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

as i'm walking back home from the river in a wet t-shirt, flip-flops, and my bathing suit, a girl runs up to me and says, "padre, minerva's house is burning down!" so i run over to minerva's (who is a wonderful old lady who comes to daily Mass) and see the flames shooting up from her kitchen, which stands (stood) about 8 feet behind her house. the men are trying to douse it with water and the women and girls are running around to all the neighbors getting the water that everyone had lugged up from the river. we haven't had water in the pipes for 4 days, and no rain for almost 4 months, so things are dry and this old kitchen is burning hot and fast. we furiously grabbed buckets from the girls, tossed the water, grabbed another bucket, tossed more, etc. until we had the thing out - luckily the house was spared thanks to some quick water throwing and lots of help. i think the whole town turned out to help - we've already agreed to build her a new one tomorrow - the plans are drawn up, the proper permits have been acquired, and materials will be purchased in the morning. she'll be cooking dinner tomorrow night: try that in the states...


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