Then Jesus said to his disciples:
“If any want to become my followers,
let them deny themselves
and take up their cross and follow me.”
Matthew 16:24 (NRSV)
These lines from next Sunday’s gospel (August 31) came to me yesterday morning as I left Don Hipólito’s house and accompanied him in the early morning as he walked—if one could call his slow, painful gait “walking”—to the same small church that he has walked to almost every morning for the past seventy years.
he going there? Because in 1944, when he was twenty-two years old, he was
chosen to be the village “cantor” in San Marcos. Literally, “cantor” means
“singer,” but Hipólito’s responsibilities involve a lot more than singing. In
an isolated village where the parish priest might show up three or four times a
year, he is the community’s religious representative before God.
does that mean? Hipólito prays for the sick; he intercedes for a good rainy
season; he looks after the saints in the parish church; he officiates as people
are married or buried (these marriages may not be “sacramental” in the eyes of
the Catholic Church, but they are definitely considered binding and are
certainly “sacred” in the eyes of the villagers).
|Hipólito walking to the church in San Marcos yesterday morning|
|Early-morning view from the doorway to the one-room house of Hipólito and Simona|
And why the painful gait yesterday morning? Because ninety-two-year-old Hipólito had been walking home—barefoot—in the dark the week before, and he had stepped on a piece of broken glass. He had made his own poultice of plants and was hopeful that this remedy would soon work, but so far, it didn’t seem to be having much effect.
an honour to accompany Hipólito as he greeted (in Latin and in his native na
savi language) each of the saints in the church. The “greeting” lasted over an
hour and involved candles, flowers, incense, prayers, and song. Hipólito
apologized for singing out of tune, but he said that he just hasn’t been able
to recover the good voice that he had before he lost two of his front teeth.
|Hipólito's foot yesterday morning. Ouch!|
|Hipólito (accompanied by his future replacement?) greeting the saints|
|Hipólito and Simona enjoying breakfast|
|Edith helping Oscar to get ready for the day|
|My supper on Wednesday night (Simona stirred the chile sauce into the atole with her fingers)|
|Hipólito and Simona's new (wooden) house; the one on the right belongs to a neighbour|
Have a great weekend, all. God bless. Thanks for supporting Mission Mexico.