This caring for others out of love is not about being servile. Rather, it means putting the question of our brothers and sisters at the center. Service always looks to their faces, touches their flesh, senses their closeness and even, in some cases, “suffers” that closeness and tries to help them. Service is never ideological, for we do not serve ideas, we serve people. - Pope Francis, Homily on Sept 20, 2015
|Between the branches one can see the road that I hope to be on in about an hour's time|
I just returned from Tlapa’s new cemetery on the hillside outside the city. My good friend Jesús died yesterday and was buried today. Jesús owned a restaurant, and years ago, when Tlapa had a rustic movie theatre, I used to take the children from the orphanage to a movie (I remember “The Lion King” and “Titanic”—and always with popcorn), and then we would go to Jesus’ restaurant for chicken enchiladas.
|The local band was present in the cemetery to wish Jesus farewell|
Of course, that movie theatre no longer exists. The owner, Don Enrique, was kidnapped. And even though the family paid a ransom, Enrique was not returned. Months later, a police officer confessed that he was involved in killing Enrique, and he took the family to where Enrique was buried. The leader of the kidnapping gang turned out to be the mayor of Tlapa. The mayor was arrested, and he later died in prison. Such is “life” here in the mountains of Guerrero.
|Last February Doña Modesta thought she might die. Today, thanks to Mission Mexico,|
she can take her two goats (can you see them in the background?) out to pasture.
Many days here involve activities like that of accompanying Jesus’ family during this difficult time. Mission Mexico supports several projects here in the mountains, and I keep in touch with those, but every day involves “other” activities that seem to keep me busy. This is definitely not a complaint; it is an honour to serve—and be served by—the noble indigenous people here in the mountains of Guerrero.
|Fifteen-year-old Priscila (in blue) is pregnant and has been fainting a lot, so her husband|
asked Mission Mexico for assistance to take her to a hospital for the first time in their lives.
Most families in the mountains do not have a vehicle, so I get a good number of requests for transportation with the Mission Mexico truck. Most of these requests involve people who are ill, so it is difficult to say “No.” I try to avoid travelling alone at night, but sometimes circumstances require it. So far, so good.
|I see a fair number of sunups when I'm on the road; they are always awe-inspiring.|
And sometimes I am very accompanied. Last weekend the “PeregrinosTonantzin Guadalupe” youth group from the cathedral had a camping trip in the village of Tlalixtaquilla, so I helped to deliver them there on Friday and get them back home on Sunday.
|The youth group at the end of their weekend experience in Tlalixtaquilla|
I went the other day to the Intercultural University in La Ciénega to be present as Veronica defended her thesis in order to get her Engineering degree; she was successful. She is now the first and only member of her family to have a university degree. It wouldn’t have happened if Mission Mexico hadn’t supported her with a scholarship during her four years of study.
|Veronica (with the flowers, in the middle) is now an engineer|
I am expecting a phone call any moment/day now from Luz and Miguel, a young couple from Olinala who are hoping to be the proud parents of a baby boy this week. They have already named him: Stephen. Four years ago I was at the hospital with them day and night for about a week, but on that occasion their first child, a boy they named Jesus, was born with anencephaly and lived only a few minutes.
|Luz and Miguel are praying that they will have a healthy son to bring home|
So the days go by, and I tend to topple into bed quite tired most nights. But always gratefully. And I am very aware, as are the people here, that none of these efforts to offer more hope for life and dignity and justice would be possible without the support of the people in the Diocese of Calgary who support Mission Mexico. Thank you, everyone, for caring for these sisters and brothers in the mountains of Mexico. God bless.
|Braulio (seen here with his niece Mairene) has received medical care thanks to Mission Mexico|
|This "caring for others out of love" is nothing new for Mission Mexico. Here is a photo|
from 2008 of Father Fred Monk (Mission Mexico's founder) with Pedro, a young boy from
Xalpitzahuac who had two operations to give him the gift of sight.