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Maya Monthly February 2016

Feb 19, 2016

WHY THE MINISTRY AT OASIS SAN JUAN IS LIKE NO OTHER

 

I had just finished my Sunday morning Mass with the “good” Sisters down the street.It went o.k. I thought a little too serious as I had talked about “vocation” – our call to accept ourselves, our call to be Christians and then our call to accept whatever God is calling us to this moment. It was early and I wasn’t sure if the nuns or even myself were awake enough to understand what all of that meant. I soon found out.

 

2016-Feb-jI was on my way to Oasis San Juan – a center for HIV AIDS people at the edge of Merida in the city of Conkal. It reminds me a lot of a Leper colony – on the outskirts of town. Very few people stop by and those who do who are afraid they will catch “the disease.” I volunteered to say Sunday mass there about 15 years ago when I found out the bishop wouldn’t assign anyone because there were gay people there. I think I know now know what Pope Francis thinks of that. I’m glad I decided to take this ministry. It has been an incredible learning experience and unbelievable ministry for me.

 

Last Sunday was no exception. I noticed as we arrived that there was an “ataud” in front of the plastic table we use as an altar. That’s a coffin. There were more flowers than usual around the altar. There usually aren’t any. I knew someone had died. But I didn’t who.

 

There were some women I didn’t recognize at the side of the porch – our “chapel”. I headed for the ataud and asked Maria who is the unofficial administrator, who had died. She said Luis Antonio. I didn’t recognize that name and when I looked through the little window on the casket, the dead person certainly didn’t look like a Luis Antonio but rather a woman. Maria then mentioned, the deceased was also known as Rubi.

 

2016-Feb-lBy this time, most of the regular patients had arrived. Abril wanted to celebrate her Quinceanos or 15th birthday . Somehow I would have to include her in the Misa. Abril is a beautiful young lady whose parents have both died. Her only home is Oasis San Juan. A young girl’s 15th birthday is special in Mexico. How Abril manages to smile day in and day out, I will never know. She deserved and needed a moment of joy!

 

Poncho showed up a few minutes later. He has been at Oasis since its founding. He had a stroke a few years ago and doesn’t speak. But his gestures say it all. He is grateful for every day. He makes me thankful just to be alive!

 

It was time for Mass to start. I wondered about starting the Mass with the usual song: “Vienen con Algeria, Senor” (We come with Joy) but that is the only song we know. So we did – no organ or piano, no guitar or drums – ​just everybody singing at the top of their lungs – singing thanks and praise. Thanks Lord for people like Rubi, and Abril, and Poncho. I sang thanking God for having a ministry which is so special and I sang thanking God for you!

 

Just about every week, when I leave the nuns to go to Oasis on Sunday morning, I ask myself: “Is this all worth it? What am I doing here?” When I remember people like Rubi, and Abril and Poncho, and you, I know it is well worth it. I will keep going! Thanks for this opportunity.

 

2016-Feb-i     2016-Feb-k

 

Paz y amor,

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