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

well, well, well, let me tell you about my day:

i got on the road about 730am and drove down this rocky, pitted dirt road for an hour. we only had to turn on the 4 wheel drive twice getting up steep inclines after traversing the creeks. no real excitement there. however, my guide and i then headed off on foot, beginning at 1500 feet and kept going up and up and up. we landed at 2965 and i didn't check the gps after that. i was too tired. we were walking straight into the sun, no breeze, and straight uphill for two hours. i was soaking wet. we stopped at the first place and they said that since yesterday was a holiday that no one passed the word around that Mass was scheduled. so, we hoofed it up some more to la cana, the end of the world, and found a small schoolhouse with 10 kids in it. i was soaking wet. the teacher lives here and stays there for the week. he is a young guy, maybe 25, and is very impressive. he was telling me that the greatest challenge for him is that he has about one kid per grade and the parents don't read and write and the kids never do their homework, so it's hard to get them learning. there is nothing up there, just trees, goats, pigs, chickens, and mangos. so, since no one had been informed of the Mass, we immediately headed back across the ridge and down another 1000 vertical feet where we found the small chapel at los pomitos. i was soaking wet. in the house next door they were weeping and wailing and gnashing their teeth because someone had died, so we hiked down to the school house, got the kids, hiked back up to the chapel. and said a Mass for the dead lady. it's remarkable what happens in a community where people don't read and write. the teacher struggled immensely to get through the readings. only one person received Communion. i don't know the solution to the problem. you can't give them books, and they don't remember things well either. i think the only way to teach them the faith is if someone were to move there. i talked to fr posey about it and he is still stymied.

i calculate that we traveled about 5000 vertical feet up and down in about 4 or so hours, but i need to get the gps out and work the numbers...i have taken a shower now and am dry...

in other news, i can't figure out if i am a lib or a throwback, since i say the second Eucharistic prayer with vans on my feet while wearing a fiddleback...

it's almost time for a haircut...


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