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Turn to Jesus (Article)

Malinalco Missions… Live!
YouTube video captures colorful footage from an annual international mission in Mexico.

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Hard at work on the elementary school in El Puentecito.

April 26, 2011. Malinalco, Mexico. What is it like to go on a mission in a small town in Mexico?  A YouTube video captures the sights and sounds of the first half of the week-long mission, which ran from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday.

The annual Malinalco Mission is just one of many Holy Week missions that take place throughout Mexico. Each year, missionaries gather in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City for a kick-off Mass, receiving their missionary crosses before setting out for their mission sites. After the missions, they all return to Mexico City for the concluding Mass at the Anáhuac University campus in northern Mexico City on Easter Sunday. This year, over 15,000 missionaries went on missions in various Mexican towns.
View the video here.
Hands-on service

Missions in Malinalco have been running for the last 18 years guided by
Everyone pitches in to build new bathrooms in the school.
a group of Mexican,  and more recently, American and Chilean families who have committed to the people of the town. Over the years, the missionaries have carried out numerous service projects for the local people: they helped an organization that improves education in the public schools, restored a neighborhood chapel in Tlecuilco and landscaped its garden, invited a group of religious sisters from Chile, the Sisters of the Good Samaritan, to work in the town (they are currently building a House for the Sick), and worked with an institution that provides better nutrition to malnourished children, among other projects.
This year, the group of 96 missionaries, 66 of whom were Americans, joined forces with another group of about 60 missionaries from Mexico to tackle three service projects: first, in order to help create jobs for the very poor in the town, the missionaries have been partnering with a
Two examples of the handmade rosaries that will help some of Malinalco's poor find gainful employment.
local organization that trains the people to do arts and crafts. The first project is to produce museum-quality rosaries with a local design. The resources from selling the rosaries will then go to create more jobs for the poor, thus helping to break the cycle of poverty. During the mission, the bishop of Tenancingo, Raúl Gómez González, came to the rosary-making workshop, “El Rincon de Malinalco” to bless the premises and the project.
A second, more hands-on service project was focused on fixing up a local elementary public school in a town called El Puentecito. Since the school had no running water, the missionaries built bathrooms and installed all of the plumbing and new toilets and sinks. They also painted the school, built a sidewalk leading to the front door, changed the windows (many were broken), and put tar on the roof.
Third, the missionaries continued
Oriental kings join the missionaries outside the newly restored school.
an ongoing project in the nearby town of Tlecuilco, where for the past two years they have been restoring a small hillside chapel and landscaping its garden. This year, the missionaries weeded and cleaned the garden, painted the chapel inside and out, and put tar on the roof.
In addition to the service projects, the missionaries, including two consecrated women, Lucy Honner and Fernanda Paez, went door to door to invite people to the Holy Week liturgies and to confession with the local parish priest, Fr Sergio Ramos, and three Legionary priests: Fr Paul Moreau, Fr Andreas Schöggl, and Fr Peter Devereux. Sometimes the house calls were just opportunities to talk, pray and share with the local townspeople. Since some missionary families have been coming for years, they have had the chance to form relationships with some of the people. Along the way, there were spontaneous acts of
The winning team from the Malinalco soccer tournament.
consideration, such as the wooden ramp that some missionaries built for a handicapped man in a wheelchair to be able to get in and out of his house more easily.
Evangelization through sports

Led by Alexander Caraballo and Tim Palmer, both from the Atlanta area, the missionaries also put on a soccer tournament for 250 kids from different communities and small villages. On Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of Holy Week, the missionaries set up training and coaching workshops with the kids, which included talks on virtue and teamwork. On Thursday, the tournament took place in the town stadium. The missionaries from the States had been collecting sports uniforms from parishes and schools that no longer needed them for the past year, so each of the 16 teams in the tournament had its own distinct uniform. During the tournament, there were talks and food and refreshments for the participants, and priests
A friendship forged through shared work and prayer.
attended to the line of people wanting to talk or receive the sacrament of reconciliation.

The theme of this year’s mission was friendship. Roberto and Maria Ines, two of the participants, commented that “the friendships created between the Mexican and American families were close, and there was a lot of support, understanding, and appreciation of the different cultures. There were no obstacles with the language,” they said. “It was an experience of brotherhood.”
The theme of friendships also carried over to the local townspeople; the missionaries came with an attitude of being open to learn from the people of Malinalco, especially from the way they pray  and live their faith with joy and hope.


This year’s pilgrimage group also had a special intention of thanksgiving in their pilgrimage to the nearby Sanctuary of Chalma, the second most important pilgrimage site in Mexico after the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Last year, three of the missionaries’ family members had experienced total recoveries from various ailments, including a boy from one of the Chilean missionary families, Samuel, who suffered an accident and emerged from a three-week coma on the very day that the missionaries prayed for him at Chalma. This year, on Wednesday of Holy Week, the group woke up at 4:30 a.m. and set out on foot for the church. Men, women, and children (those that could) made the 3-hour trek in a spirit of thanksgiving and also of sacrifice, uniting their walk to Jesus’ walk under the weight of the cross.
Footage from the Chalma pilgrimage, and the Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Vigil celebrations will be available for viewing with the second YouTube video, which is coming soon.
To learn more about the annual international missions trip to Malinalco, visit this link.



Related links

Helping Hands Medical Missions
St Rafael Guizar y Valencia Missionary Center

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