Tuesday, January 20, 2009

In Ixtepec

Well we are sitting in the pastoral offices of the Pastoral Team of Ixtepec. We went behind a commercial building, under 4 trees and a clothes line, past 3 more dogs, 2 doorways and into a very simple and humble office. It has a computer system that works but you would not want to see all the cables. We are teaching the team how to use the digital cameras that we brought. We are also teaching them how to make digital movies and to pass all this information on the the internet. That is the weak part of this train. The connection is very weak. We have invited Julio & Tita Cordero of Guadalajara, Mexico to create a video project of this ministry. Thus the team will take photos, make videos, do interviews with the migrants and then send the information up north. It is wonderful to see the joy in the team as a they master each one of these skills. They feel honored that we have entrusted to them such excellent video equipment. They are having fun practicing their skills on each other. Our hope is that by our efforts we can touch more hearts with this terrible need to be more caring and compassionate. I am looking forward to seeing the artistic skills of our friends Julio & Tita put to service of this ministry of the migrant. It is a story worth telling. It is a ministry worth supporting.

Así estamos sentados en la pastoral de las oficinas de la Pastoral del equipo de Ixtepec. Fuimos detrás de un edificio comercial, menores de 4 árboles y una línea de ropa, 3 últimos más perros, 2 puertas y en una muy sencilla y humilde oficina. Tiene un sistema que funciona, pero usted no desea ver todos los cables. Estamos enseñando a los equipos de cómo usar las cámaras digitales que nos trajo. También estamos enseñándoles cómo hacer películas digitales y pasar toda esta información en la Internet. Esa es la parte débil de este tren. La conexión es muy débil. Hemos invitado a Julio y Tita Cordero de Guadalajara, Mexico para crear un proyecto de vídeo de este ministerio. Por lo tanto, el equipo de tomar fotos, hacer videos, hacer entrevistas con los migrantes y, a continuación, enviar la información hacia el norte. Es maravilloso ver la alegría en el equipo como un maestro que cada una de estas habilidades. Se sienten honrados de que nos han confiado a ellos tan excelentes equipos de vídeo. Ellos se divierten practicando sus habilidades en los demás Estados. Nuestra esperanza es que nuestros esfuerzos podemos tocar más corazones con esta terrible necesidad de ser más solidario y compasivo. Estoy ansioso de ver las habilidades artísticas de nuestros amigos Julio y Tita poner al servicio de este ministerio de los migrantes. Es una historia vale la pena decirle. Es un ministerio vale la pena apoyar. 

Friday, January 16, 2009

A Funny Thing Happened in Mexico

What a sight... Were we getting the stares...  You could have imagined the eyes focused on us as we were eating tacos at this Mexican hangout.  Best of all, here was a gringo (Fr. Bill) speaking spanish to a table full of Koreans.  You should have seen the look and confusion on people's faces.

Meet Julio and Tita

Meet Julio and Tita.

In 2007 Fr. Bill flew down to Mexico to celebrate the wedding of this lovely young couple.  Today, Fr. Bill surprised them with a great gift, another one of his great ideas.  Since both are starving artist, Fr. Bill commissioned them to make a movie about Fr. Alejandro and the migrants coming up from Central Mexico.  Both are bright, energetic people grateful for this wonderful opportunity to work with their artistic skills and the church.

A Time for Reflection (tambien en Español)

Well we are spending the morning hanging out at the Korean Sisters convent in Mexico City. Fr. Jano has a meeting in the morning and afternoon with the Bishops of Mexico concerning the care and ministry to migrants. Thus we will be heading South with him on Saturday morning. This entailed repacking our "burro" again. Simon and I are becoming quite handy at this! It is about 60 degrees and raining. That is actually good news in that Mexico City is a lot like Los Angeles in the aspect of being surrounded by tall mountains. Thus the rain washes the skies of dust and smog. It is only a difficulty for those many who live in cardboard and wooden shacks. It is a hard part of third world visiting: To see the poverty and know that you don't have the resources to touch for good, all the need you see. It challenges one to another type of ministry that is not typical in the States. The ministry of accompanying the poor in love. It is so much of our culture to want to "make" things better, to find the solution. To not do so seems like "giving up" or not caring or not trying. The conversion to be in solidarity with the poor without wishing to change them is a difficult step. Even as we bring "things" to Fr. Jano to better serve the poor migrants, it causes us to pause and consider: What is really necessary? I think Simon and I hope that our journey and story will bring the reality of the injustice of our migration system to greater clarity. From South to North our present economic matrix is not working. Surely the news in American papers illustrates: Our economy is not functioning for many. It is not the fault of the poor. It is in it's very design not fair to the poor and marginal no matter how you describe them. Our present economic stress merely reveals what our poorer and less educated brothers and sisters have been experiencing for a long while. We need to look deeper into the why of how we live. What really gives us hope and satisfaction? What do we really need to be safe and secure? 

Simon and I have been blessed with a lot of time to consider these themes as we drive these long distances. We both feel our conversion comes from the poor. They change the way we feel about ourselves and what is valuable. It causes us to question: Why do we spend so much time on things that don't really matter? In so many ways our ministry up North is tied to maintaining the status quo. What high percentage of our time do we spend on maintaining ourselves, our routines, our parish comforts? Could that possibly be a reason why our Church does not seem so attractive to many outsiders? I am struck by how hard it is for the average American Catholic to come into contact with the poor in a meaningful relationship. They remain hidden from us unless we make the difficult effort to "see" them. Jesus spent so much quality time with the poor. They felt welcome and comfortable in his midst. He was always getting in trouble for welcoming them, approaching them, eating with them, forgiving them. How comfortable am I with the poor? How careful am I to keep them at a "safe" distance? These are questions that can change the daily pattern of my life. They challenge me as to what I find worthy and valuable in parish ministry. How should I spend my time? Why do so many parishes dedicate the vast majority of their resources of time and treasure on themselves? We are here is a Korean convent in Mexico City with two women religious who have left the comfort of home and culture to stand with the poor. It was a stark contrast yesterday as we celebrated Eucharist. Simon and I and the two women religious. If they had stayed home they would be a chapel full of nuns. They accept the loneliness of this mission as a gift to the poor. It is a powerful witness. They smile and serve and give it little pause. 

We are both meditating upon how we could bring some of our friends and parishioners into meaningful interchange with this reality. I'm sure upon returning you will hear about these themes. For me it is the poor who reveal to me the face of Christ and call me to respond in a more generous manner. I would love to facilitate a meaningful exchange in love and service. I think this would change the hearts of many families who have entered into the "war" years with their teenagers. The things we chose to struggle over can be changed by the grace of God. Would it not be marvelous for our youth to enter into another manner of living and valuing and from there change some patterns of relationship? Would this not nurture some of the deepest desires of our hearts: That our lives have meaning? More on this later. Off to a tea break. Peace, Bill

Así estamos gastando la mañana colgado a cabo en el convento de las Hermanas de Corea en la Ciudad de Mexico. Fr. Jano tiene una reunión en la mañana y la tarde con los obispos de Mexico, relativa a la atención y el ministerio a los migrantes. Por lo tanto, será la partida del Sur con él el sábado por la mañana. Esto implicaba reembalaje nuestro "burro" de nuevo. Simon y yo estamos haciendo bastante útil en este! Se trata de 60 grados y la lluvia. Esto es realmente una buena noticia en la ciudad de Mexico que se parece mucho a Los Ángeles en el aspecto de estar rodeado de altas montañas. Por lo tanto, la lluvia lava el cielo de polvo y el esmog. Es sólo una dificultad para los muchos que viven en chabolas de cartón y de madera. Es una parte difícil del tercer mundo que visita: Para ver la pobreza y sé que usted no tiene los recursos para el bien de tocar, todos la necesidad que ve. Retos que uno a otro tipo de ministerio que no es típico en los Estados Unidos. El ministerio de acompañamiento a los pobres en el amor. Es tan gran parte de nuestra cultura de querer "hacer" las cosas mejor, para encontrar la solución. Para hacerlo no parece que "renunciar" o no cuidar o no intentarlo. La conversión a estar en solidaridad con los pobres sin querer cambiarlos es un paso difícil de dar. Aunque nos traen "cosas" al P.. Jano para servir mejor a los pobres migrantes, que nos hace una pausa y considerar: ¿Qué es realmente necesario? Simon creo y espero que nuestro viaje y la historia que la realidad de la injusticia de nuestro sistema de migración a una mayor claridad. De Sur a Norte nuestra actual matriz económica no está funcionando. Sin duda, la noticia se ilustra en los documentos de América: Nuestra economía no está funcionando para muchos. No es culpa de los pobres. Es en el diseño es muy justo, no a los pobres y marginales no importa cómo describirlas. Nuestra actual tensión económica sólo revela lo que nuestro más pobres y menos educados hermanos y hermanas han experimentado desde hace mucho tiempo. Tenemos que analizar más profundamente en el por qué de nuestra forma de vivir. Lo que realmente nos da la esperanza y la satisfacción? ¿Qué es lo que realmente necesitamos para ser seguro? 

Simon y yo hemos sido bendecidos con un montón de tiempo para considerar estos temas como la unidad que estas largas distancias. Ambos se sienten nuestra conversión viene de los pobres. Cambiar la forma en que pensamos acerca de nosotros mismos y lo que es valioso. Se nos hace la pregunta: ¿Por qué gastar tanto tiempo en cosas que realmente no importa? En muchos sentidos nuestro ministerio hasta el Norte está ligado a mantener el statu quo. ¿Qué alto porcentaje de nuestro tiempo lo que gastamos en el mantenimiento de nosotros mismos, nuestras rutinas, comodidades nuestra parroquia? Que posiblemente podría ser un motivo por el cual nuestra Iglesia no parece tan atractiva para muchos foráneos? Me sorprende lo difícil que es para el americano medio católico a entrar en contacto con los pobres en una relación significativa. Que permanecen ocultas a menos que hagamos el difícil esfuerzo por "ver" a ellos. Jesús pasó mucho tiempo de calidad con los pobres. Bienvenida y que se sentían cómodos en su seno. Siempre estaba en problemas para obtener la bienvenida ellos, les aproxima, comer con ellos, el perdón de ellos. ¿Qué tan cómodo estoy con los pobres? ¿Cómo soy cuidadoso para evitar que en un "refugio seguro" a distancia? Estas son preguntas que pueden cambiar el patrón diario de mi vida. Reto que me parece a lo que me parece digno y valioso en el ministerio parroquial. ¿Cómo debo gastar mi tiempo? ¿Por qué dedicar tantas parroquias de la gran mayoría de sus recursos de tiempo y tesoro en sí mismos? Estamos aquí coreano es un convento en la Ciudad de Mexico con dos mujeres religiosas que han dejado la comodidad del hogar y de la cultura de estar junto a los pobres. Fue un marcado contraste como ayer celebramos la Eucaristía. Simon y yo y las dos mujeres religiosas. Si hubieran quedado en casa que sería una capilla llena de monjas. Aceptar que la soledad de esta misión como un regalo a los pobres. Es un poderoso testimonio. Sonríen y servir y darle poca pausa. 

Somos a la vez meditar sobre cómo podría llevar a algunos de nuestros amigos y feligreses significativa en el intercambio con esta realidad. Estoy seguro de que al regresar se enteró de estos temas. Para mí es el pobre que me revelan el rostro de Cristo y me llama para responder de una manera más generosa. Me gustaría a fin de facilitar un intercambio de amor y de servicio. Creo que esto iba a cambiar los corazones de muchas familias que han entrado en la "guerra" con sus años adolescentes. Las cosas que hemos elegido a lo largo de la lucha puede ser cambiado por la gracia de Dios. ¿No sería maravilloso para nuestra juventud para entrar en otra forma de vida y de la valoración y, desde allí, cambiar algunos patrones de relación? ¿No alimentar algunos de los deseos más profundos de nuestros corazones: Que nuestra vida tiene sentido? Más sobre esto más tarde. A un té descanso. La paz, padre bill

Monday, January 12, 2009


We were able to replenish the Subaru with items waiting for us at St. Hedwig's in Guadalajara.

We had to break down the suitcases full of shoes and toothbrushes to accomodate the blankets.

We discovered in the process of packing again that our left-rear tire had a nail in it. Luckily we discovered this before heading out again and we were able to take it to the shop around the corner.

All in all, we were able to fill the Subaru once again and get it ready for the rest of our mission trip. Isn't God's ecomony great...

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Sunday Mass at Santo Nino, Guadalajara, Mexico

We were excited to celebrate Sunday Mass at a parish on the outskirts of Guadalajara. It was especially meaningful for Fr. Bill whose uncle helped construct the walls and the roof. They still have a ways to go to complete the building project but the assistance have given them renewed hope.

After the 9:00 am children's mass we sprung for hot chocolate and bread. It was good to see the long lines and the smiles on the kid's face.

Only in Mexico

Infant teething on a onion...

Scenes from downtown (centro) Guadalajara, Mexico

Friday, January 9, 2009

Guadalajara, Mexico

After 1500 or so miles we finally arrived in Guadalajara at Fr. Gabriel's parish. We were joyfully greeted by the pastor and his family. Being famished from the journey they took us out to eat some authentic food from their home town of Gustave, Mexico. Can you guess what these tostadas came with?

a) salsa
b) cow lips
c) cow ears
d) all of the above

Another Lunch to remember in Mexico

Fr. Bill was at it again. We filled up the next day at the local PEMEX station and once again got a tip on where to eat. We stopped this time at a taco joint next to the highway. Can you guess what we had this time for lunch?

a) cabeza (head of the cow) tacos
b) tripe (intestines) tacos
c) pork tacos
d) all of the above

What's for Lunch?

After filling up at the local PEMEX station we got a tip on where to have lunch. It just happened that this street vendor was on the property of the gas station. How easy is that... fill-up both tanks, the car and our stomachs. We had wonderful soup... can you guess what was sooo mmm, mmm, good?

a) vegetable soup
b) beef and vegetable soup
c) tripe and vegetable soup
d) manta ray (skate) and vegetable soup

An Affair at Nogales

After driving 520 miles the first day we crashed in Tucson. Early the next morning we headed out for Nogales, AZ so we could cross the border into Mexico. If you ever drove into Mexico you know that as you cross the border you either get a green or red light, the green signifying that you are free to proceed and the red requiring you to pull over for inspection. As it turned we were one of the unlucky ones that morning and got a RED light. We pulled over and our Thule on top was inspected. Naturally, we were questioned why there were so many shoes aboard our vehicle. It appears that you are only allowed 10 shoes per person visiting Mexico. We had twenty times that amount so we were immediately escorted back to the U.S. side. Eventually we found a Catholic Church in Nogales, Sacred Heart and donated half the shoes there emptying out just the Thule on top. We then told about another crossing station in town and attempted to enter there. Without a glitch this time we got the GREEN light and proceeded on our way into Mexico. We figured whether the poor received the shoes in Nogales or in Southern Mexico they were in need of them. We still had the other half and the rest of our supplies. I must admit my heartbeat went up a bit this morning.

Why Mexico?

Why go to Mexico, are there not enough poor in United States?

I occasionally get asked this question by good people and practicing Catholics. It's a trick question. The answer is: We are called to help all of God's children, especially not limiting our assistance and blessings solely to family members. Thus each year I look forward to doing something in my own community and also a project in the missions. It so easy, especially in economically challenging times to focus on ourselves. That is not the path of the Gospel. Exactly when we were most desperate, God sent us His best gift unexpected, Jesus as Savior. There is a saying: United States sneezes, Mexico gets pneumonia. I think Fr. Simon & I are like a bowl of chicken soup. We won't solve all difficulties, but I hope we will be of some comfort. 

I think it will also be useful to see the non-turist side of Mexico. We are going to visit those parts of Mexico where we have been invited and where there is a need we might be able to bless. I have friends who have taught me about retaining walls, fish farms, and drilling wells. We have access to a community of faith who know lots about the US economy and can possibly put that wisdom to service of the poor. For example some Korean sisters have established a dynamic cooperative in Southern Mexico producing sesame seed oil. They are not sure as to how to market it. Would it not be great to support a business that would pay a just wage in Mexico and allow more Mexicans to be able to earn a dignified living in their own country? 

We are also going to visit a refuge center that we have established in Ixtepec, Oaxaca. Fr. Alejandro Solalinde does a heroic and saintly job ministering to the most desperate of migrants at this place of respite. He ministers in the name of 21 Dioceses in Mexico and with the financial support of none. We are bringing him 8000 toothbrushes, 450 flashlights and as many used tennis shoe as we could cram into Simon's Subaru. We are also turning over to him $8,000 that has been gifted to us for the poor. When you see the photos and hear their stories you will know that the money is being well spent.

I find travelling in Mexico a delight. I am welcomed as family by many. They share generously of their hearths and homes and hearts. I am sure I will discover new things and make new friends. I'm sure the Lord will change my heart in many wonderful ways. I'm glad to be able to share some of this with you through the modern tool of a blog. It is novelty for me. May the Lord bless and guide our steps. Peace, Padre Bill and Simon.

Porque Mexico?

Yo a veces obtener esta pregunta por la gente buena y católicos practicantes. Es un truco cuestión. La respuesta es: Estamos llamados a ayudar a todos los hijos de Dios, sobre todo, no limitar nuestra ayuda y bendiciones únicamente a los miembros de la familia. Así pues, cada año espero hacer algo en mi propia comunidad y también un proyecto en las misiones. Es tan fácil, especialmente en tiempos difíciles económicamente a centrarse en nosotros mismos. Ese no es el camino del Evangelio. Exactamente cuando estábamos más desesperados, Dios nos envió Su mejor regalo inesperado, a Jesús como Salvador. Hay un dicho: Estados Unidos estornuda, Mexico es la neumonía. Creo que el P.. Simon y yo somos como un tazón de sopa de pollo. No vamos a resolver todas las dificultades, pero espero que de algo de comfort. 

Creo que también será útil para ver el lado no turístico de Mexico. Vamos a visitar las partes de Mexico, donde han sido invitados y que es preciso que pueda bendiga. Tengo amigos que me han enseñado sobre los muros, las piscifactorías, y la perforación de pozos. Tenemos acceso a una comunidad de fe que saben acerca de los lotes la economía de los EE.UU. y, posiblemente, puede poner que la sabiduría al servicio de los pobres. Por ejemplo, algunas hermanas de Corea han establecido una dinámica de cooperación en el sur de Mexico producción de aceite de sésamo. No están seguros sobre la forma de mercado. ¿No sería un gran apoyo a las empresas que pagan un salario justo en Mexico y permitir que más mexicanos puedan ganarse la vida digna en su propio país? 

También vamos a visitar un centro de refugio que hemos establecido en Ixtepec, Oaxaca. Fr. Alejandro Solalinde hace un trabajo heroico y santo ministerio a los más desesperados de los migrantes en este lugar de respiro. Que los ministros en el nombre de 21 diócesis en Mexico y con el apoyo financiero de ninguna. Somos lo que él 8000 cepillos de dientes, 450 linternas y como muchos de zapatos tenis utilizan como podemos meter en la Simón Subaru. También estamos a la entrega de $ 8000 que le ha dotado a nosotros en busca de los pobres. Cuando vea las fotos y escuchar sus historias sabrá que el dinero está bien gastado. 

Me parece que viajan en Mexico una delicia. Me acogió como familia por muchos. Ellos comparten generosamente de sus hogares y los hogares y los corazones. Estoy seguro de que descubrirá cosas nuevas y hacer nuevos amigos. Estoy seguro de que el Señor va a cambiar mi corazón maravilloso en muchos sentidos. Me alegro de poder compartir algunas de esto con usted a través de la herramienta moderna de un blog. Es novedad para mí. Que el Señor los bendiga y guía nuestros pasos. Paz, el Padre Bill y Simon.

Meet Fr. Alejandro.

The main purpose of our trip is to visit Padre Alejandro. He is a priest in the Diocese of Tehuantepec in Southern Mexico. He has been working with the migrants coming from Central America for the past few years. It is a lonely and dangerous ministry and our company should be encouraging.

Fr. Alejandro was very pleased to hear that we would be visiting shortly. He truly appreciated the fact that two "gringo" priests would visit him in the deep south of Mexico. He is also encouraged that we would be bringing supplies for the migrants. Thank you to everyone who contributed to his ministry... pictures are on the way.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Sending Mass, St. Angela's in Brea, CA

Greetings from Fr. Bill

Dear friends & family,

I will be leaving this Wed to do some missionary work in Mexico. Contrary to popular misconception, it is not immoral to smile or enjoy yourself while serving the Lord. I plan on having a delightful time!

My traveling companion is Fr. Simon Kim, a fellow priest of the Diocese of Orange, who is studying for his Doctorate @ Catholic University. His thesis is on the interchange of Liberation Theology and the theology of immigrants at our border. This mission should be a blessing to us both. We will be visiting and helping various place of need and ministry along the way. I hope you enjoy the photos, videos and stories. I know we would appreciate the blessing of your prayers.

Padre Bill

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Greetings from Fr. Simon

Dear Friends,

I am delighted that you will be joining us on our mission trip in Mexico. This will be my third time to Mexico. Fr. Bill has traveled so many times to this part of the world that I have now lost count. I am blessed to have such a good friend and travel buddy in the priesthood. We have been to several countries together but this is the first time we are venturing on the road like this. Please pray for us.

I will be blogging most of the time as well as taking videos and photos. This may be the only time you see my face as I will be most likely on the other side of the camera. Don't worry I'm use to that.

Please leave your comments, questions and any other conversation on this site and both Fr. Bill and I will try to respond as quickly as possible.

God Bless,
Fr. Simon