By RUTH E. DÁVILA, Special to the Bulletin | Published June 27, 2014
COLLEGE PARK—Today more than ever, “we need a new evangelization,” said Mother Adela Galindo, the closing speaker of the Eucharistic Congress’ Spanish track. “It’s urgent and profoundly demanding and all-encompassing.”
Mother Galindo’s talk centered on this call to evangelization, pronounced by Pope John Paul II in 1979. She urged the audience to march forward with the “intrepidness” that the saint-pope described to evangelize with a “joyful and contagious proclamation.”
Born in Nicaragua, she founded the religious institute of the Servants of the Pierced Hearts of Jesus and Mary in 1990 in the Archdiocese of Miami, Florida. Through it, she has a special emphasis on evangelization.
In her speech, the sister noted that the Gospel is the antidote to the malaise of the world—the current “eclipse of God.”
“When God is shirked to one side, human beings become disoriented and lose sight of their own meaning,” she said.
Preaching the Good News should be a daily affair, woven into the fabric of life. It starts by sharing with one’s intimate circle, Mother Galindo reminded. A wife should continue to witness to her husband about Jesus “even if he covers his ears,” she said.
Beyond preaching with actions, one should back up one’s actions with words to explain why, she added.
“In this historic moment,” she shouted, referencing the cliché that Latinos tend to arrive late to events, “we as Hispanics have the duty to show up on time for this work” of the new evangelization.
Mother Galindo tempered her exhortation to join God’s army with a caveat.
“In order for our infinitely small effort to bear fruit, we must be faithful to Jesus Christ and cast our net wherever he says, wherever he makes it most fruitful,” she said.
“What does it matter if my mouth is too small (for preaching)?” she prodded. “It doesn’t matter; it’s not one’s mouth that bears the fruit—it’s one’s effort.”
Still, she cautioned, the call to spread the Gospel is not a motive for despair. “God does not want us to be oppressed, but rather that we grow into the fullness of human truth,” she said.
“Christians who are pessimists or fatalists don’t sway anyone,” she said, referring to end-time forebodings. “If the world is going to end, then what motivates me is to spend the rest of my life in service—to Jesus Christ and to my neighbors.”
Forming ‘pierced hearts’
Galindo’s faith took root as a child in Nicaragua during the height of the charismatic renewal. A mix of charismatic fervor, devotion to the Eucharist and love for the Virgin Mary drove her toward a religious vocation. Those anchors also left an indelible mark on her spirituality.
The Blessed Mother “took me by the hand and ushered me toward a total giving of myself,” Mother Galindo said in an interview at the congress. “I responded by giving my life to Jesus.”
When she was a young nun, she did not set out to create a separate order, but her zeal was contagious. “Soon other women began to feel the same calling. It was a surprise to me that there would be others who wanted to follow me.”
In 1990, the bishop created the archdiocesan Institute of the Servants of the Pierced Hearts of Jesus and Mary with Mother Galindo at its helm.
In addition to professing vows of chastity, poverty and obedience, she and her sisters take a special vow of “total Marian availability.” This embodies their commitment to being a living image and presence of Mary in the Church and in the world, at the service of the Church’s authority.
Rather than focusing on a single area, she and her sisters serve broadly through a variety of assignments: evangelization through media and courses, religious education in churches and schools, speaking affairs, and leadership of pastoral ministries, retreats and pilgrimages. They are present in Miami, Orlando, Florida, and Peoria, Illinois.
“We are at the disposition of the bishops and priests who need us, whatever they assign to us,” Mother Galindo said. “Through the all-embracing motherhood of Mary, we go wherever the Mother needs to be in order to form people in their faith.”
For Mother Galindo, evangelization was an innate vocation even as an adolescent. As a teen, she led talks and retreats. “I understood why evangelization was necessary, because it was clear from the challenges and the disorientation that I saw other young people go through. I could see the difference in myself, and the difference was that I knew God.”
Mother Galindo hopes to convey that, despite its nomenclature, the “new evangelization” is not a “new” program, slogan or calling.
“Listening to Pope Francis, (the new evangelization) is about renewing our own personal encounter with Christ. It’s the same Gospel of today and forever; the idea is to share it amid all the challenges and obstacles of the modern world.”
The most powerful way to prepare for evangelization is to receive the sacraments and to meditate on holy Scripture before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, she said.
To evangelize adeptly, the most important message to relay, in Mother Galindo’s eyes, is that we were all created to love and to be loved infinitely. “My one desire is for the Lord to be loved and for humanity to realize his greatness,” she said.
Moments like the congress reinvigorate her to go out and preach. They also put the world in perspective.
“The most beautiful treasure I’ll take with me from this congress is the image—an ‘Instagram’ of sorts—of the moment when we were all standing before the Blessed Sacrament: the archbishop and bishops, priests, religious, deacons and committed laity. There we were, from every station in life, the whole reality of the Church at the foot of the cross before Blessed Jesus. It was like a photo for me: this is the Church.”
For more information about Mother Adela Galindo and her ministry with the Servants of the Pierced Hearts of Jesus and Mary, visit the website at www.piercedhearts.org.