María and José Solana. Faith encounters with teenagers

The Solana couple, Maria and Jose, fill their home with teenagers every Friday to talk to them about their faith, help them share their lives and create great friendships among them. 

Arsenio Fernández de Mesa-September 15, 2021-Reading time: 3 minutes
Solana Family.

Charlo with María and José, married, six children. They are both teachers: María in primary school and José in secondary school. They live the faith in the parish of Santiago and San Juan Bautista in Madrid but they never wanted to stay in a minimal Christian experience. They always wanted more. That is why they participate as "godparents" in a novel pastoral with teenagers. "For the children at this time of their lives, the reference to their home, their house, takes a back seat and their friends take on a special role."José points out. That's why they are looking to alleviate the problem that they are "in the middle of a crisis".lack of reference away from home". This ministry keeps them linked to the parish after Confirmation, a period when there is a kind of vacuum in the children - who tend to break the link with the Church. A few groups are formed so that they can participate together in the faith and thus begin to generate people of reference who are their age. Their peers. "It is a friendship group in the parish"says Maria. 

In these meetings, topics about the Christian faith are discussed: some theological virtue, capital sin or the gift of the Holy Spirit, for example. Almost all the meetings are held outside the parish. Herein lies the grace and perhaps the secret of success: they meet on Fridays at the home of Mary and Joseph. "The idea is that they see that our house is their home, that our doors are open to them and that they are one of us. Our children have a great time with them. We get together while our children watch a movie. We have dinner together. Bonds are generated between them, with us and with our children. You help them to find people like them, with concerns like them, whom they will see later in the parish.The couple is so enthusiastic about their task," says the couple. Then they take them home late at night.

The feedback The children transmit a taste for this type of meetings. They are excited. They are eager. They know they are important. That these meetings are partly theirs. They are not configured as a usual catechesis in which they receive with a certain laziness what the catechist tells them as if it were just another class at school. These meetings are very experiential. They participate. They live what is being discussed and can express their own experiences. They are involved, they feel everything in the first person. "For us it is a demanding ministry: every Friday you pick them up at the parish, take them to your house, prepare them a good dinner with love and then take them back home. We make a trip delivering children all over Madrid, which sometimes takes us two hours."Joseph points out. It is the paradox of Jesus Christ: he who loses his life finds it. That's how this married couple feels. "Seeing how the children live the topics that are dealt with, how they expose their own experiences, how it helps them returns in that we are satisfied. God gives us joy, peace in marriage. It brings us closer together. It helps us to be generous, to not keep life to ourselves. We are amazed to get into the lives of these kids."Both agree. 

The kids are with them from the time they are 12 until they turn 18."They can express with us what they cannot express at home or with their friends at school. We talk freely about many topics that are essential, such as sexuality, envy, honoring parents, the importance of respect. We draw heavily on the Catechism of the Church to enlighten them on these topics.". They think this activity will be a treasure for their children when they are teenagers tomorrow. "We hope that when we are not able to explain it to them - because it is always difficult to talk about some subjects with our own parents - there will be another couple to enlighten them, to teach them to open their souls, to take care of them, to create great friendships...."concludes Maria.

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