“How do you celebrate Christmas in your village?” I asked Salustino, as we battled December’s icy wind while walking back together to the Columban International Seminary on the south side of Chicago. “After nightfall on Christmas Eve the catechist leads our small community in prayer ….and there are also readings from the Bible and carol singing,” he replied. “So you don’t have Mass?” I inquired with an element of surprise in my voice. “No, a priest comes to our village once a year … or maybe just once every two years,” he added thoughtfully.
A year earlier Salustino Villalobos Mondragon, a Columban seminarian, had come from Peru to Chicago to study English. One of a family of twelve, he had grown up in the village of Agua del Leon in the foothills of the Andes Mountains. At the age of twenty, he traveled a twenty-four hour bus journey from there to Lima, the capital city, in order to pursue his dream of becoming a Columban missionary priest.
When we were children, Lent was a phenomenon that required little thinking or reflection. Our parents, clergy and teachers told us that we had to “give up” something for these few weeks before Easter, in order to become closer to God and understand the suffering of Jesus. That was just the way it was, end of discussion.Read More
To you our God we pray:
May Your Holiness purify me,
your wisdom direct me,
your power sustain me,
Japan is in crisis! There is the pervading fear of earthquakes, tsunami and resulting nuclear radiation. Some nuclear power stations are said to be built over earthquake fault lines. A recent headline in the newspaper read, “320,000 Could Die in a Nankai Trough Earthquake!”Read More