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

This is how our local bishop, Msgr. Grullón, spent his 65th birthday. How are you spending your golden years? We visited 6 districts of the parish in 5 days, one day and night was spent returning. We had 37 Confirmations, and participated in hours of meetings about the progress of each of our 25 locales. The best news to report from the Loma is that the bishop is finally caving in to good economic sense. The road he has labored to install so that the foto of him on mule back wouldn’t be so common a sight is one that is supported entirely on generous donations. Well, the road nearly made it to the goal last year, but, unfortunately, all that progress was of little use to us this trip because of the great washouts from the rainy season. Fortunately, this has inspired a change of planes on the bishop’s part. His Excellency is now laying out a plan that will benefit the people in multiple ways. He wants to install a toll. Not that the average traffic on foot, mule, motorcycle or even pickup truck will pay anything, but he wants to charge the big trucks that make their way to the various markets and pick up produce on the side of the road. He has a different rate depending on what these truckers are hauling and he is including the local national guard post to assist the toll team in their collections. The folks will benefit from being able to maintain a road that not only makes life easier, but also supports and encourages an economy. Best of all, they will be able to do this themselves without constant handholding from the diocese or some other big institution.

Interesting anecdote from my mountain folks: When we arrived at our furthest destination, Sierrecita (Where the road ends). I noticed that the house that is nearest the chapel with the family that usually does our cooking was vacant. This is a sizable house by local standards, all wood with a raised non-dirt floor. When I inquired of the whereabouts of the residents with our coordinator of the community, he informed me that they are bunking down with him because…the house is haunted. Well, I didn’t let this pastoral moment slip by. I told them right away the reason for this haunting—they refused marriage in the Church when offered. I don’t remember this from classes in Rome regarding the sacrament of Marriage, but surely if a family doesn’t invite Christ to be the foundation of their family they are only opening themselves up to trouble. My demonology aside, I don’t think I know many people States-side who would open their 2 bedroom home to neighbors with 5 children because the family was claiming something spooky was going on in their own house.


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