Holy Week Mission on Detachment in Mexico


Nearly 60 young adults participated in a Holy Week Mission at the Parish of Our Lady of Lourdes in El Naranjo, San Luis Potosi. The week-long event was sponsored by Fathers Manuel Meza and Urbano Gutierrez, vocations directors for the Province of Mexico. Their vocations team and I also participated.

Naranjo is located in the middle of an area of Mexico called La Huasteca, a tropical area near the Gulf Coast where Black Panther was filmed. The parish is comprised of 18 communities or chapels. Four young people were assigned to each one of the communities. The three Redemptorist priests celebrated the sacraments for each one of the communities.

The theme of the mission was distacco, which of course is the very Alphonsian theme of detachment. The people were invited to “detach” themselves from worldly distractions and focus upon the celebration of Holy Week. Most of the communities have never had a celebration of the Eucharist during Holy Week.

La Huasteca is a very poor region of Mexico. Most of the homes have dirt floors and lack indoor plumbing, but as you can imagine the biggest sacrifice for the young missionaries was … NO INTERNET!! That was their distacco. Most communities have a primary school that ends with fifth grade. After that, the young people either head to the city or begin to work in the fields. The main crop of the area is sugar cane, which is all cut, bundled and loaded onto trucks by hand. Most of the men have eight-month farm worker visas to work in the USA, leaving the women and children to work in the fields. Poverty, family separation and drug abuse are the biggest problems facing the region.

The mission focused upon the celebration of the great events of Holy Week. Each community began the day with the group reciting a rosary in the streets at 6:30 in the morning. During the day there were mission talks for three groups: children, youth, and adults. The schedules of the priests determined the celebration of the Eucharist.

As Redemptorists, we are called not simply to evangelize, but also to be evangelized. I believe that the young missionaries were evangelized by the poor of La Huasteca. The young certainly evangelized this old Redemptorist missionary from the USA. Their enthusiasm and love of the Alphonsian charism was contagious.

La Huasteca is an area blessed with fertile soil and many rivers. Several beautiful waterfalls are tourist attractions. We spent the morning of Holy Saturday appreciating the beauty of the area and shared a picnic lunch.

Fr. Patrick Keyes, C.Ss.R.
(Courtesy: North American Conference of Redemptorists Facebook page)