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

i have baptized 58 people so far this week. today i baptized all the people below - that's correct, everyone in the picture below, adults, teens, kids, toddlers, and babies (except for the angry looking woman in the red shirt, she jumped into the picture because she thought the kid she was holding was left out...). i don't know how these saints baptized so many people and got the paperwork done, it's a real big hassle when no one can write...

i just finished stations of the cross - my favorite devotion for sure - and i feel the penance of being in the dominican republic on the haitian border, for my 8 year tradition of going out for a mcfish and fries after spanish stations has ended...

oh, i forgot to tell you all, the doctors have struck, which is to say, they are not working, which is to say, they really just made a formal declaration of what was already taking place and have an official excuse...

happy Ash Wednesday: the morning dawned with patricio, our night watchman, crying out at about 0540 that he was having a heart attack. so, we put him in a truck and fr jack dropped him at the hospital on his way to Mass in pedro santana.

by the way, the ashes here are white, not black. must be a contrast thing.

may your lenten season be filled with grace.

the commander of the local army post and another major who was sent from the capital fully armed and prepared to handle the situation in haiti stopped by for a little visit today: yesterday the mayor and his entire staff from across the river threw up the white flag and ran for the border along with the local haitian police - they all gave up their weapons and have been transferred to the capital for safety reasons. it appears as if the little revolt will escalate in the next few days and weeks, but for now things are rather tranquil here in the frontier, with the exception of all the haitian police that continue to seek asylum.

i also spoke with the pastor from across the river when i heard a bunch of squalking on our radio last night. he tells me things in his town remain calm but somewhat guarded. so, keep praying...we'll keep you posted.

up at 4:30 am, Mass at 5:30 am, 2 hour ride to take the youth group for a spiritual talk and beach trip. arrive barahona 11:00 am, depart 1:00, leaving the kids in the hands of the driver of the bus so i can make it back home for Mass and 18 baptisms. that's all i can muster at the moment. good night.

it's 0530 and i'm getting ready to head up to the center to say Mass for the americans who are helping build the pole barn and it's raining. that's correct, your eyes do not deceive you, it is raining, as in water falling from moisture laden clouds. i've been here almost 10 months and it's never rained before 2 pm. perhaps this is God's way of keeping me from spending 5 hours pounding zinc sheets into the roof...

for those of you concerned:

the haitian rebels, led by the seemingly ruthless chamblain, have taken the city of hinche, which is about 15 miles as the crow flies from our peaceful little town. for the first time in history, people here are actually thankful that the haitian roads are as bad as can be imagined, making the 15 mile trip into a 4 hour adventure by 4-wheel drive. having said that, the rebels aren't leaving any time soon. they have cleverly begun taking cities and towns from the north-western to north-eastern end of the island and are slowly cinching the noose around port-a-prince. they have also taken to parading throught the streets, rallying the locals to their cause. and the fact of the matter is that it's not too tough to rally someone against a president who has provided little to no support over the last 9 years...all of that notwithstanding, it's more of an inconvenience than a danger to us, and currently prohibits us from taking any trips to hinche...

man, i had forgotten how much two hands full of blood blisters hurts. the simple fact of the matter is this: when one isn't accustomed to working with thick wooden handles, 1,000 plus consective thrusts with a post-hole digger into ground that hasn't felt rain in over two months tears apart the hands. crud. and i don't want to hear any lip from you soft washintonians who would have paid someone to have brought in an auger for the job - but i would appreciate the auger...

yesterday began well enough - up bright and early for a holy hour and Mass followed by a little breakfast. next thing i know someone comes in and tells me that some local thugs had broken into the center and stolen a bunch of clothes. ah, the ignorance of theives - we have $1,000 dollars in wood outside and they break in to steal used women's, after cajoling the police to investigate the matter, the day returned to the usual pleasantness.

however, as i sat in my office praying evening prayer, a man who was working up in guayabal in one of the chapels tapped on the door. "come in," i say and the door opens.
"how are things in guayabal?" i ask.
"well, we had a little problem." he replies.
"what kind of problem?" i say with an interior shudder.
"a little accident."
"is everyone okay?"
"where was it?"
"descending towards the bridge in hato viejo"
"what happened?"
"we were coming down the hill and the brakes failed and we hit a tree and flipped over."
"let's go."

without a doubt you have to cry "miracle" when a truck hits a tree, flips over, and the four men inside not wearing any seatbelts all walk away unscathed...

as i stopped to survey a potential chapel site in rincon grande arriba, a boy walked down the road and sat under the tree where i had parked the motorcycle. he was holding a 12 inch section of sugar cane in his hand. still sitting on the bike, i asked him how he was doing. he opened his mouth, inserted the 1" thick sugar cane, chomped down, chewed for a moment, said, "aren't you the bishop?", and continued chewing. i looked at him for a moment and said, "no". he chewed some more and said, "what are you?" i said, "a priest". he continued to chew. i sat up, started the motorcycle, and left.

i woke up with no gas (the kind that you put in vehicles), no electricity, and no water.

i'm happy to report that we acquired all three during the course of the day...

okay people, i'm back to blogging, the two-week sabbatical is over and i find myself highly motivated to blog out - heck, maybe i'll assign myself the penance of blogging every day during Lent...

i finally feel compelled to ask the question: why the disparate amount of handicapped and crippled people?? i mean, you can walk in the states for a week and not see anyone, but here they abound. perhaps america hides them? perhaps america cures them? who knows, but it struck me as odd the other day and i was just wondering aloud (well, textually anyway) about it.


Powered by Blogger

© 2006 The Missions: San Francisco and San José |