|This is the chalice that was donated. |
A chalice is a cup-shaped vessel or goblet used at Mass
to contain the Precious Blood of Christ.
The parish that we work out of here in Santa Rosa has one main church in the center of town and is surrounded by 41 additional chapels that range from about 10 minutes away up to about 2 1/2 hours away. One of the newest chapels is one under construction in a small village called La Esperanza, translated as "The Hope". This small community of about 25 families started building this chapel for their community about 1 1/2 years ago. They have raffles and bingos and other fundraisers just like every other church I can think of as a way to raise funds for the construction. We have been here about 6 months and still have not been able to visit all of the 41 communities yet. So, one day in March, I received an email from our FMC leadership stating that a generous donor in Louisiana had donated a chalice and they were looking for a good home for it in the mission field. I saw the email but thought to myself, this will probably get taken before I can arrange anything with the parish priest. Nevertheless, I contacted Fr. Geison (Jason) and asked him if he knew of a community that did not yet have a chalice for their chapel. He immediately answered back with the community of "The Hope" or La Esperanza. I responded back to our FMC leadership with the information and was very blessed to find out that it had not been spoken for and made arrangements for it to come down with a short-term mission trip that we hosted in April.
When the chalice arrived, I was able to present it to Fr. Jason, and we soon after made plans for a mass to present it to the community of La Esperanza and to bless the chalice during mass. The day was set for Thursday, May 19th. This particular community only gets to celebrate mass on the 1st and 3rd Thursdays of each month at 4pm. It is not a great time for mass, but the chapel, as of yet, does not have electricity and it gets dark here at 6pm so a 4pm mass is the best that is available, for now.
The day arrived and we headed out to the chapel, following Fr. Stward in his truck as we had never been there before and he had another mass afterward in another community at 5pm.
|The picture doesn't do the road justice...|
it is a bumpy, hilly, slippery 30-minute drive out to La Esperanza
|Before mass, Father Stward asked me to give some background on the chalice|
When we arrived at the chapel after a wild 30-minute ride in the rain on a bumpy, twisty, hilly, slippery road, Fr. Stward asked me to provide some background on the donation. I started by introducing myself and Karen and by explaining that as missionaries, a lot of what we do is to receive what is given to us and to remain docile to The Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit moves where, when and how He will, and then we give when, where and how He guides us to. So, in this case, I did my part in receiving this chalice from the generous donor and was there to give it to this community. I had received background information on the donor which was strikingly similar to the people in the community that is receiving the donation. He was born into a family that had a sugar cane farm...many of the people in this community have sugar cane farms. He had to drop out of school at a young age to help out on the family farm and because of this never learned to read...many of the people in this community have dropped out of school to work on their family farm and never learned to read. He had to take over the family farm at the age of 22 when his father died...many people in this community have had to take over their family farms when their parents pass on. He also worked in construction for a number of years...many people in this community work in construction as well. I was really blown away by how many similarities there were between the donor and the people receiving this donation. The Holy Spirit knew! He always knows!!! I asked the community to pray for the repose of the donor's soul, for his family, and for safety from hurricanes for the whole of Louisiana.
After my intro, the mass started and it had a special addition in the middle where the chalice was blessed for use.
|The blessing of the chalice for use in the Mass|
|The chalice in use during the Mass|
|The community of La Esperanza|
After mass, we asked Fr. Stward and the community to pose for a picture with the new chalice. The people were so happy and came up to take a closer look. They were so amazed by how beautiful it is. The community welcomed us to join with them in sharing a small meal together. It was such a blessed event and I felt very fortunate to play a small part in connecting this wonderful donation with this beautiful community.
So, as we approach the feast of Pentecost in a few weeks, I ask you to join me in a Novena to the Holy Spirit starting on May 27th, 2022, and each subsequent year starting on the Friday of the 6th week of Easter. Here is the link to a version of the novena: https://www.praymorenovenas.com/novena-to-the-holy-spirit
Please pray for our family, for this mission, for our mission partners in Team Carmody, for all the missionaries in FMC, for each of us to be more docile to The Holy Spirit, and for a renewal of The Church in the world, in the U.S., and in Costa Rica. Also, please pray for more priestly vocations in this diocese, the Diocese of Ciudad Quesada, and the Archdiocese of Detroit.
Good news on that front, Fr. Stward, who is in charge of priestly vocations for the diocese, mentioned that 16 young men recently attended the first diocesan vocational retreat. This was a huge number compared to years past so please keep the prayers coming!
One last note, the community invited us back for a bingo fundraiser they are having on June 12th at 2pm. Please pray that it is successful and that they can finish the chapel with windows, doors, pews, tiles for the floor, and lights.
Peace in Him,
We'd love to hear from you via email:
If the Holy Spirit is nudging you to support us financially so that we can continue serving those in need, please visit:
or call Family Missions Company at
(337) 893 - 6111.
Thank you and may God bless you and all those
you hold dear to your heart!