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 church bell began ringing at 0430 to alert the community that the procession of the statue of st francis was going to begin - albeit 1.5 hours later. so up we were, singing songs and getting ready to move this huge statue in a 90 minute procession through the streets of banica. when we arrived at the small grotto to our lady of mercy, the drums were out in full force and the women began dancing. we then reloaded the statue onto the back of the truck and proceeded to the spot where Mass was to be celebrated. when we arrived i realized that there was a small carport type shelter which held about 50 people. so, we drove the truck to one end of it, put the altar in the bed of the pickup and i celebrated Mass from there. there were people everywhere, but i made a huge announcement at the beginning for "absolute silence" and it wasn't too noisy. because of my elevation, i was the only one standing in the sun, and some nice fellow crawled up to the roof of the truck and held an umbrella over my head...since we'd been going strong since 530 or so and it was now 8 something, i decided to give short homily: after the gospel, i waited for complete silence and said "nosotros no debemos mover el santo, el santo debe mover nosotros" - i.e. "we shouldn't move the saint, the saint should move us."


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