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

merry Christmas!

the season is progressing well. the town hasn't been too loud and the weather pleasant, if a little warm for Christmas (it's 85.3 currently). we just need to get through jan 6th and then things will return to normal, although the bishop is arriving on the 7th, so there you have that...

i baptized over 100 people in advent. hopefully we'll continue cranking out the sacraments, as la maria has done an excellent job preparing people in the campos. as far as i can tell the bishop will do over 100 confirmations during his visit.

here i am with the latest group from los yareyes:

one thing i love about life here in the frontier is the way people just help:

today while driving to Mass i got whacked in the neck by a stinging insect. i reached down into my collar and tossed the thing out, but i knew from the pain that it had imbedded something sharp and poisonous. so, i stopped at a house, saw a young lady who i know mopping the floor, yelled over to her, she came out and i asked her to check me for any damage. she yelped and said, "oh yeah, you've got something in there." so, i asked her to remove it and she spent a couple minutes digging her fingernails into my neck until at last she removed the 1/4" stinger.

i did 69 baptisms yesterday.

today, 2 Masses, one baptism, one confirmation, confessions, and a marriage, so i may run out and find an old lady to anoint to achieve the rare "6 different sacraments in one day" feat. but i doubt it, since it's my 40th birthday and i'm old now...

edit: also, we've acquired some bacon, so it looks like bacon cheeseburgers on the grill with sauteed onions and home made french fries for dinner, topped off with a little chocolate moose (sic) for dessert.

sub-tropical storm olga has passed us by without any damage here in the southern part of the country. unfortunately, the north side took a bit of a hit, with 8 deaths. otherwise, just the normal flooding, but nothing like with noel - had olga run the southern course things would be different, so we're all thankful that she went north.

happy feast of our Lady of Guadalupe.

the pig is being butchered as we speak - fresh tortillas, fresh pork (in the form of carnitas), fresh salsa, fresh home made refried beans and hopefully fresh guacamole (avacado season is ending unfortunately), will grace our table tonight.

it's been a while, as my mother reminded me today, but things have been busy:

advent has begun.

the wall has been knocked down - that's correct folks, the new high school is now open and the 43 year rent-free occupation of the parish buildings has ended. so, we took down part of the wall that separates the back yard from the buildings. we have all sorts of plans for the buildings, including a parish hall, offices, garage, storage buildings, and perhaps a carpentry shop/school. only time will tell how much we get done in the next couple of years, as the roofs and doors are all in bad shape. otherwise, a little spit and polish should get the buildings into presentable shape.

finally, saving the best for last, i have spent the last two sundays preaching on the angelus. on the first sunday of advent we revived the old tradition of saying the angelus three times a day and we now ring the bell (in addition to the morning Mass rings) at noon and 6 pm and the goal is to have everyone in town stop what they are doing and pray the angelus. so far the people have responded very positively and seem excited to say it whenever the bell rings. i have to say, it is something to see people halt their activities and say the angelus together. we are hoping it will have a lasting effect on the town. so far, so good.

that's it for now. we are prepping for a trip from la maria's father and brother and obviously have lots to do to properly prepare for the Christmas season.


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