January 31, 2020
We recently received news from our apostolate in Guadalajara about the work they did with the St. Francis Xavier Mission Trip to Mexico over the summer. To learn more about the St. Francis Xavier Mission Trips or to sign up for a trip, visit their website. To learn more about the FSSP’s work in Mexico, visit their Facebook page (and bookmark their website, which is currently under construction).
This past summer, the St. Francis Xavier Mission Trip to Mexico traveled to Jocotepec, a city about an hour away from the FSSP’s Casa Cristo Rey in Guadalajara. Beginning on July 23rd, 2019, the band of about forty missionaries, consisting mostly of young Mexicans with several Americans, was on a mission of evangelization: to witness to the Faith through the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
After beginning each day with a meditation on the Mass, the missionaries spent their mornings inviting the locals of Jocotepec to Mass and their afternoons catechizing both adults and children. Most importantly, every day ended with the Holy Sacrifice, celebrated as solemnly as possible. Almost every Mass was sung with the full Gregorian propers and as much polyphony as the impromptu choir could muster; incense and torchbearers added to the splendor. The missionaries had a deep desire to present the locals of Jocotepec with the Mass in its most beautiful form, and so attract them into the mysteries of the Faith.
The Mission selected Jocotepec because of its large Protestant population, particularly Jehovah’s Witnesses. However, since Mexico is primarily a Catholic country, the missionaries found the majority of their activity serving poorly catechized Catholics.
Most conversations began with an invitation to the evening Mass at the neighborhood church. This invitation was usually followed by an explanation of the Holy Mass and of the Tridentine form in particular. After a morning of such conversations, various “sales pitches” emerged: for the children of Jocotepec, the notion of receiving Our Lord on the tongue as a sign of reverence was quite intriguing. For a Protestant professing loyalty to the Scriptures, there was the reminder that Scripture was fulfilled in the eternal Word made flesh Whose Sacrifice is now perpetuated at every Catholic Mass. For someone who had already attended a Tridentine Mass, an explanation of why the priest keeps his thumbs and forefingers together after touching Our Lord’s Body called their attention to an aspect previously unnoticed.
The missionaries repeated the same ritual every day, trudging through the streets on tired feet, knocking on every door, debating with Protestants, and inviting Catholics to Mass with no guarantee that they would come. According to Fr. Jesus Valenzuela, assistant pastor of the Guadalajara apostolate, sometimes Mass attendance was high, sometimes low as the group made their way each day to different parts of the city. He had long lines for confession, and he considered their labors fruitful and many seeds to have been planted through their efforts.
The Jocotepec mission was a participation in the apostolate started by the Blessed Virgin herself. Our Lady of Guadalupe won the hearts of the Mexican people five centuries ago, bringing to fruition the work begun by Spanish Franciscans. Every year the FSSP missionaries participate anew in this evangelization, entrusting the fruits of their labor to Our Lord and Our Lady; they go into the highways and byways and search out souls, so that the hearts of the Mexican people might be rekindled in their love for Christ and the Holy Faith, and they do this by bringing them back to its source and summit: the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. +