Mission Awareness Trip
March 1-8, 2008
It is a pleasure to be in touch from northern Mexico. I am very grateful to be able to spend this week with our CFCA family here. This trip is focused on CFCA projects in northern Mexico, including the states of Nuevo León, Tamaulipas, Coahuila, Durango, Zacatecas, San Luis, Potosi, Jalisco and QuerÈtaro.
I played one song with them and I overheard, “If they ask for an encore, let’s do our first song again.” I remarked to the families present, “Wouldn’t it be great if world powers could send guitar strings instead of arms?”
A good orientation and initial gathering
Sponsors were invited to say something about their sponsored friends and to tell us about their involvement with CFCA. Father Tony Lee, pastor of St. Jude’s Parish in Peoria, Ill., shared that while he is here, Father Peter Herely is leading a CFCA weekend at St. Jude’s. Our prayers are with you, Father Peter.
On Monday, Father Tony and I teamed up for a bilingual morning prayer, readings for Lent, hymns led by Bob and shared intentions. Tomorrow morning, Father Tony will celebrate Holy Mass for us in English.
Successful visits generate warmth and love
The Ortigosa Home and Day School—preschool through junior high—serves 88 sponsored boys and girls. The sisters had organized a general assembly of the students that included musical interaction with students by Bob. Boarders served as guides for sponsors on a tour of the facilities. Warmth, love and shared snacks topped off the visit.
We remembered in a special way the meeting today of the OAS as it considers the crisis of Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela.
Jerry Menard traveled to Nuevo Laredo with Miguel Angel to see his sponsored
girl, Rosario. I am happy to report that this trip went very well for Jerry, for Rosario, for the Sisters in Nuevo Laredo and for staff member Miguel Angel Alba, who did all the driving.
Empowered mothers grateful for sponsorship
Our group visited 65 dynamic families of subproject PAN, many of them squatters living in the area of Cerro de la Campana. Mothers Licha, Marta and Petra are the community leaders. Staff member Matilde from the project office offers solidarity, visits and support. The tiny kids danced a cute number, and 7-year-old Magali proclaimed, “It’s really bonito (nice) to have a sponsor.” Maria spoke of her two children, a 9-year-old boy in fourth grade and a 14-year-old girl who is a special child. She emotionally expressed her gratitude for the sponsorship program. Other mothers, including Francisca, Claudia and Sylvia, also expressed a sincere and balanced gratitude.
School children display creative talent
At Parras de la Fuente, 76 spontaneous sponsored children were waiting for us, together with veteran missionary educator, Sister Rosario. Her congregation has served in this home and school since 1912. Alexis, Estefania, Gloria and Jorge all did a nice job on their respective songs, singing a-Capella at that. The sixth graders upheld the poetic fame of their town with two synchronized declamations: La Muóeca and Parras Tierra de Poetas. I encouraged the kids to appreciate these precious years in such a pretty and good school. They were proud to say aloud the names of their sponsors.
Bernardo Grousset School, which houses subproject BGS, has a warm and welcoming atmosphere. Parents are welcomed to participate in the classes. Creative thinking, spontaneity and self-confidence in expression are encouraged. A general assembly of students took us through the entrance of the flag, norteoo folk dances and vocals.
Cristina and I are now on our way to Guatemala City to meet the mission awareness trip group arriving March 8. Thanks again for traveling with us.
March 8, 2008