For years I have shared that we are being persecuted!!!! I now share that it will not be long and the persecution will come to the U.S. and to our towns..... Are you ready?
Sunday, July 20, 2014
Join the Men-In-Motion in their 2014 Fall Men's Retreat. They will be traveling to Deadfalls Lakes September 12-14, 2014. They will meet at 4:00 pm on Friday at Our Lady of Mercy Parish in Redding and car pool to the trail-head. There is no cost for the retreat and each man will provide his own gear and food.
For more information contact
Dennis Grady at: email@example.com
or Mike Goodyear at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sunday, July 13, 2014
My wife and I just returned from our annual mission trip to San Lucas Tolimán in Guatemala. Although we work on a variety of projects while we are there, including construction, reforestation, and coffee, it is spending time with the local people that I enjoy the most. The main town has continued to change over the years, modernize some, but the surrounding small villages have preserved a purity, simplicity, and peacefulness that is in great contrast to what we have become accustomed to.
Many of the children in the small villages still run and play without wearing shoes.The girls all wear brightly-colored woven clothing. And when a foreigner arrives they are quickly approached by the children with fearless and trusting curiosity. There are no iPods, gaming systems, cell phones, or texting amongst the children. Relationships are cultivated, nourished, and maintained directly and face to face.
Everywhere you go there is laughing, giggles, and smiles. One would not thinking of walking past another person without acknowledging their presence and greeting each other with either a “Buenos Dias”, “Buenas Tardes”, or “Como Estas”. These wonderful people have been preserved from the inward selfishness and self-centeredness that has become pandemic in our culture today.
As I watched the local Mayan people, and visited with a few of the friends that we have made there over the years, I quickly realized that their lives contain much more struggle and strife than my life does. Nutritious food can be scare at times. The water supply is infected with Amoebas. Many of the village people have chronic illness and have no means of obtaining help. Yet, they smile, laugh, and are optimistic about the future. They even graciously welcome strangers into their lives and treat them as a gift from God.
The faith of the Guatemalan people is deep and encompasses their entire life. These marvelous people fervently participate in the Mass unlike anything I have witnessed before. They sing at the top of their lungs. They pray with such deep emotion. And despite a church overflowing, there is complete reverence for the Sacred Mass. Maybe it has to do with their deep struggle in life. Or maybe is has to do with not knowing when they will again have Mass since routine Mass is not guaranteed. But, When the Mass is over, and the exit procession is complete, everyone in the church lowers down upon their knees for a few minutes of silent prayer before leaving, this is a quiet time for personal prayer and for thanking God for the holy encounter. There isn’t a single person who leaves Mass after communion, or who would ever think of leaving Mass early. What a wonderful example of faithfulness, honor, and respect.
In today’s Gospel Jesus speaks of his word as being a seed. He speaks of 4 different kinds of people who receive it.
- One who hears it but doesn’t understand it.
- One who hears it, understands it, but allows the message to quickly fade away.
- One who hears it, understands it, but allows worldly ways to push it aside.
- And one who hears it, understands it, embraces it, and nourishes it, while allowing it to grow, and then receives great benefit from it. Let us take a minute and honestly think about our own lives, our relationships with others, and the quality of our personal and intimate relationship with Christ.
¿Which of the four people that Christ is talking about best describes us?
Let’s ask ourselves a few questions that might help us discern where we are spiritually right now. Is our faith at the forefront of our lives? Do we truly appreciate what we have in the Holy Mass? Are the relationships with others in our lives more important than anything else? Do we embrace strangers and the encounters with them as a gift from God? Do we regularly express external kindness more often than not?
Christ sews seeds in all soil, good and bad. We are that soil. In order to receive it and for it to bear fruit we have much work to do in our lives. We must begin by removing the objects within us that would prevent growth, be it jealously, pride, or lust. We must take Christ’s words to heart and act upon them, graciously serving those around us. We must nourish our mind with learning the faith, studying the saints, and listening to our Pope. We must get rid of the toxic things in our lives by using the sacrament of Confession regularly, choosing our friends wisely, and scrutinizing what we read, watch on TV, and search out on the internet. And finally, getting to know in a deep, profound, and intimate way, who Christ is in the Holy Eucharist. Everything of who we are, and who we are called to be, originates right here in the Eucharist. He is the Source and Summit of our lives.
Isn’t that all we want as well? To be heard and loved!
Maybe all we need to do in life is to hold one another.
Hold each other close and invite others into our lives.
To turn our gaze and focus outward.
Make each other laugh.
And simply, to just love one another, to love as Christ has loved us.
Saturday, July 12, 2014
Liz and I just returned from our annual mission trip to San Lucas Tolimán in Guatemala. We had an amazing time and also met some new friends that we fell in love with. Here is the video that captures a glimpse of what we experienced. I hope you enjoy it. Also, my daughter Mackenzie is still there working as a missionary and translator, please pray for her, and her mom and Dad too! :)
Sunday, June 29, 2014
Our well-loved Parochial Vicar, Father Mauricio has been reassigned to another parish where he is greatly needed. He will be missed so very much. This is the video that was shown at his going away celebration on June 29, 2014 at Our Lady of Mercy Parish in Redding, California.
Saturday, June 28, 2014
(Honduras mission team June 2014)
So a lot of people have been asking me to post about Honduras because I'm back in Guate. To be honest I haven't had any time to process anything yet so I'm just gonna post what we did every day and then I'll definitely post more later and almost all my pictures are on my camera so those will be later too.
Thursday, June 12th.
I woke up around 5 and left for the airport. I had such a smooth flight thanks to everyone who was praying about that! I got to Tegucigalpa and found everyone right away which was a blessing. We drove to Comayagua to Casa Guadalupe which was our home while we were there. Such a gorgeous place! The outside chapel is pictured above in the group photo. We had some time to get settled, had mass (Louisiana's priest), ate dinner, prayed evening prayer, had holy hour, listened to a talk from Carol and went to bed. I was with a group from Louisiana so I was literally the only person not from their group or there long term. Haha definitely a fun experience.
Friday, June 13th.
We got to sleep in until 6 but I woke up a little early which meant I got to get ready before everyone was in the bathroom. We started the morning with an hour of personal prayer which is a daily thing there. We had a lot of talks by the extended termers because we were in formation before going up to the mountains. I got a super bad sore throat so I got started on medicine that day thanks to the friars clinic so I could translate in the mountains. We had mass, rosary, liturgy of the hours, and holy hour (we do all of these everyday so I won't repeat them every time unless there's something else to say).
Saturday, June 14th.
Woke up at five, got ready, had an hour of personal prayer... I discovered the inside chapel that day so that became a typical personal prayer spot for me because usually no one was in there except sometimes the priest from the Louisiana group. We had some more talks and a Spanish lesson. Then we got assigned our mountain mission teams. We met with our teams and got assigned talks and what not for the mountains. It poured rain during holy hour and we sang Let it Rain which was so fitting. We all went to the room of a girl that was super sick with Dangai that night and just prayed and sang my favorite song and everyone could just feel the presence of the Holy Spirit everywhere. I think we all got a huge reminder of the power of prayer that night.
Sunday, June 15th.
We woke up, packed, had personal prayer which I did in the chapel again, had breakfast, cleaned Casa Guadalupe, and rode two busses up to Santa Elena which was probably about four hours away. First bus I rode on the floor and second I sat squished between a Honduran and another American. We went to mass at the church in Santa Elena which is the church that all of our mountain mission towns were based out of. We stayed in an empty house.
Monday, June 16th.
We woke up, had personal prayer, went to breakfast, had mass in Santa Elena with everyone before we all headed out to our villages. It was announced that the roads were too muddy because of all the rain that cars could no longer make it to our aldeas to drop off supplies, water, and guitars so we had to leave everything behind except the clothes we were wearing, and extra shirt, socks and underwear, and toothpaste and toothbrush to make room for supplies. We then walked a couple hours to Quiscomotes (our village) through mud carrying water and guitars. We had lunch, did a children's program (music, talk, skit, project, and more music) then had a holy hour and mass which I later found out was the first holy hour they had ever had in the village. Talk about powerful. Our village had no electricity so that made it super fun because at night you could see more stars than I've ever seen in my life and fireflies! On our way back from dinner I swore I was not going to fall (which everyone was because walking through muddy hills without electricity is hard) and right then I fell and sliced my hand open on barbed wire but our Delegate saved me haha.
Tuesday, June 17th.
We woke up, got ready, prayed morning prayer as a team went to breakfast (our meals rotated between houses in the community). We started house visits that day. We went to eight different houses. Just talked with people, got to know them, listened to whatever they wanted to talk about, read the bible, and prayed with them. It was definitely a powerful experience. We had some intense houses but Renan was so powerful with words. My house visit group was a Honduran, seminarian Renan, who only spoke Spanish, a young adult American boy, Landon, who only spoke English, and me. So it was interesting to say the least. After lunch we had another kids program then we had a teen program (music, skit, talk, testimony, and more music). I did the talk on Drugs, Alcohol, and Vices and gave my testimony. Then we had an adult program (music, skit, talk, testimony, more music).
Wednesday, June 18th.
We had breakfast, liturgy of the hours, and went to 9 more house visits. They went way smoother because we were getting in the hang of it and getting a lot better about talking about certain topics. We did the kids program, Ashley did a super awesome talk. Then for the teen program Landon did the self esteem talk and testimony. It was really awesome to see how interested the boys are because most of them don't have good male role models. Everyone was teasing me at dinner that I speak 5 spanishes: Spanish of Guatemala, Spanish of Honduras, Spanish of Quiscomotes, Catalan Spanish, and kenzie Spanish. :')
Thursday, June 19th.
We woke up, cleaned up the church, and one of the other groups came to our church for the teen retreat. We sang a ton of songs, did dramas, talks, and sang more songs. Then Ashley had to go back to Santa Elena because she was sick. We had lunch and did seven more house visits. Then we did the kids program and we went to coffee at the delegate's sons house like we did every day. We had dinner and Renan (our seminarian) brought us all personal head scarves and said goodbye/ thank you speeches to us. We went back to the church and had a final candle light family service with tons of singing. The whole community got up individually and gave a thank you speech and that killed me. We were all sobbing. One lady got up and said "You came to share in our sorrows but instead you gave us happiness" which I think is a really good definition of mission work. I think getting told by the people we experienced God through that they experienced God through us was really huge.
Friday, June 20th.
We woke up around 5, said goodbye to our family, and caught a ride to Santa Elena (praise god!) I always enjoy riding in the back of a pickup. We caught the buses back to Comayagua and we stopped to use the restroom and this super sweet little old lady talked to me for like five minutes and gave me three "pensamiento" flowers. We got back to Casa Guadalupe, showered (which was needed after not showering all week in the mountains) ate lunch, and just kind of caught up with everyone that we hadn't seen for the week. My friend Cece who lives there came to visit with her husband so that was nice to see someone from home haha. It was nice to have holy hour back in the outside chapel. We got to stay up super late because almost everyone was at a funeral.
Saturday, June 21st.
Woke up, got ready before everyone woke up like I did everyday just by luck in Comayagua, and took my hour of personal prayer in the inside chapel again. We had the final mass with the priest from Louisiana because he and Ashely left that day. We had breakfast then I went to a different aldea with some people and worked with the missionary of Charity sisters to do a mini holy hour, talks, and music for people preparing for first communion and confirmation. I was in charge of the youngest kids which was so fun! We had a talk on the Eucharist and colored pages about first communion and sang some fun little kid songs. Then I went back to Casa for lunch and went to Casa Misericordia which is a home for mentally challenged and abused girls and women which was absolutely beautiful. We got to go and hug, hold hands, laugh, and just love on all of them. They sang the divine mercy chaplet and everyone was singing at different times and in different tunes but it was literally the most beautiful thing I've ever heard. They're just so innocent and full of joy. We sang a lot of songs, did crafts about guardian angels, played hot potato with water balloons (whoever had it when it stopped got it exploded on their head), and were just there to talk and love. I did some laundry in the pilas before dinner. We had holy hour at the JPII center where the extended terms live. They have THE most gorgeous chapel.
Sunday, June 22nd.
We slept in, had breakfast on our own during personal prayer, then had Corpus Christi mass with the mom's group followed by a procession with the Franciscan Friars. We had a talk by Carol which was absolutely amazing and then we left for our fun day. We went up to this place that was a waterfall that lead into three different pools in like the middle of a forest. We played around there all afternoon and came back for dinner, cleaned up, packed, and had an extended holy hour. It was full of rain and thunder and lightening which made it so beautiful and all the the adults and long terms were just around to pray with everyone. The power went out so we finished in candle light (Easter vigil style) which is probably my favorite thing ever. If you know me you know I have an insane love for fire so it was a perfect way to end the last night.
Monday, June 23rd.
Woke up, got ready in a couple minutes because the power was still out so showering wasn't an option, and spent the morning in the chapel while everyone packed. I had the chapel completely alone which made me super happy. We cleaned up and went to the Poor Clare's for mass. Father Francis Mary gave an amazing homily about selflessness. I talked to him for a while after and then said goodbye to almost all the extended termers. We drove to the airport and hung out for a while. Then I said goodbye to Louisiana and the rest of the extended termers which was so hard. Louisiana's flight was about six hours before mine so I literally just hung out in the airport all day and read a book and a half. There was a point where I was literally the only non worker sitting in the gates so that was super weird. My phone wouldn't work but it was super nice to not deal with people or technology yet. So over all it was a blessing. The flight went super well and I was back in Guatemala City that night.
(House visit group: seminarian Renan, Landon, and me, plus roommate Claire)
(One of the dramas)
(Quiscomotes team: seminarian Renan, Ashely, me, Margarita, Claire, Landon, and Leo)
So throughout most of the time that I was there I was getting teased that I was Guatemalan because I flew in from there and "am living there" and one of the Hondurans was saying "the Guatemalan is going to speak in Spanish of Guatemala now so pay attention" whenever I would speak. I was so blessed with my mountain group. Everyone was so amazing in their own way and I'm so happy I got to spend the week with them even if we were the misfits. But our leaders Renan and Margarita were especially amazing. They are both amazing examples of what it means to truly give your life over to God and let him do amazing things through you. Every time they would speak their words were just so anointed that you wanted to listen to everything they had to say and because they're Honduran they helped us connect with the people on an different level because they know the culture.