Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Catholic Excursions

                The Catholic faith contains many beautiful practices and beliefs.  One of the things I love so much about the church is the ability to go most anywhere in the world and participate in my faith by immersing myself with the culture’s faith as well. 
A couple of weeks ago, my family and I traveled through parts of Mexico.  In Puerto Vallarta, we took a jeep excursion through the city and the surrounding countryside.  At a stop in a little village, the villagers set up a few tables to sell their creations.  My son bought a few Rosaries for himself and friends.  This seems such a simple transaction, but to look at it a little deeper fills my heart with love.  These women made the Rosaries by hand.  I don’t know if they actually prayed with these Rosary beads; however, I know they pray the Rosary as does my family.  In this, we have a commonality.  In the same village, my husband and other son walked up to the church.  They didn’t get to go inside, but again, they were able to find a common link with the people of the village.  All of us would have loved to attend Mass with them. 
Our next stop was at Hacienda Dona Engracia outside of another village.  I was fascinated by this area.  The first section we looked at was the tequila factory.  The drink here is made of blue agave pictured to the side of this post is the plant and the section of the plant they use for the liquor.  I have never been a fan of tequila until we tasted small samples of the drink.  I was amazed by the smoothness.  It is a recipe that has been handed down the family since at least 1917.
                After the talk and tasting, we were encouraged to look around the hacienda.  I could have spent a couple of days in the area.  My family ate at the little restaurant and had the best tacos, they claim, while I looked around.  There is an area behind the buildings with trails for hiking and biking.  For those who love to shop, a market sat next to the restaurant. 
TheEngracia family has not forgotten where their success lies.  They built an area to give thanks.  I was fascinated by the tiny chapel.  Love radiated from the room.  A familiarity pulled me.  The Bible sat on the alter with the same portrait of Mary that is in my church as well.  The crucifix of our Lord dying for our sins reminded me of Lent even while celebrating my family on vacation.  I went to a kneeler and said some prayers.  I was able to join my prayers with the Engracia’s prayers.
Of all my travels, my favorite activities are when I am able to spend time in a church whether it is enjoying God’s children at Mass or quietly spending time with Him alone.  I have been blessed to enjoy the Cathedral of Saint Paul in Saint Paul, Minnesota; the Basilica in Minneapolis, Minnesota; Mass in Atlanta, Georgia; Everett, Washington, Dublin, California; quiet time in a small church on Catalina Island, and now quiet time in the countryside by Puerto Vallarta. 
Blessings to you all.

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