We are two weeks into our excursion to Mexico as myself and three of our seminarians learn Spanish and encounter the culture(s) of the central part of the country.
Our typical day during the work week consists of four hours of classes covering grammar, conversation, culture and history. Two hours each day are one-on-one with a teacher while the other two include lectures with a group and more conversation.
We are staying at a Benedictine Abbey called Our Lady of the Angels in a small pueblo within the city limits of Cuernavaca. We attend Mass each day at the monastery and a join in prayer with the monks for the Liturgy of the Hours. Our teachers live on the grounds as well, so we interact with them throughout the day and get to know them and learn about their families and their experiences on a more personal level.
On weekends, we’ve gone on excursions to encounter the cultures of the region. Our first weekend was a wide-spanning tour of the Mexico City metro area. Our second was spent in a small indigenous community called Cuautla where we worked in a parish and visited several of its 24 mission chapels.
As a priest with a large Hispanic community in his parish, I have already seen lots of fruit coming from this trip. Because we are in Mexico, I am understanding much more about the people I serve back home. It has been fun to experience things here that I’ve already experienced in Mississippi. The food, the celebrations and the customs here remind me often of things that our Hispanic community at St. Peter’s already does.
It is also somewhat ‘uncomfortable’ for all of us. We are challenged as we seek to patiently encounter the differences in culture, food and other practices (for example, I have yet to encounter the use of air conditioning!) Each time a challenge has presented itself, however, the Lord is helping us grow in love and persevere. These challenges are strengthening our resolve to share the Gospel and helps us understand more about ourselves and about the world we live in, and the world that our own parishioners come from and cherish.
I am grateful for those who are helping us feel at home in Mexico. Most especially I am thankful for Brother Francisco, who is the leader of our group and a monk in the monastery. He is from Spain originally but moved to Mexico City to work in the inner-city. He had been an atheist but his time with the poor converted his heart. He is a constant source of energy and joy.
I am also very thankful to our lead teacher, Bibiana Arroyo. She and her team are very dedicated to making sure that our education is the very best it can be, and she does a fabulous job and interacting with all the students and making sure we are feeling at home. I’ve gotten to be friends with her husband Jesús, we both love basketball.
There is still much work to be done, and more challenges to be met. Please keep myself and our other three pilgrims from Jackson in your prayers.
– Father Nick Adam, vocation director
For more info on vocations email: firstname.lastname@example.org.