Friday, April 19, 2013

Catholicism In Mexico

                I love attending Mass at new churches.  Many years ago, I felt like country mouse visiting the big city of Atlanta.  I almost wrecked the rental car on the freeway and after two hours of driving around in circles, I finally found my motel.  (In my defense, the motel changed names after I made reservations, so I was looking for a different sign.)  Across from my accommodations, an old Catholic Church stood inviting weary travelers to daily Mass.  My last morning in the city, I crossed the street to attend church.  As I was greeted by those around my pew, I finally felt comfortable.  I even felt at home.  Since then, I try to stop by a church even if it is just to say a prayer.

                Our second full day in Mexico, we loaded into a bus to drive a couple of hours away to see the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza.  The arrangements were made months in advance, so I was pleasantly surprised when the bus pulled over in a little town next to a Catholic church.  The guild only gave us fifteen minutes to see the structure.  I took the time to pray and take pictures.  I loved the statue of Joseph with all of his tools.  We also stumbled upon a little alcove where the locals participated in Adoration.  Again, I said another quick prayer.


                After this short stop, I noticed this roadside cross.  I loved being in a country where Catholicism dominates the landscape.  At our stop for lunch, a statue of Mary watched over us at the dining hall and another statue of her greeted us at the Tequila shop.


                 On Sunday, we walked about half a mile down the road to a beautiful open air church.  Earlier in the week when we visited the church, my husband checked out the Mass times.  We were surprised to see Mass halfway done.  He asked and they have an English Mass in between the two Spanish masses that they don’t show on the board.  Opps.  We opted to wait instead of joining late.  I am so glad we did.

                I know absolutely no Spanish.  I followed along as well as possible with the English program and readings.  Within the first ten minutes, I felt the Holy Spirit descend upon me.  I felt God’s arms wrap around me.  My eyes became misty when a young family prepared their baby boy for baptism.  I hummed along to the music.  I loved the experience.  My husband turned to me and whispered that just weeks prior this was the type of Mass Pope Francis I performed in Argentina.  My experience couldn’t have been any better unless I were at the Vatican. 


               At this church, I loved the Stations of the Cross and the picture of Mary shown here to the left of the alter.  We have one of those at my church.  I felt very much at home here even with the language barrier.
                  Blessings to you all.

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