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

so anyway, hugo chavez currently reigns in venezuela, whence the dominican republic gets the majority of its oil and therefore gas, deisel, and propane. however, chavez has convinced himself that the outgoing president of the dom rep, hipolito, had some hand in a recent coup attempt, and decided to put the clamps on all oil coming into the country until the new president takes office on aug 16th. so, in a mad dash to stockpile deisel and gasoline, everyone, including us, has flooded the pumps and things look grim. all the talk tends to the fact that when it has been depleted, which it already has within a 3 hour radius, it will be out until aug 16th...can't someone take care of hugo???

cement trucks with hoses and pumps do not prowl the backroads of third world borders, hence this contraption fulfills the role nicely:

this is ridiculous: i am sitting here watching my voltmeter sprinf from 121 to 159 volts every second. we have no electricity for 15 hours and then it arrives like this. insane. why don't they just send us 110? woops, there it went. now we have none. great, 15 hours of nothing, then 30 minutes of motor burning, light exploding, fan crushing 159. nice. rant over.

school update: just interviewed the last batch of teachers - looks like we'll have them locked in by the end of the week. the building conitnues to rise; by the end of this week we should have the roof poured!!! thanks again to all who have helped. i think we're about 2,000 short, but God will find it.

here's the puppy, bernabé. he came to us all bruised and battered on the feast of St. Barnabas, so there you have it. we've de-wormed him and he is currently growing. he tried to follow me into church this morning, and i finally had to have someone hold him in the yard. no dogs in church!

the other day a couple of young ladies showed up looking for a place to stay - americans both. i asked them who they were and one said, "i'm a ph.d candidate studying the rose of san francisco for my dissertation at yale." (for those who haven't heard, the mount of san francisco, which houses the cave of san francisco, also happens to be the only spot on the planet where this particular species of flowering cactus exists).

so, we gladly granted them a place to stay up in the center so they could study the local celebrity plant. after 5 days of dawn to dusk observation, she was a little miffed at this plant's unwillingness to open its stomata. as she vented her frustration (albeit only slightly. i must say that they were two of the most pleasant people i have ever met) i turned to her and said, "want me to say a prayer to st francis so it'll open?" "sure," she responded.

the next day i visited them, and, of course, the stomata had opened all day long...i asked her to add a footnote in her paper, for rarely, if ever, does a case of effective intercessory prayer make it into a biology dissertation...

the old laying hands on the new...

the ordination was very nice, well, except for the lack of an altar. never fear, one was found and brought up which enable both the old and the new to celebrate that which is most worthy of celebrating.

i will head to san juan, the seat of the diocese of san juan, for an ordination to the priesthood, which will occur under a tree in a school because the cathedral enlargement project has stalled. but we will celebrate with great joy, nonetheless, the ordination of yet another native priestly vocation. with more in the pipeline, vocations in the diocese look good. so make sure and say a prayer for the new fr rodrigo if you feel so inclined.

internet has been down for a couple of days, looks like the transmitter is just about fried, working on a solution...

yeaterday this 75 year-old american nun arrived with truck loaded up with homemade sun ovens. she then proceeded to solicitate our aid in inventing one that can generate up to 300-350 degree heat. the trick being that we need to build one from local materials that she can then train groups of people to make and sell and a low price. let the testing begin. zack (a volunteer from manassas) and i begin the trials today. should be a fun project which will eliminate the need to use wood and gobs and gobs of oil all the time. showed her the smoker, which she really liked cause it's a slow burn with charcoal, but impossible to make without a factory...


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