Being missionaries in a country like Mexico, which covers 1,964,375 km², means having the heart to proclaim the Gospel not only in the outskirts of the capital, where our Texcoco Community is located, but also in rural areas where mainly indigenous people live. Here, priests are responsible for many communities and can hardly meet the pastoral needs of such vast and populated territories.
Thus, in different periods of the year, with a few dozen laypeople, we go to the poorest and most remote areas to carry out our missionary service, where people do not have the opportunity to have the permanent presence of a priest and receive the necessary spiritual nourishment to quench their thirst in faith.
Tumbalà is one of the places we have gone to. It is a municipality in the forested area of Chiapas, southern Mexico. Most of the journey consists of bumpy roads, and you arrive at your destination after 12 hours by bus and 6 hours by vans, usually used for transporting goods. We were welcomed by a priest who serves more than 70 communities, most of which are scattered in the mountains of the vast territory entrusted to him. Many of them can only be visited once a year.
In this village, we were asked to organize a spiritual retreat for young people who were preparing to walk 900 km on a pilgrimage to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
We knew it wouldn’t be easy since not everyone spoke Spanish, and we needed a translator. We were expecting more young people than those who had already signed up, but we were aware that it wouldn’t be easy: many of them typically walk six hours just to get to church from their villages!
Later, during their pilgrimage, they called us to let us know that they had completed their 900 km journey to the Sanctuary of Guadalupe and that they would return to the village, taking turns carrying the lit torch back to the Marian shrine.
What a testimony! What strength! What faith! These young people had set aside the money they earned throughout the year by selling coffee, which may also end up on our tables in Europe. They did not do it to go on vacation, but to go on a pilgrimage to Our Lady of Guadalupe, to bring her light to their village and remind everyone that we have a common mother who loves and guides us.