Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Mission is Not History

Recently I was blessed to have the opportunity to spend a weekend in San Antonio, Texas. Sunday afternoon, I took a stroll through some of the old Franciscan Missions. Despite our country's obsession of not mixing Church and State. These missions are operated by the Catholic Church as parishes in the Archdiocese and jointly owned and maintained by the U.S. Government's National Park Services.  Not sure how that is but it seems to work...
At Mission San Jose, I enjoyed walking the ancient walkways and admired the beutful structures some of which have withstood time while other parts have been restored. I breathed in the living history that was around me. I was able to receive a Parks Service guided tour with a number of other visitors. While on the tour, an interesting thought occurred to me - the overriding theme on the tour was that the missions in the U.S. were something of our past - they are part of our ancient history. We can see and read about them but the tour guide seemed to indicate that this was something we had moved beyond in this country...
As a member of Glenmary Home Missioners, I can attest that the mission is not dead, the mission is not accomplished, it is not just a history lesson. The mission is alive and the words of Glenmary's founder are still as pertinent today as they were 75 years ago; “There was never a time when missionary activity was more needed in our beloved land than it is today.” Glenmary serves the rural and neglected areas of "Mission Land USA." We may not be the first missioners to serve the mission areas of the U.S. but we continue to be the only Catholic missionary congregation dedicated to serve the mission need exclusively in the United States. The task at hand is enormous but like the early missioners, we move into one area at a time and are slowly bringing a Catholic presence to every county in the U.S.
Mission San Jose

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