Not so Different…besides the snow

Hmm…waking up today to 3 degrees wasn’t the most pleasant, but what do you do.

While our pilgrimage to Mexico may be over, the next few days still are part of connecting what we experienced to ministry here in the US. We headed a few minutes down the road to Saint Stephen’s parish in Minneapolis. In many ways, there were a lot of similarities.

The church was really full, but apparently it is normally even more full than what it was.

Even in the US, Our Lady of Guadalupe is central to devotion since she is a sign that God loves His people. On the cross, Jesus said “behold your mother” to the Beloved Disciple, John who in a way stands for us. At the same time, Jesus says “behold your son” so Mary looks upon us as her children. In the image of Guadalupe, Our Lady comes and not only looks on her children, but looks like them as well coming as an native. At the same time, she is Mestiza: a descendent of both native and Spanish cultures.

In that spirit, we joined the Latinos at St. Stephen’s for their faith formation and Confirmation classes.

Joseph Littlefield of Fargo shared his vocation story for the adults. The gym was full of families of Hispanic origin who are seeking to grow in their shared Catholic faith as us. They were very happy and supportive to have us be present with them today. Being at Mass too, you could sense how vibrant their faith is. This was very much like our time in Mexico.

We then joined the Confirmation kids.

John Utecht of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis shared his vocation story. The youth have the same challenges as every other kid their age in discerning God’s will for their life. Some of them gave their own testimonies and spoke about how their conversion came with a personal encounter with Jesus in prayer or at a retreat.

Rodrigo Mayorga of Des Moines also shared his vocation story.

We met with Father Williams after class and he spoke beautifully about how much he has loved being at Saint Stephen’s and his heart for evangelization. He credits the vibrancy of the parish to the presence of immigrants and how they are keeping the faith alive in areas where it has been dying for years. He credits this as a gift of God always bringing about growth in the Church where we least expect it like roses growing on a bare hill in December at Tepeyac. Being members of the Body of Christ in the Church is where we find our dignity.

So besides the snow, we have found things in the states not so different as Mexico.

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