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

well, mom and dad have successfully arrived, enjoyed, and departed the mission. we kept them pretty busy, especially mom, who couldn't help but whip up some fine meals. it's amazing what one can do with the local produce with a little imagination. here is a pic of dad with our night watchman and the thanksgiving turkey, smoked for 6 hours on the weber bullet:

the entire mission has erupted with the news that my parents will be coming down for a visit. now, normally i would clean up my room and get a haircut, but, all things being considered, a quick clean and chop won't do. this is the first time a priest's parents have visited the mission, at least according to local knowledge, and it is only fitting that we spit-shine the place for them.

therefore, today we hoist up our trousers and begin the grand cleaning - my parent's trip down has become the perfect excuse/motivation to tend to those small, albeit hassling, odd jobs around the house. so, it's up on the ladder to clean the ceilling fan. get on the roof of the shed and clear off the debris. things like that.

nonetheless, we have a big week planned for mom and dad. pray they have a safe flight and trip down, i'll keep you all posted on the doings, including the preparation of the big turkey!!

today i left for pomito, a good 45 minute ride followed by a one hour uphill hike. we had three mules ready for the trip, as the doctors were going to attend, but they decided to stay back in the campo where we drop off the vehicles. so, i hopped on a mule and rode off. well, about 10 minutes into the trip the beast decided it wasn't going any further. i pleaded, cajouled, and whacked it with a stick, all to to avail. so, i dismounted and grabbed the reigns to lead it for a while, thinking that it would get used to the idea. (the problem with our mules is that they rarely get ridden, thus becoming more obstinate every day). as i was pulling on the leads, a rope snapped, and i almost went for a tumble down the hill. as soon as she realized that she was free, she turned around and bolted for home like secretariat in the preakness. the saddle bags and blanket both fell off, which i was obliged to pick up and carry, along with my back pack, to the nearest house.

i became the mule.

i trudged up the mountain as fast as i could, finally made it, said Mass, and then descended to find the mule eating grass near the chapel where the doctors were...

last night as fr murphy and i were sitting down chatting outside in the yard, we heard this deep growl about three feet behind us. as we turned around we saw that bernabe (the dog) had cornered a large, and apparently angry, tarantula right outside the door to my office. oddly, he wasn't playing with it, touching it, licking it or eating it, which are all normal responses to anything living, he just planted himself out of harm's way and grumbled. we jumped up and assessed the situation. bernabe wouldn't stop growling at it, and the spider became more agitated. he climbed the chicken-wire and crossed to the other side of the gate. we quickly opened the door and "eradicated" the intruder. all was well and good.

then, at 0545 this morning, as i was trying to enter my office, the door gets jammed about 12" from the door-jam. i looked down and saw this ball prohibiting any further movement of the door. i looked again and realized it was a baby (about 18") boa-constrictor. i have no idea what a boa was doing under my door, but there you have it. i gently coaxed him to the garden, where i hope he will eat any mice that might be passing through…


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