Two seminarians in Mexico have launched a project on Facebook to offer evangelization and pastoral ministry tools for the deaf.
The initiative is called EvangeLíSaMe (EvangelizeMe) and was created by seminarians Juan Gómez, age 28, and Edwyn Alvarado, age 25, two months ago.
The capitalized letters in the title stand for “Mexican Sign Language,” Gomez told ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish Language sister agency. He explained that the goal is to create “an online place for evangelization in Mexican sign language and for the human development of deaf people.”
On the EvangeLíSaMe Facebook page, Gomez and Alvarado share two minute videos each week, offering catechesis or a reflection in Mexican Sign Language.
They are also putting together a catechesis photo manual “that could be used in parish centers where there are deaf children who want to make their First Communion.”
The seminarians got to know each other through social media, as they both worked in deaf ministry in their respective dioceses.
Gomez has been working in deaf ministry in the Diocese of Irapuato for a year and received training at San Juan de los Lagos in 2013. Alvarado, who is preparing to be a priest in the Missionaries of Saint Charbel order, has been doing work with the deaf for four years.
Gomez said he felt motivated to learn sign language because during his formation period, “they sent me out on mission to a home for people with disabilities, and it was there I got to know about this reality. I saw that [those who were deaf] had many limitations because there were very few people who could communicate with them.”
He said the Facebook initiative originated when the two seminarians “saw the need for sign language interpreters to bring God’s message in the different dioceses in Mexico.” In some areas of the country, there are few resources for deaf people seeking to grow deeper in their faith.
With EvangeLíSaMe, they hope to “eliminate the barriers to communication, so more deaf people may know God.” They also hope that people in other Mexican dioceses will join the project.
Alvarado is scheduled to be ordained a priest in 2020 while Gomez has already completed his formation and is awaiting the date for his priestly ordination.