We passed the halfway point on our pilgrimage and spent today relocating for week 2. We had to say goodbye to our hosts the Hermanas Marianas who treated us so well. We are now at a hotel near the United States embassy where we went to a dinner with our new host and were treated by some guests passing by.
(Scott Padernos from Duluth enjoys the mariachi.)
This next week will we will be with “Butch” Murphy who is involved with Renewal Ministries from Michigan. He comes down here once every 12 weeks and has made almost 80 trips to Mexico over the last fourteen years serving the poor who live in the garbage dump. We will be going with him to meet some great people and hear what they are doing. He said that he has gotten over the idea that “we are coming to help” because he said the poor are tough and can get what they need. Instead, he comes now into a “raging fire with a shot-glass of water” to be with his brothers and sisters.
The rest of the day was for us to experience downtown Mexico City first with Mass at the Cathedral of Mexico City.
Above: the sanctuary. Below: half of the organ which is so big, it is in the center of the church.
The Cathedral itself is fairly simple, but the side chapels are incredible.
We were even surprised to find that the noon Mass was celebrated by the Cardinal Archbishop of Mexico City, Cardinal Carlos Aguiar Retes. Fr. Floeder even got a picture with him in the sacristy and said he was really friendly.
After Mass, we were free to walk around Mexico City. A few of us went to see some churches such as the Church of San Francisco (Saint Francis). It was a beautiful surprise just off the streets that could be US malls with how Americanized the music, sights, and people looked.
Below: there were 6 massive oil paintings of the life of Saint Francis that filled the walls of the church. Saint Francis is very important in Mexico because members of his order, the Franciscans, were the first priests in Mexico and came with the Spanish.
We also visited a local park near downtown and one of the tallest buildings in Latin America. It is a really different environment: organ grinders playing, people dancing in Aztec garb, kids running in fountains, packs of teens doing “rap battles,” music blasting from all directions in English and Spanish, and lots of honking or dogs barking. Its really overwhelming.
Its also funny: people keep apologizing that its cold this time of year and we have been almost hot at times in the sun which is more intense up here in the higher elevations.
What a beautiful day? Its 66 degrees here and 19 and snowing in St. Paul so…perspective is everything.
On that note, it has been really great the last two days to have Mass at the Shrine of Guadalupe and now the Cathedral. Even though it is a different language, the Mass is the same here and at home. It is a connection that is comforting and one always feels at home in the Mass because it is universal. We don’t have to worry when even going a few miles away that the Mass will be completely different in everything. This is one of the beauties of being able to be united in worshiping with all the other pilgrims and natives at the Cathedral. While Mexican culture is very different and overwhelming, we have a common language in the Mass and in love of Our Lord Jesus.