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Service and Adventures with the Assumption community in Tlilapan, Mexico

Veronika Jaster

After her missionary volunteering in the Santiago Apóstol parish of Tlilapan-Veracruz, Veronika Jaster, a young American tells us about her experience serving the Kingdom of God with the Assumptionists and is grateful for this opportunity to serve the youth.

I’d like to sincerely thank the Assumptionist community for the opportunity to serve with the Congregation in Mexico and encounter God’s love during my time there. I spent eighteen days at the Assumptionist parish center in Tlilapan, Veracruz. Throughout the volunteer work and the cultural immersion, it was a joy to serve, learn, and share life with all the people I met.

With the sun inching over the rolling mountains, drawing curtains of warmth in the still-cool air, each day started with morning prayer and Mass in the chapel, followed by a shared breakfast. In the late afternoon, from Mondays to Fridays, I taught English to locals from the youth group in a parish classroom.

We started each lesson with either an informal speaking exercise to warm up, or with a recap of what we had worked on the previous day. With each new topic, we completed exercises and played a speaking game in order to practice the concept in a more engaging way. I appreciate how receptive and eager the students were to participate.

While I wasn’t teaching English, I accompanied some of the priests to their ministries in the area. In the few weeks while I was there, I attended a wedding, two quince años, a baptism, a last rites ceremony, a funeral, as well as a celebration of the Feast of the Assumption of Mary. Through all these sacraments and events, it became clear to me that God is at the center of the familial love that thrives in Mexican culture, whether it’s through joy or sorrow.

I saw His love’s steadfastness in a woman’s unbroken care for her sick husband, heard its guidance in an uncle’s bittersweet speech to his quinzeañera, smelled its heartbreak in the incense that lifted up the prayers for a departed son, tasted its unity in a wedding cake, and felt its triumphant power through the bursts of fireworks.

The gift of new friendships transcended the differences in customs and language, without diminishing the richness of this diversity. It was a joy to find new neighbors to love and with whom to share adventures, from jumping into rivers to climbing mountains, from visiting bustling Orizaba to exploring the small-town culture in Tlilapan, and from learning how to dance cumbia to teaching the Cotton-Eyed Joe.

Many thanks again to the Assumptionist community for this volunteer opportunity and for the cultural immersion. I keep their mission in my prayers and hope that my experience inspires others to discover and share through this program, all for the glory of God. Saludos!

Veronika Jaster

For more information about the Assumptionist Volunteer Program, please contact or call (617) 783-0400.

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