The Bible is about human flourishing…I suggest that while “human flourishing” is certainly not the only metaphor to describe the message of the Bible, it is a way of describing God’s work that needs to be restored to a place of stature and that provides insights into the whole message of the Bible.
- Jonathan T. Pennington, The Sermon on the Mount and Human Flourishing: A Theological Commentary (2017)
|Peter McWhir visited from Calgary and quickly became a member of the family here in Pozolapa|
I can’t get this thought out of my head. The Bible is about human flourishing. Mission Mexico is about human flourishing. The Bible vision is in process. The Mission Mexico vision is in process. The Bible speaks to who we are as people and who we can and should become. Mission Mexico tries to offer people in the mountains of Mexico an opportunity to become whom they wish to become and people in the Diocese of Calgary an opportunity to become whom they wish to become.
|These students, seen here with Brother Cepillo (Salvador), are learning to play guitar |
at the Champagnat High School of the Mountain
Here in the mountains of Mexico, the task of human flourishing is a most challenging one. The realities of village life (little paid work, low salaries if there is work, low prices for local crops, difficult access to educational opportunities, little access to health care, high costs of transportation, discrimination against the indigenous peoples, etc.) make the simple task of survival a difficult one for many. But the Bible’s message is one of hope, and Mission Mexico does what it can to nourish that hope.
|This youth group from the Cathedral in Tlapa works for human flourishing for all|
Mission Mexico supports a number of “projects” year round, such as the Champagnat High School of the Mountain, or the Tlachinollan Human Rights Center of the Mountain, or the La Estacion Day Care Center, or the Xalpitzahuac Health Project, or the dozens of scholarships assisting students in different universities. Thousands of people benefit regularly from this solidarity. But every week seems to offer different opportunities to serve the people in this quest for human flourishing.
|Father Ruben Torres is a priest and anthropologist and works tirelessly for human flourishing|
For example, the hope is that in this month of May (and if not, surely in June) the rainy season will begin. The soil here in the mountains is not very rich, and for years the government has offered fertilizers to the impoverished peasant farmers. But there has always been a lot of corruption and mismanagement with this program. A new federal government that took power in Mexico in December of 2018 is trying to assure that the fertilizer reaches the needy farmers, but many of the farmers are not aware of the changes in the “rules of the game,” and they often lack the documentation necessary to prove just how much fertilizer they need or proof that they really do have a piece of land that they wish to plant. So I have been driving all over the mountains recently trying to “help out” in as many cases as I can.
|With the rainy season starting soon, there will be days that I won't be able to get to where i want to go|
It’s the same thing with education at this time of year. Most schools and universities begin offering registration and/or “entrance exams” in May or June for the new school year that will begin in August. Graduating high school students are especially challenged because the university or teachers college or technical school where they hope to study is often located in a city to which the student has never traveled. So I have tried to be as “helpful” as I can in many of these cases. If anything, it will be education, I daresay, that most nourishes the hope of “human flourishing” in the impoverished indigenous villages.
|Marist Brother Wicho (Jose Luis) is the director of the Champagnat High School|
of the Mountain, where the message of "human flourishing for all" is exemplified
And there are the “usual” daily crises that impact the lives of so many families: unexpected illnesses; unexpected deaths; unexpected emergencies. For example, in recent weeks I have taken a thirteen-year-old girl three times to a psychologist for therapy after a violent sexual assault by several men. The girl was so traumatized that she couldn’t even speak for a week after the incident; she just sat on the dirt floor of her house crying. The sessions with a gentle female psychologist who speaks her language is helping the girl immensely.
|Preparing corn (pozole) for visitors to a village festival; the local religious leader,|
Tomás, is blessing the corn
And sometimes there are “occurrences” that work out favorably for this “human flourishing.” A few weeks ago, a hardware store went out of business, and Mission Mexico was able to buy at cost price a large supply of materials for “Alex’s Welding Shop” at the Champagnat High School of the Mountain. “Alex´s Welding Shop” offers training to students in welding, plumbing, and electricity, and is named after Alex Graf, a young man from Medicine Hat who died in a traffic accident in 2014; his family and friends sent a donation to begin this project, and they continue to support each year.
|Marist Brother Checo (Sergio) is in charge of Alex's Welding Shop|
All of these attempts to assist the poor in their situations of need are possible because of the generosity of people in the Diocese of Calgary who support Mission Mexico. I mentioned in the first paragraph that I see Mission Mexico as an opportunity for people in the Diocese of Calgary to become whom they wish to become. I am thinking of the desire of people to be good human beings, to share with those in need, to witness to the message of Jesus that we are all sisters and brothers. For parents, I would hope that it is an opportunity to educate their children that we can journey together in this struggle for human flourishing. I thank all of you for your solidarity with this cause. God bless.
|The chapel at the local Diocesan Seminary of Tlapa has three flags flying in front: Mexico, the Vatican, |
and Canada. Why Canada? Because of the incredible solidarity for the Mountain from people
in the Diocese of Calgary, Alberta, Canada