It was 1979 when we opened our first missions in Mexico, in Temascalapa, about a 90-minute drive from Mexico City, and Buenavista Tomatlán, near Guadalajara. Both were sprawling rural parishes with multiple chapels serving thousands of Catholic families.
In both places, we did what we do best: foster a missionary spirit in the laity. We developed retreats for the young people and trained them how to bring the retreats to others; we trained teams of men and women to bring the Eucharist to the sick and elderly and to prepare the people to receive the Sacraments; we called forth catechists from the most remote communities to ensure that the people could hear the Word of God every week even when the priest could not come to celebrate Mass. And, when we had done all we could, we returned the parishes to the care of their respective dioceses….and began again in other places!
Today, seven Missionary Servants have the pastoral care of Parroquia San Martín Caballero (St. Martin of Tours) in Iztapalapa, the most remote “borough” in Mexico City, and of Parroquia Niño Jesús (Child Jesus Parish) in Chimalhuacán, in the neighboring state.
One of our first priests to serve in Mexico tells the story of the time he was preaching a small rural chapel. During his homily, he posed a rhetorical question: “Who are the poor?” He was both surprised and humbled when, from the front row, a woman answered quietly: “The poor are those who don’t know God.”
In that guileless, direct reply we find the heart and soul of the Mexican people we have served. Amid their own material poverty and suffering, they know that they are not really poor in the thing that matters most — their love of God.
Through the years, we have nurtured this spirituality, and empowered the people with the sure knowledge that they, too, are called through baptism to be a missionary in their daily life. Thanks to your support, we have brought — and continue to bring — the Good News of the Gospel to the Mexican people we have been called to serve during the past three decades.