Ten Months in Mexico
You may have read the post here about the mission work being done at the Fraternity’s apostolate in Guadalajara. Recently we were blessed to receive a firsthand account of the experiences of a volunteer who served at the apostolate for ten months, and he told us about the extraordinary graces which God is causing to blossom in Mexico.
by Benjamin Misner-Elias
My name is Benjamin Misner-Elias and for ten months I had the opportunity to work with the FSSP in Guadalajara, Mexico. During those ten months, I lived in the apostolate house of the FSSP which, in a couple years, will also be considered an official house of discernment. While there, I participated in two St. Francis Xavier mission trips and a mission from Nuestra Señora del Pilar, the FSSP parish in Mexico. The first of the two St. Francis Xavier trips was to Zacatecas, Mexico, in the spring of 2017. The second one was to Tonalá, a town on the outskirts of Guadalajara. The mission group which the FSSP runs out of Nuestra Señora del Pilar is called Mission San Pedro.
St. Francis Xavier has two missions trips per year – one in the spring and one in late July. Each city receiving the missions is usually different, but the goal of the missions always stays the same: convert, convert, convert. The main premise of the St. Francis Xavier missions is to evangelize and spread our Catholic Faith. There are three ways this is accomplished: door-to-door, the Mass, and catechesis.
The door-to-door method of evangelization is successful. Participants split into a certain number of groups, for instance, five groups of five people. Then, each drives to a designated block or neighborhood that will be covered for that day. This allows the participants to reach as many people as possible in an organized structure. The people that you will encounter will be anybody from Protestants to pagans to Catholics that have fallen away from the Church. By going door to door, we are able to invite people to church, answer doubts that they have about the Faith, and explain the Latin Mass.
The Mass itself is one of the best forms of evangelization because the people are able to see the Sacrifice of Our Lord and participate in the highest form of prayer.
Finally, each group is usually responsible for having a class of catechesis, either for adults or children. The mission that most recently concluded in Tonalá was so successful because of how the catechesis was organized. Different groups chose a certain theme that they felt was necessary to teach to their class. For example, one day my group and I were discussing topics for catechesis. We decided that we should give a talk about the Rosary because we had noticed that, throughout the week, many of the young boys and girls didn’t know how to pray the Rosary, even those who were Catholic. After this, we gave the talk and prayed many Rosaries with them. They learned how to pray one of the world’s most powerful prayers by the end of the week.
San Pedro is one of our most recent mission groups and it mostly focuses on street evangelization. This mission primarily involves the parishioners of Nuestra Señora del Pilar. It is similar to the St. Francis Xavier mission groups but this group focuses on evangelizing in the streets and visiting hospitals.
Finally, the summer Spanish program, the San Junipero Serra Spanish Institute, based out of the apostolate house Casa Cristo Rey, allows seminarians and priests to experience two months of Spanish language immersion. Participants in the Institute were also able to participate in the street evangelizing that the San Pedro mission performs.
My volunteer experience allowed me to see another country and learn another language. More importantly, it allowed me to increase my faith, spread Catholicism, and assist thousands of people to witness to the Latin Mass. During my time there I was able to run four social media sites, including two sites used to reach a United States audience: the Mission Tradition and San Junipero Serra Spanish Institute Facebook pages. While living in Mexico, I took advantage of the opportunity to travel, which permitted me to see more of the natural and cultural beauty of Mexico. This experience was amazing! I encourage every person to take at least a year to live in another culture and spread their Faith.
August 25, 2017