This Sunday evening we returned to the Mision San Andres. It is on the far north side of Lima. In May of last year I was adopted as a “godfather” of this new congregation. Fr. Benjamin Salas and his wife Livia so faithfully pastor this flock. Polly and I went with Bishop Godfrey to bless the new building and to celebrate the first communion of ten young people.
20 months ago this was a bare piece of ground atop a hillside reached by a “goat path.” Then they put up a tent. Next they erected a building of poles, matting and a tarp. Now they have a small wooden “capilla” (chapel).
Polly and I found the tiny chapel full of fervent and busy children and adults. They packed themselves in while milling around Benjamin and the Bishop. We had an informal music practice. I think that there were over forty in the building and many more standing outside listening. Bishop Bill hung up his robes next to a wonderful new painting of San Andres (St. Andrew). We all robed and off we went.
It seems to me that this was a foretaste of heaven as Communion is meant to be. The dirt floor cannot be much changed from the type of place where Jesus ministered. The lighting was daylight from under the eaves and the doorway. Those who could, sat on crude benches; the rest stood. What does it take to celebrate? We had bread, wine and the Bible. Father Benjamin and I played the music on guitar and banjo. We were many more than “two or three gathered in His name.” There he was in the midst of us – JESUS – Lord of His Church. Alleleuia!
After the celebration, Livia shared papas huancaina – boiled potato slices on lettuce with a pepper sauce. We ran out of plates so people ate off their hands sitting on the terraced hillside. The food ran out, so they ate bean stew that miraculously appeared.
Eventually we came down from the “mountain” – this goat path is now well trodden, but still steep! As night fell, we said many fond farewells. The same city (Lima) awaited us, but I know I was changed. We had met Jesus on the mountain. Heaven came down and surrounded us. WOW!
Click on a picture to enlarge – they are worth it