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

I don’t think that I’ve explained clearly enough the dimensions of my parish—it’s big! This week we (Sister Gracia and I) planned a Lenten retreat with the intention of visiting our 6 districts in the Loma. It has also been a March without memorable precedent. This is the season that things are normally hot, dry, and dreary with fields and mountainsides burning. As weather is known to do, it changed. There are men in their forties who don’t remember a March this wet since they were young boys. Well, to attend to our retreat in Rincón, our Land Rover used all its British bells and whistles to scale the muddy and ruts passing for a “road”. We were hoping to meet up with two of the parochial mules for the trek to La Peña (a 1000 foot vertical ascent in just a few miles). The mules weren’t coming because the river Joca was swollen with the recent rain, so we made the decision to take the hour hike with just what we needed for the retreat and return that afternoon. We would head into Layamaya the back way after getting some sleep in our own beds. For us to get to this little village we would backtrack 4 hours (1 hiking & 3 driving), drive an hour the next morning and with our packs on the mules we would arrive 3 and half hours later. A total of nearly 8 hours of travel time for a detour that placed us in a village where four people attended Mass (one even communicated) and the rest were our taking advantage of the rain (i.e. planting early). Well, at least the very green scenery is nice to behold.


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