Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Mission Mexico...Nourishing Hope

It was great to visit Canada for a couple of weeks in June, but it was also great to get back here to the mountains of Mexico. For some reason, I don’t experience as much “culture shock” going from Mexico to Canada as I do coming back to Mexico after a visit to Canada.
Calgary looked bigger after being away for a long time
It was “different” spending time in Calgary and area after not really having spent time there for more than ten years. My gratitude goes out for hospitality and lodging to Fathers Wilbert and William at St. Bonaventure Parish in Calgary, Father Fred Monk in Bow Island, Cal and Barbara O’Brien in Lethbridge, and Len and Margot Lang and family in Calgary. The welcome at St. Gerard’s Parish in Calgary was more than one could have hoped for. I had an incredible barbecue in Cochrane at the home of Joann Churchill. And the time spent with Colleen Flanagan and Rob Morgan and family was precious.
Thank you, Cal (and Barb), for the wonderful hospitality. Lethbridge is blessed to have you.
I loved visiting the Escuela St. John Paul II Elementary School in Calgary, St. Michael’s School in Bow Island, and Catholic Central High School in Lethbridge. It was a thrill to speak to students and teachers in these places. And it was an honor to meet and share the Eucharist together with the people in Bow Island and Foremost. What beautiful people everywhere!
Parishioners in Foremost with a banner sent to Father Fred and Mission Mexico from the villagers in Cuapala
I admit that it was sometimes difficult to share with people “up there” about what life is really like here among the impoverished indigenous peoples. I didn’t have a “prepared speech” or anything. On the one hand, the hopes and dreams of the people are the same as those up north: education, health, security, a better future. On the other hand, the struggle to achieve these “dreams” is so often a more difficult one here.
Mike and Reina in front of her house in Las Juntas
I probably “bragged” a little about the great work being done by Mission Mexico—but is it bragging if it’s true? I think I said somewhere up there that one of my ways of looking at the reality here is to contrast “poverty” and “misery.” I often think that almost everyone here is poor, but their situation can be considered “misery” if these poor people are confronting alone the challenges in their lives. Confronting challenges together nourishes hope…and hope destroys misery. Are the people still poor? Yes, in many ways…But working together for something new, something different, brings any dream closer to reality.
Baltazar is watering his dreams and hopes for the future...
And Mission Mexico is nourishing that hope in so many different ways. The lives of individuals, families, and communities are being changed. Mission Mexico is “partner” and “friend” with so many people struggling for change. And none of that would be possible were it not for the support of the people that I met in southern Alberta this past month. Thank you to one and all for sharing with these sisters and brothers in the mountains of Mexico. 
Thanks, Father Fred, for making possible my wonderful trip

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