recruiting of youth into the armed groups. Here's the story.

The story mentions an educational method from Brazil that helps children make up for lost time in school. Someone from the program says it has helped students make three years of academic progress in one school year. CPS, are you listening? Maybe that's something worth researching.

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