Called to Serve

September 28, 2010

Young Adult Group – August 2010

Following the group of seminarians, Jonathan and myself found ourselves needing to return to the United States for a few days in order to bring some missionaries back home and to bring others to catch flights to their homes.  After a short little stay at our Big Woods Mission Base in Abbevile, Louisiana, we made our way back to General Cepeda with a small group, including some of our missionaries (Alyse, Susanna, Eric, Sarita and Josiah) and some others coming down for the trip (Catherine Rose and my brother Daniel).  Leaving bright and early in the morning, come afternoon time, we found ourselves in Laredo, Texas where we decided to stay for the night to break up the drive for little Josiah.

Staying the night, we took off early in the morning to cross the border and head down to General!!!  Arriving at the border, we prepared for our usual no problem entry… however little did we know, we would be having a few bumps that day.  After having gotten everyone’s Visa for entry into the country, it turned out that my brother was not being allowed in because Mexico would not accept his Enhanced Driver’s License for a Visa.  Hours later, having exhausted every possibility, sadly we had to return to the States and put Daniel on what would turn out to be an 80 hour bus ride home to Upstate New York, missing out on the mission trip.

After all of that, I finally make my way across the border and begin the final stretch down to General.  A short four hours later, I meet up with the girls and the rest of the group who had left the border earlier happy and awaiting our arrival!!  Settling back down into our home, we awoke the next morning ready to drive to the airport to pick up our newest short term group from Denver, Colorado!  Coming home, we shortly saw off Eric and Sarah on their way to language school in Cuernavaca and began our mission with the group!!!

– Our good friend Don Pedro sitting front and center at one of our Rancho evangelization visits!

– Pouring lodo (mud) onto the adobe blocks to build the wall of a home.

– The second time this wall fell.  After re-building it again from our last work trip (St. Norbert’s), midway through our day the wall fell down on myself and Teresa’s sister Charlotte who was on the trip.  Weighing a few thousand pounds, we just praise the Lord that we were not hurt!!!

– Desert Day in a beautiful cave with an incredibly cold pool of water to relieve me from the heat of the day!!!

– Jonathan and myself after desert day in the cave!!

– A happy part of our group after rebuilding our re-built wall!!! Praise the Lord its finally standing strong!!!

Next up:  Moving back to Louisiana.

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September 27, 2010

Mount Saint Mary’s – July 2010

Pushing into the heat of the summer and now three weeks removed from having received a short term trip, our group was pushing onwards and getting back into our daily routine of ministry.  Preparing talks and catechetics programs, visiting the sick and home-bound and traveling out to the ranchos, our day’s had returned to our normal schedule.  However once again, the Lord was quick to shake us from our normalcy by sending us yet another group.  This group however was one unlike any of the other groups we had received.  Organized by Fr. Brett Brannen, this group was made up of about 25 seminarians who had been spending the past five weeks in Querétaro, Mexico studying Spanish.  In addition to these seminarians, we also had a group of full-time missionaries coming down to help lead (Eric, Kristen and Sarah), a Spanish professor (Cynthia from Argentina), and two good friends of ours from Spain (Padre Antoñio Gama y Paz).  With such a different group, our week inevitably was also different from any other we had had.

With the desire not only to use the Spanish that they had been learning, but also wanting to focus on Evangelism, we spent our week going out to the local ejidos both in the morning and in the afternoon.  Breaking up into teams, Father Manuel decided to have us sent out each morning to the same three ejidos, meaning that these three ranchos would be having a weeklong retreat given to them.  In the evening, we continued as is normal, for us to go to a different ejido each evening in an effort to reach as many people as possible.  The blessings of the week were incredible and these people, so hungry and thirsting for the truth, were able to receive the sacraments with a frequency that had never been offered to them before.  God worked miracles this week and the ripple effect of these seminarians, alive and burning with the fire of missions, going back to their own dioceses and parishes one day, to share their experience is going to bring an awakening to the Church that I simply cannot wait to see!!!

– Our first day out at the ejidos for Mass (Pilar de Richardson).

– Our morning rancho group at Fermin!!

– Cutest little girl at Macayu who wanted to learn English and sit with us at Mass 🙂

– Giving my testimony in Spanish at Agua de la Mula.

– Happy after a blessed evening at La Parrita.

– Me, Kristen, Paz, Breanne, and Padre Gama on top of the mountain overlooking General Cepeda!

– Father Matt, Father Brett and Padre Gama concelebrating Mass in the Cathedral in Saltillo!!!

– Cowboy Gama taking a load off his feet after a long week of ministry!

– The group of us in the patio at the Mission House!!!

LORD, SPREAD THE FIRE OF MISSIONS THROUGH THESE MEN WHO ARE GIVING THEIR LIVES TO BE YOUR PRIESTS!!!

 

Next Up: Young Adult Mission Group

September 26, 2010

St. Norbert’s Youth Group – June 2010

After an incredible week with Our Lady of Sorrows, we found ourselves with a day to ”rest” and gear up for another Short Term Group, this time a Youth Group from Pennsylvania.  Having had an early goodbye to group, we quickly found ourselves using our free day preparing for a priestly ordination in General Cepeda.  Being just the second priest to ever come from General, the celebration of the Sacrament was gearing up to be an incredible event not only for the soon to be Father Ephraim, but for the entire town!!! Preparing for the mass and the reception to follow, we also readied our house for the honor of hosting Father and his family who had come in for the ordination.  All in all, the mass and ordination went incredibly and the reception to follow was a joyous occasion for all to celebrate Father and his vocation!!!

– Deacon Ephraim preparing to be ordained.

– Father receiving the fullness of the sacrament of Holy Orders through priestly ordination!!!

– Bishop Jose Raul Vera Lopez celebrating the Holy Mass.

– Padre Ephraim con Padres Manuel (derecho) y Francisco (izquierda) celebrando despues de la ordinacion!!!

After an incredible ordination, our group quickly transitioned into short term mission mode and getting ready to receive our second group of missionaries!!  As the afternoon rolled around, I found myself sitting in the Mission House, awaiting the team that had gone to pick up the missionaries from the airport when before I knew it, our quiet little house was being invaded by 20 teens and young adults who seemed wide-eyed and excited about their new surroundings!!!  Having had such an incredible week with the group from Our Lady of Sorrows, I was filled with excitement with what the Lord was going to do through this group this coming week!!!

– Everyone eating a delicious home-cooked meal upon arrival at the Mission House.

– Could you really ask for a more beautiful morning to wake up to and begin your week with?!?

– One of the two work projects we accomplished during the week, building a home for an elderly man who had been sleeping outside on an old mattress which would get rained on.

– Van got stuck after hiking the mountain… 1, 2, 3… PUSH!!!

– Padre Manual (from General) and Padre Nelson (from Columbia) celebrating Mass together in the sala (our living room).

– Cathedral in Saltillo for  pilgrimage day.

– Padre Nelson celebrating Mass at La Jalpa our last evening in General as a group.

– Walking an elderly man to Mass, he soon taught us that blindness of the eyes is nothing if you can see with your heart and soul…

– Mexican Math Equations…  Marta’s Food = Best Food in the World.  OR Marta’s Food > All other Foods.

– The whole group of us at the end of the week!!! Thank you Lord for such an incredible opportunity to serve you!!!

Next Up: Mount St. Mary’s Seminary Group

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