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

we ran up to sabanita de agua to finish a chapel we began a few weeks ago - brought the portable generator, table saw, and circular saw. the problem with construction here is that the wood is crude. it takes a long time to get anything straight, so we accomplished in one day what would have taken a man with an axe 2-3 weeks. the difficult stuff has been completed and we'll have one of the groups who visits pour the cement floor and finish the walls with half wood-half cement. i'm beginning the 8 week intro to Christianity class with the adults next week!!

as the day began:

as we were getting ready to leave:

thanks to the good parishoners at St. John the Evangelist in warrenton, virginia, the students at the school will actually have desks.

these things arrived from the capital, a solid 5 hour drive away from the mission. it appears as if grace is about the only thing that held them together for the trip:

Merry Christmas! all went well here - 7 total Masses in two parishes and 5 campos.

fr murphy and i decided to take a morning off and ride to this enormous range in haiti. the people told us we couldn't get up to the top on the motorcycles, and that we'd have to walk the 1,500 vertical feet, but we had to give it a try. we made it most of the way, and only endured a couple of falls on the way down. after one such fall we could here the laughter of the people 1,000 feet below us. quite encouraging really. after making it to the top fr "eagle scout" murphy made me keep walking up the ridge in hopes of seeing something other than another range. all we saw was the range, but the view was something to behold. we could see banica, pedro santana, and los cacaos (haiti). we see this range every day and it was begging to be summited, so we finally did it.

too bad it wasn't a clearer day:

phew, it's been a while. lot's of things going on here at the mission - fr murphy and i decided that both parishes need daily Mass during all seasons except for ordinary time, so we've been doubled up just about every day. in addition we have extra confessions. attendence has been solid. i think this is the first time that people have enjoyed true daily Mass. our comment is, "finally we can call ourselves a parish"

in addition to all the spiritual goods we have been plugging along with the corporal ones as well. thanks to a donation from the states we were able to increase the size of the patients house which we use for people from out of town that are here for the regular wednesday trip to san juan or people who need a place to stay on the way to see the doctor in the capital:

happy feast of the Immaculate Conception!

fr murphy and i were sitting around the charcoal starter the other night and were treated to this odd fireworks show:

so, the lady on the right, eloina, tells me that she has never been baptized. 90 years old and baptized all her kids, but was too embarassed to admit that she wasn't baptized. so, we took care of things this morning with a nice baptism, confirmation and first communion! her godmother is her 85 year old best friend...


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