Photos and reporting by Fr. William Antone, OMI
About 100 men and women, mostly young, some not so young, laypersons, Pre-novices, Scholastics and a few Oblate priests gathered in Mexico City on Friday, April 12 to be sent in various directions in order to serve numerous communities during Holy Week. Among those missioned were three Pre-novices and five Affiliates (young men discerning their vocation) from Tijuana, along with Fr. Bill Antone, OMI, director of the Prenovitiate in Tijuana.
Some were sent to the temperate mountains of Oaxaca to serve in indigenous communities, others to the more tropical, hot and humid communities in the states of Guerrero and Tabasco, as well as to the nearby state of Morelos. They traveled 12 hours by night on buses arriving in the morning hours of Saturday and then were transported by smaller vehicle to their final destinations. The mission experience for all was an experience of encounter and hospitality.
The receiving communities welcomed the Holy Week missionaries then together they experienced the great celebrations of Holy Week that anchor and enlighten us as followers of Jesus. They participated in the various processions and ceremonies of Holy Week (Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday’s Eucharist procession and Foot-washing, Good Friday’s Via Crucis and Adoration of the Cross, and Holy Saturday’s procession of Light, and Renewal of Baptismal Vows). There were activities for children, youth and adults.
The missionaries lived with the families in small villages and towns, accepting their hospitality for their lodging and meals, learned a few phrases perhaps in Chontal or Mixteco, and, like all missionaries, left with hearts filled with gratitude for the example of faith demonstrated by many humble people, and for the new strength, peace and hope given to us by the Risen Christ.
The Holy Week missioning event is sponsored by the Oblate Province of Mexico and organized by the Scholasticate Community in Mexico City.