Monday, April 14, 2014

Palm Sunday and Short Term Missions

On Palm Sunday we welcomed 75 kids from Guadalajara who are here on a short-term mission trip. They will be doing activities with the children of our parish as well as with our youth group, and even more importantly, providing classes and activities for the congregations of the ranchos and small communities surrounding our town, which are sorely lacking in such things.

This is the second year that a group from the Instituto de Ciencias (a Jesuit preparatory high school) has come to our town for Semana Santa (Holy Week). Last year, the t-shirts that they wore, and that many of our people received, noted that it was the 330th anniversary of the arrival of Jesuits on the Baja Pensinsula to found a mission in Loreto. That was the first mission in the whole chain of California missions and the Jesuits founded more than 20 others on the peninsula, including our church in Todos Santos, before the King of Spain kicked them out of Mexico due to envy (after 150 years here). Here's a photo of the altar of the old mission part of our church, which for decades has been used merely as a passageway to get to the larger sanctuary. But our current priest has started using it for the weekday masses and baptisms, and we dedicated it to the new purpose a couple of days ago with a special blessing after the regular mass.

While our parish was preparing for this group to arrive, I realized that most of the members of my family have been on short-term missions trips. In fact, everyone over the age of 14 has been on one or more……except me! I have never had that particular adventure. Ah well - my life has been full of excitement and challenges anyway.

Yesterday was, of course Domingo de Ramos (Palm Sunday). Here are couple of photos of the group that did a procession through town to the church, including all the kids who were going to have their first communion that day:

Of course the church was beyond completely packed, but what joy! We've got lots of activities happening this week leading up to the Easter Vigil mass on Saturday night.

And for something completely different, my young arbol del fuego (tree of fire - the spanish name for a tulipan) just bloomed! This is the third year since I planted it, and it put on a beautiful show for us.

I hope your Holy Week is as expressive of the fire of God's love as this tree is!


  1. Despite having been to Urbana (MAJOR missions conference for Intervarsity and evangelical peeps), I have never been on a short-term missions trip other than a weekend urban plunge in college.

  2. Jen, we have a good friend who used to be a presenter at Urbana. That's a great place to get excited about what God is doing - sort of like World Youth Day (but of course smaller).

  3. Such wonderful stories and photos! My daughters have gone to what I think are counterparts of your short-term missions. They are called "rurals". My girls lived in a rural town for a week, taught catechism and a bit of English, then helped paint the school buildings. The experience had a very positive impact on them.

    I love the Palm Sunday photos! Processions are rich component of our religious practices, too. It is heartwarming to know that the same thing happens there.

    Thanks for posting and happy Easter!

  4. Marcia, "rurals" are the same basic structure as short term mission programs - a great way to give kids the experience and joy of serving others. And processions! What a wonderful way to engage in an act of faith with your neighbors! I'm so glad that these are still common in many parts of the world, and apparently beginning to be reintroduced in the US in places where they had been abandoned.

  5. Christ is risen!
    That flower is so appropriate in its fire. It's wonderful how nature joins in the songs of praise.

  6. I love your Palm Sunday pictures. Just found your blog. Love it


I'd love to know your thoughts!