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

final days of the patronales report:

check out the make-shift city that the pilgrims erected at the foot of the mountain. as the day wore on the tents grew and grew. we arrived up to the cave and celebrated Mass from this elevated altar. i have no words (at least charitable ones) to explain the absolute ridiculousness of the event. as you can see from the picture, it appeared to be chaos incarnate, with men hawking rosaries and medals, people drinking heavily at 0700, people carrying stones to the little crosses and placing them as "promises" and just a general disregard for what was about to take place. luckily, we temporarily installed a gloriously voluminous sound system which enabled the bishop to out-shout the din of 500 people...afterwards, we descended and headed for the church, which was beautifully decorated and celebrated a more "normal" Mass. afterwards, we processed around the town with the statue of st. francis until we at last placed him back in his side-altar, which conclluded a long 7 hours...all around a unique experience.


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