The Human Experience of the Farm


The Human Experience of the Farm

We had great plans to celebrate Mass on Thanksgiving Day at the De Mazenod Farm. This would have been the first time we, as a community of faith, gathered for an outdoor Mass, and we were looking forward to it. Unfortunately, due to the weather conditions with cold, gusty winds, we weren’t able to proceed with the liturgical celebration. However, even though we had to cancel the Mass, something amazing happened at the farm that day.

I was just hanging around with our animals, just in case someone didn’t get our update about the cancellation of the Mass on time and might drive up to the Farm, and then they came. One car after another. Families and friends, all bundled up for the chilly cold weather, carrying their chairs as we had requested. I felt bad delivering the disappointing news about the Mass, but invited all to stay and enjoy the fresh air and visit with the animals since they were already there. And so they did.

People wandered around, checking out the fields and interacting with the animals.  Children, as well as adults, had the time of their lives feeding the donkeys, petting the goats, playing with kittens and gathering eggs from the chickens. The environment and the spirit of the farm gave people an opportunity to chat, tell stories, and simply encounter each other.  Susan beautifully summed it up in her comment. “I didn’t see the post about cancelling the mass before making my way there, however, did some weeding and socialized with a few parishioners who recognize the face, but have never chatted with. Enjoyable time!”

St. Eugene de Mazenod wrote, “We must lead men to act like human beings, first of all and then like Christians, and finally, we must help them to become saints.” (Preface to the Oblate Constitutions and Rules) Humans, Christians then Saints, in this order!

We may not have been able to do the ‘saintly stuff’ at the Farm that day, but we all certainly had a wonderful human experience and encounter with others and with nature, while there.

By: Jarek Pachocki, OMI