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, happy Easter!!

our internet went down on Good Friday morning and we just got her back online, so please don't think we were completely neglecting all our family and friends in the states: God wanted the system down and we actually enjoyed the true missionary experience...

the Triduum passed with great gusto, including 14 baptisms and 3 confirmations here in banica during the Easter Vigil.

yesterday on the way back from manyaya i found a nice piece of wire in my rear tire. so, after analyzing the situation i though i could just do the old pump-ride-pump and get back home. however, after the second air fill it became apparent that the tube was shot. so, in the middle of nowhere i had a decision to make: stay there and wait for someone to pass by (unlikely), leave the bike, hike for a couple of hours and try to find someone with a motorcycle to take me to a place i could buy a tube (unlikely), try to ride with the back tire completely flat. i chose the third and headed out at about 5 miles an hour down hill. let me tell you, it's treacherous riding down a rocky road at a steep incline because the tire wants to leave the rim (i don't have a rim lock unfortunately). about 5 minutes into this a motorcycle shows up with the leader of manyaya on it. he tells me that a truck saw me from the ridge and let him know that the padre was flat and out. so, for the next 1.5 hours we proceeded to take of both rims at the same time, with the bike being held up by the kick-stand and two sticks, try to fix the tube (it had about 20 holes in it), and eventually we decided to take the front tube and put it on the back tire and the back tube we then put on the front tire and stuffed the tire with grass. that was just enough to let me limp back to banica at about 15-20 miles an hour. that's right, the old "grass in the tire" trick.

in weather news, the rainy season has officially begun and we recorded a rainfall of 7.76 inches per hour during the heaviest of it last night.

have a great Palm Sunday.

Dirt Poor But Beautiful

While Fr. Gee has been solving international crime, Fr. Murphy has been in the remoter reaches of the his parish of San José (the Loma) getting to know his parishioners. The week long trek involved the catechetical expertise of Sister Gracia (long time Loma treker) and our volunteer for the year Julia Peterson. Both played an essential role in giving Fr. Murphy the opportunity to get to know and teach the poorest and most isolated in the parish.

The exordinary news is that Bishop Grullón's new road now reaches the longtime intended goal of the village of Sierrecita. Which means that a trek that previously took 7 hours from Bánica (booking it on motorcycle and foot), can now be done in 4 hours (WITH OUT A 4 HOUR HIKE!). Imagine, it takes as much time for me to reach this village in my parish than it does to arrive in the capital. The greatest part of this news is that there isn't a chapel in the parish that I can't reach in a day now.

The people are in a tough stretch of meagerness this time of year. It's still a few weeks before the rain starts up again and they can begin to plant. Most get by on one meal a day till June. This doesn't dampen their hospitality and I was impressed with the number of men who sacrificed this crucial time in their field to attend our Lenten retreat. The fact is they need more from us and I can't get to them without a truck. The people are open to the Gospel, but they need so much more exposure for it to penatrate. (E.g. so few marry) We're down to one pickup truck between two parishes. I hope the diocese and the new Mission Task Force can come through for us.


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