Mission to Mexico

On July 19, 2017, missionary boots hit the ground in Mexico. The boots belonged to those participating in the FSSP’s St. Francis Xavier mission trip, which runs through August 1 in Tonalá, near the FSSP’s apostolate in Guadalajara. To learn more about the trip and for firsthand reports on the work the missionaries are doing, we turned to Fr. Daniel Heenan, director of the Mexican apostolate.

The mission in Tonalá, Fr. Heenan explains, serves as the conclusion to the St. Junipero Serra Spanish program for seminarians. In addition to the seminarians, those participating in the mission work include parishioners from the Fraternity’s parish in Guadalajara, several Americans and people from other parts of Mexico. The group has been invited to serve at a parish in a poor neighborhood, an area afflicted not only by poverty but also the presence of gangs.

They divide up into 10 groups, about 45 people in total, and divide the town into sections, with each group assigned to a particular section. They then go door to door visiting the residents, inviting them to catechetical activities in the afternoon for children and adults and Mass in the evening. In their conversations sometimes the missionaries have the opportunity to encourage people back to Confession after a long time away from this Sacrament. And the fruit of their efforts is apparent: about 200 people were present at Mass on Wednesday night. Most are not familiar with the traditional Mass, and though there are some who remember the FSSP group from other visits, they do not receive the traditional Mass regularly and as Fr. Heenan says, “we’ve seen a great response.”

“Additionally, for the seminarians, it’s a great conclusion to their eight weeks of Spanish classes,” Fr. Heenan continues. “So, guys who arrived not knowing anything of Spanish, or very little, are now giving classes to groups of children and talking to people in their houses. They’ve all made tremendous progress. To me it’s a really great testimony of the effectiveness of the program and we hope to keep growing it.”

July 29, 2017