I hope and pray that you are having a blessed Lent! Know that with each sacrifice you make and every hardship you patiently bear, you unite yourself with faithful Catholics all around the world as we fulfill our role as the Mystical Body of Christ.
Effect of the motu proprio
You may recall that after the publication of the motu proprio Traditiones Custodes last year, our Mission Tradition apostolate in Guadalajara gained worldwide attention due to the severity with which this document was implemented in our Archdiocese. But God can use even the biggest problems for His glory—and this incident was no exception!
Immediately after the implementation of the motu proprio, our parishioners responded with visits to the chancery, interviews in the press, and a campaign of letters by children expressing their love for the traditional Latin Mass. We organized a pilgrimage to the Basilica of Our Lady of Zapopan, patroness of the archdiocese, to ask for her protection and to pray for our Pope and Archbishop. Nearly 500 people participated in the 7-kilometer walk. We have also begun a series of local pilgrimages to pray for the same cause and to invoke the heroic witness of the Cristero martyrs who lived through similarly confusing and turbulent times.
Thus, we were delighted when Cardinal José Francisco Robles Ortega accepted an invitation to our house to discuss the situation and to celebrate the erection of a new Way of the Cross in our chapel. The meeting was very positive, and His Eminence expressed an interest in celebrating a pontifical Mass for us. He told us he would amend his decree to leave our quasi-parish intact, at least temporarily. Please join us in praying that His Eminence will soon publish this decree and give us peace of mind that our work here can continue!
Despite the uncertainty of our present situation, I’ll say it again: God can use the biggest problems for His glory. Over the past year, our parish has more than doubled in size with new people arriving each week. Our satellite apostolate in Aguascalientes has also seen considerable growth. Until recently, it was unusual to find people traveling long distances to assist at a Latin Mass. Now, every Sunday, we meet people who have traveled two or three hours to our parish.
Christmas at this thriving parish
As pandemic restrictions disappear and life slowly returns to normal, parish activity is thriving. In October, we bid farewell to Fr. Jesus Valenzuela and welcomed Fr. Hermes Osorio, from Colombia, who joins us from the community Lumen Dei. We have received several other inquiries from priests interested in joining the FSSP.
People participated enthusiastically in our annual All Saints Party and the Masses for All Souls´ Day, which has its own beautiful traditions here in Mexico. We had a big celebration for Our Lady of Guadalupe on her feast day, including a rosary procession, the singing of mañanitas, and, of course, tamales. Throughout 2022, we’ll reopen various groups and apostolates, such as our children´s choir and homeschool cooperative.
During the nine days before Christmas, we organized the traditional posadas, which serve as a novena of preparation and festivity for our community. Each day, a different family hosts the posada and we pray the rosary in procession around their neighborhood. When we arrive at the house, we sing the Litany of Loreto in Latin at the door, followed by the song that portrays St. Joseph requesting lodging for himself and the Blessed Virgin in two choirs—one inside the house and the other outside. Later there are tamales and atole, and usually a piñata.
Every year at Christmas we also organize food and toy distribution to needy families, especially those connected to the orphanage where we serve as catechists. This year we served 25 families, bringing them a Christmas dinner, blankets, basic food and cleaning needs, and toys for the children. The effort is rewarding. The community comes together to prepare the packages, and then we divide into groups to take them to the families. It’s always moving to see the humble conditions in which some people live and the joy and gratitude they show when we arrive.
Making plans for the future
Our future in Guadalajara is still tinged with uncertainty. But we’re preparing for another wonderful Semana Santa with all its beautiful liturgy and local customs. We’re also making plans for the Saint Junipero Serra Institute, our summer Spanish program. And we hope we’ll be able to organize missions again this summer after skipping two summers due to COVID. We also hope to announce soon a Cristero tour to take place in September.
There is so much more I could tell you, but for now, I’ll simply thank you for your support. As we look ahead to many new projects, we hope you’ll continue to support Mission Tradition. We may soon welcome more priests as postulants for the FSSP, which is tremendous news for our apostolate but also increases our expenses. And we still have important repairs to do to our historic eighteenth-century church building (which is the second oldest parish in Guadalajara). Our parish desperately needs to acquire its own space as we always battle to find where to organize our activities. And we must expand Casa Cristo Rey so that we can accommodate more candidates.
Please help us accomplish this important work by sending a sacrificial gift to Mission Tradition. We shall remember your kindness every first Thursday of the month when we offer our Holy Hour and Mass for all our benefactors. May God reward your generosity!