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

today is the feast of St. Catherine of Siena. she never said "self-deception is the greatest enemy of holiness", but she would have...

yo soy rey de pollo - i am the chicken king.

just slurped down another smoked chicken: after creating a gap between the skin and the meat with a sharp knife, i slid in about 50 capers and some rosemary. then made up a sauce consisting of olive oil, sugar, salt, and rosemary. basted just once. pulled the chicken off after 4 hours with the internal temperature at 180. used the capers to dress the white meat...

next up: honey basted with peppercorns.

after that: some kind of super hot pepper sauce.

i never thought i'd say it, but - I LOVE CHICKEN!!!!

i've 4 simple words which create a mountain of semi-angst:

all day diocesan meeting.

hey, here's an idea, why don't you others who have blogs post my blog about school fundraising on your sites? come on, do the kids a favor.

today we took the motocycles where no motorcycle had ever gone before. for those of you who are familiar with the area, that means pomito. sure, almost all the way to the house halfway between where the truck stops and pomito itself. it was treacherous, but we made it safely. saved about 10 minutes too. however, the inclines have been eroded from rain and mules, leaving sharp rocks and tight turns embedded within walls sometimes as high as 3-4 feet. the other tricky thing about it was the way that the path sometimes was 6" wide with a drop on one side. i did bang my shin on one of the razor sharp pieces of rock and now sport a 2" gash. no stitches needed though...nonetheless, it was worth it. next time we'll know how far we can reasonably go before hitting the really tough stretch...

well, after much consideration and prayer i have decided to open the flood gates and truly embrace the missionary life. it was bound to happen sooner or later:

the local school system stinks. the kids attend, on average, about 3.5 half-days a week and graduate with a seriously suspect knowledge of basics, even spelling. so, we have decided to open a school. that's correct, the only Catholic school within 45 miles (but about 1.5 hours by truck). however, we need to raise some funds in order to get things started. for the low price of $50,000 american dollars we can build a school, furnish it, and establish a healthy scholarship program to teach the faith to the youngsters here in banica, pedro santana, and sabana cruz.

we will charge the kids about 200 pesos a month to attend (the price of a 1.5 chickens or 5 beers), but that will stretch some family's budgets, therefore the scholarship program - this way the school will be self-sufficient, at least in economic theory...the plan is to begin with grades 1-4 and add a grade every year. we have everything in place: books, director, teachers, chalkboards, and we just need the rest of the money.

due to God's good grace, we have already raised $33,000, but seem to be stuck on that number. therefore, i make this plea to the blog readers: we need $17,000 and we need it pretty quickly if we want to begin in september. i personally guarantee that 100% of all donations will go to the construction of the school. as usual, everything is tax-deductible. so start banging on doors and hitting the phones...

any and all checks should be made payable to the diocese of arlington and sent to:

fr daniel maher
200 north glebe road
suite 914
arlington, va 22203

make sure and add a cover letter stating that the money is for the school in banica.

that's it for now. we trust God will provide from here on out...

what's transpiring in the meterological world????

current conditions:

banica, dom rep - 80.3 degrees

quantico, va, usa - 83 degrees

i can't believe it. i wore a jacket all morning.

this is what smoking chickens is all about - sitting down with a load of fried plantains and chowing!! we devoured these two birds in about 5 minutes...

the Triduum passed with grandeur and splendor and peace and joy. The church filled daily, the choir learned to sing the o salutaris and tantum ergo (with enthusiasm, i might add) and the Easter Vigil was just splendid. i couldn't be happier with the participation of the people nor the reflective silence that endured throughout all the ceremonies, until the singing of the Gloria, when the bells shattered the silence. just great.

well, i officially declare it to be hot. i have stowed mrs. aker's ponchos for the summer. pray for rain - the last thing we need here is a drought.

other than that, things continue to sail along nicely: we are finishing up the three chapels that were begun by the college students and anxiously waiting for the elections in may, which will throw the country into economic turmoil...

11:47 pm: comfortably asleep, after a full church for the Mass of the Lord's Supper, i awaken to a riot. i don't know what else you would call 100 drunk people screaming and clapping and yelling in front of the police station, which is in front of the church, which is next to the rectory. a young man had been "put in jail" for supposedly breaking into a local barber shop and stealing an amplifier and a couple of huge speakers (which belonged to the parish and were on loan and now reside somewhere in haiti, but that's neither here nor there). my guess is that one of the local einsteins who felt ultra-brave had rallied the rest of the bar and felt they could free the kid if they hollared loudly enough. nevertheless, the crack police staff, which at this point was greatly out-numbered, was relieved when the mayor showed up and started yelling at the people to disperse and leave us in all in peace. so there i was, standing inside the gate of the rectory with our night-watchman, patricio, both of us invisible in the shadows, when someone, another alcohol induced hero, shoots a gun and scares the dickens out of all of us. fortunately, that sobered them up enough and they decided to depart. i suspect they were just thirsty and had run out of liquid courage, but i guess i'll find out in the morning. i can hear them faintly in the backround, having roused the local population of roosters. happy Good Friday, looks like it'll be a doosy...

12:15 am: going back to bed.

here i sit, listening to the rain pour down around me, and wonder if anyone will brave the tempest and come to celebrate the Mass of the Lord's Supper. i'm betting they do.

happy feast day to all priests.

i bought two turkeys too - might take a pic tomorrow, cause i plan on smoking one on sunday and the other we'll let live a little while longer, fatten him up, and then eat him too...

i'm off to the outdoor Chrism Mass...

yesterday i walked through the office and saw this pretty dominican woman, about 30 years old, talking to the secretary. i said hello and continued on my way. about 2 hours later i strolled back through and she was sitting in a chair looking grim, hands folded across her lap with a manilla folder underneath. i asked her what the problem was and she told me that she needed a baptismal certificate so she could get married. the rest of the conversation went like this:

"so, are you getting married in the church?" i ask.
"no," she replies with a laugh, "it's a contract marriage."
"really, what's the deal?" i say, laughing in return.
"well, for 10,000 american dollars we marry and i never so much as kiss him. he's a big fat guy."
"really, who's paying whom?" i inquire.
"i'm paying him so i can get a visa and usa residency."

at this point everyone in the office is just looking at us. this 33 year old dominican lady has somehow come up with $10,000 american and is going to marry this fellow.

"you're paying him?!?" i ask with a grin.
"ten thousand dollars?" i add as my grin grows.
"heck, i'm american, i'll marry you for 8,000 right now..."

poor thing, we never did find a baptismal record...


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