It has been two months since the three of us–Stephen, Juliann & Rose–arrived to Guadalajara, Mexico. While we all came from different locations (Stephen and Juliann from northern California, Rose from Washington) and backgrounds, we share many similarities. Each of us grew up in strong Catholic families and have enjoyed practicing the faith throughout our lives. In addition, we have all experienced the beauty of the traditional Latin Mass. Through a variety of discernment processes and for a variety of reasons we found ourselves seeking the service of God and His faithful in a foreign location and environment.
In the two months since our arrival, we have encountered many challenges, joys, and interesting experiences. None of us had ever experienced the mental exhaustion of trying to understand and communicate throughout the day in a language other than English. While initially it was very difficult, it was–and is still–very rewarding to see our progress. There is much laughter over our mistakes, and it helps to make the learning process humorous and enjoyable. All the people we have met have great patience and seem to enjoy helping us understand their language.
Our volunteer work consists of a variety of tasks. Primarily we are working on spreading the word about a new house, Casa Cristo Rey, that was purchased by the parish and will enable the expansion of a variety of activities. These include offering language classes to priests and seminarians interested in learning Spanish and experiencing the traditional Latin Mass. It will also provide a location for meetings of the different parish groups–for men, women, acolytes, girls, and homeschoolers–and space for classes and seminars. We have made brochures and newsletters promoting Casa Cristo Rey and providing information on how to support the cause.
Along with the creation of these pamphlets and brochures, we also help lay parishioners teach catechism classes, and spend time weekly with young girls at a local orphanage. We participate in the church events and have enjoyed spending time with many of the families of the parish for dinners or excursions to various parts of the city. The more we have been exposed to, the more we appreciate the people and the culture here. We have also had the opportunity to take Spanish classes to advance our knowledge of the language and make our work more effective.
We have had many wonderful experiences during our time here. We attend Mass almost daily, and have explored many parts of the city, visited several beautiful locations outside of Guadalajara,–Lake Chapala, Mazamitla, Zaptolanejo–taken advantage of the incredible food options, and thoroughly enjoyed our time spent with our host family. We look forward to several upcoming trips, including a short trip to Mexico City for the feast of the Immaculate Conception, just days before the city will be overflowing with people from around the world for the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
As we continue our time here, we ask for your prayers. Please be assured of our prayers, and thank you for your support. If you would like to support our work and the parish of Our Lady of Pilar financially please contact us through: FSSPGuadalajara@.
God bless you,
Stephen, Juliann & Rose