FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF ST. SIMON OF CYRENE
In my last message, I promised to share updates and stories from Mission Tradition apostolates around the world. That’s what I’ll do today. But first, I wanted to explain why Mission Tradition has chosen “Help Us Carry the Cross” as our campaign theme as we seek the support of Catholic friends like you this Lent.
When any faithful Catholic thinks of helping to carry the cross, one historical figure comes to mind: St. Simon of Cyrene.
We don’t know much about Simon, but as the Gospel of Mark tells us: “And they forced one Simon, a Cyrenian who passed by, coming out of the country, the father of Alexander and of Rufus, to take up his cross.” (Mk 15:21)
Simon didn’t want to carry the cross, but once pressed into service, he did his duty faithfully. In these early days of Lent, I believe we can all relate to this! Our penances feel like a burden, and we may even be wondering whether it’s too late to choose something easier. But as the weeks go by and we persevere in mortifications and almsgiving, we’ll find that our burden is becoming lighter.
St. Simon has special significance to Mission Tradition during this campaign. As St. Mark mentions, Simon had two sons named Alexander and Rufus. According to tradition, Mark mentions them because they were disciples of Christ who helped spread the Christian faith in those early days of the Church. Just like us, they were missionaries!
I’m happy to report that our missionary work in Guadalajara, Mexico is going strong, thanks to your prayers and support. In November 2021, our parish was blessed to have another member of the community receive the sacrament of Holy Orders. Rev. Mr. Isaac Diaz Mendoza, FSSP was ordained a deacon at Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary. God willing, he will be ordained a priest this May. He is the third member of the parish to be ordained. Deacon Diaz Mendoza, Fr. Joel Pinto, and Fr. Javier Ruiz Velasco have been friends since high school, and soon all three will be priests of the FSSP. There are several other Mexicans in different stages of formation at both FSSP seminaries.
In September we began the academic year for our candidate program at Casa Cristo Rey. This year of preparation to enter the seminary focuses heavily on acquiring the needed proficiency in English. The candidates also learn valuable study skills while they take courses in Church history, literature, spirituality, philosophy, Latin, and Gregorian chant. This year, we received two students from Costa Rica for the first time. In the future, we hope to be able to attract more students from the rest of Latin America.
Hoping to continue strengthening and expanding our pre-seminary program, we have been making improvements and additions to our house. We’ll also be exploring the possibilities of acquiring land and embarking on building projects. God´s Providence is amazing! Just when things seemed to be getting more difficult, a variety of offers of donations began to arrive. We hope that we’ll soon be able to announce the start of building projects.
You may have heard that after the publication of the motu proprio Traditiones Custodes in July 2021, there was concern that our apostolate in Guadalajara would be shut down completely. I’m eager to share with you the story of how Our Lady watched over us during this time, and why we’re hopeful that our apostolate will continue to thrive in the face of obstacles. But I’ll save that for my next message.
Thank you for supporting our apostolate. Please remember to include Mission Tradition in your Lenten almsgiving! #helpcarrythecross