The Missions: San Francisco and San José

Unless the mission is oriented by charity, that is, unless it springs from a profound act of divine love, it risks being reduced to mere philanthropic and social activity...Consequently, being missionaries means loving God with all one's heart, even to the point, if necessary, of dying for him. - Pope Benedict XVI

the new web page for the banica mission is fr. o'hare's well written blog which he is keeping up to date.

five and a quarter years ago i began the blog and today i end it.

obviously the last five years have been filled with excitement and today i find myself packing a single carry-on bag for my return trip home (it's going to be close) with mixed emotions. i'm certainly happy to be doing God's Will by returning to the states. at the same time, leaving banica and the people here generates a certain sorrow that is natural and good. i trust God will take care of all of us, as Christ promised in today's gospel. so, having said that, let's check out a couple of stats:

over 3,000 Masses celebrated
almost 1,000 baptisms
over 60,000 kilometers of off-road motorcycling (without a single crash, just a couple of stop-falls)
1000's of nails hammered into roofs and walls
too many chicken dinners to count
rice and beans for 1915 consecutive days

i leave knowing that the people in banica come to Mass every morning at 0700 and the people in the campos have been receiving Mass monthly.

the school should reach record enrollment this year.

the tractor has plowed thousands of acres.

we have all said lots of prayers.

i would like to thank all of you who have been reading this blog over the years for your prayers and support. i know that i wouldn't be here still without them.

i'd also like to thank fr o'hara, fr murphy, annie, zack, tara, julia, veronica, joey, máire, the kirby family, michelle, and bebhinn for being down here and taking care of me over the years.

may God bless you all.

signing off for good,

okay, lots going on here and i don't have my camera (don't ask). however, maria is doing a fine job of documenting the various events.

she hasn't posted on the big fiesta yet, but i suspect she will. it went very well. as a matter of fact, i can't, in my 5 years here, remember such a fine not-so-little party. there were plenty of people and some nice little remembrances of things we've done over the last 5 years.

a couple of days left. we're blessing the new grotto in the center tomorrow morning that mrs kirby had built.

happy feast of our Lady of Mt. Carmel (a day early).

tonight is the big fiesta.

they're busing people in and even buying ice, so there you have it.

it should be fun, but only if people decide to show up; i have had many people tell me that they can't stand going away parties so they won't come. we'll see.

here's a shot of fr o'hare and i after holy hour last night.

i really don't have anything else to say about it:

the invasion is about to begin. starting tomorrow evening we will have the following americans here in banica:

three priests (frs. gee, murphy, o'hare)
two volunteers (maria and michelle)
9 christendom students in banica (24 may-19 july)
1 bebhinn (maria's sister) in banica (20 may-19 july)
10 christendom students in pedro santana (24 may-19 july)
20 students/chaperones from our lady of angels (17 june-30 june)
plus ron is coming tomorrow, a photo journalist on friday, dr. morch, and matthew shufflebarger who is going to work with dave in the center for a couple of months.

we also have two more groups coming in july, plus my departure and the addition of the kirby family replacement in september. overall it's a pretty big turnover this summer with lots of work.

it'll make for a overloaded holy hour on wednesday nights...

God is good:

i've been transferred to Christendom College. it's more than i deserve, but that's nothing new.

my official report date is aug 4th, but i'm leaving bánica on july 18th and heading straight out to the school to make sure the transition is smooth.

so, the last ever blog on this site will be july 17th and then she'll close down for good.

thanks for all who were praying for a great assignment, God heard your prayers and then told the bishop...

after 5 years and 1 month the Lord has recalled me to the diocese of Arlington.

that's correct folks, i'm heading back to the states sometime this summer. i don't know where i'm headed as yet, i should find out next week.

fr o'hare from our lady of angels will be replacing me - he arrives june 17th.

more reminiscing to follow, including the statistical breakdown of my 5 years here...

it's been a while, i apologize, but things have been busy:

the kirby's took off on vacation.

20 students from christendom college arrived and will be spending the summer here doing work projects for two weeks and catechism/art/sport camps for 5 weeks. they might learn some spanish as well.

i had my 13th anniversary as a priest.

michelle went on vacation and returned.

my motorcycle broke down and i had to do a roadside carburetor removal and repair. missed Mass for the second time in 5 years.

i administered oral final exams to the 75 or so students that maria has been teaching for the last year. only 5 or so failed. not too bad.

we had to get rid of one of the dogs because the idiot started biting people without reason or warning. he's now living with someone else tied up. very sad.

i celebrated first communion in two different places. for pictures and details please visit maria's blog.

the rains have begun in earnest and everything is green and lush.

hurricane season is officially here.

that's all the news that's fit to print.

the elections passed without too much trouble. leonel fernandez won another 4 years, so we will avoid the standard complete changeover of jobs, which means that progress on current projects in the country should not be halted.

however, the next two days will be filled with lots of noise created by loud music, motorcycles speeding through the streets with the mufflers removed, and the obligatory "drag sheets of tin roofing behind your car and motorbike". so, sleep will be fleeting until monday, since the president has ordered his people to party until monday, when they should "all return to work".

all this notwithstanding, the best news i have for you is that virtudes, our ex-secretary and laundress, who married hecfrates, our current school principal, had a baby yesterday. yep, married aug 16th and gave birth may 16th. no vital stats yet except that it's a boy. (she had to give birth in san juan, so we won't know until tomorrow or monday). that's just the way it's meant to be done.

well, it's been five years to the day since i arrived in banica.

hard to believe that it's been that long - but it's been a great 5 years, we'll see what God has in store for the future.

thanks for all the prayers, and please keep them up.


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