February 1 2015
Reflections on La Mesa trip February 1, 2015
This trip to la Mesa was a burden of trepidation to some degree on my part. I was really concerned that we would find that the school was under great duress and struggling to continue, which we found to be true. Yet the reality we discovered was a blessed deep breath of fresh air. There were plenty of difficulties apparent, but that they were being faithfully dealt with on a daily basis with wonderful result. We were grateful to see nearly 100 students being cared for by Santos de la Cruz and his staff of graduates, certainly operating with great faith as they continued the work of Padre Pascual with very little in the way of financial or material support. The days we spent with Santos and the students were productive and enlightening, full of insight as to the direction of the school as well as in defining many ways we can help both spiritually and physically.
God continues the work in beautiful ways and is clearly defining a new independence from the constrictions and power struggles imposed by the Catholic Church. Months our friend school and current school director Santos had warned us that the Bishop intended to close the school and use the facility for other purposes. Upon Padre’s death, an Alumni Association was formed explicitly for the purpose of continuing Padre’s work- spiritual and functional education for the Cora, Huichol, Mexicanaro, and Tepijuan students. This turned out to be a stroke of genius as the intentions of the Catholic Diocese became known, had there not been a legal entity prepared to assume responsibility for the operation of the school it would by now be closed. The combined abilities of the alumni prevented closure, and they currently continue to strengthen the legal status as they work to form an educational non-profit corporation. In addition, the entire battle was waged with the allied support of Cora Tribal leadership, who own the ground upon which the school is built, and demanded that the school must continue without the Catholic Church.
These developments are astounding in that the Catholic Church with its’ considerable resource base is usually all powerful and adept at getting what it wants. There is palpable discontent with Catholicism as a result of these battles, since funding for the school was never provided by the Church itself, rather through generous gifts from Catholic patrons. These families and individuals were pressured by the Bishop to cease support, and have obeyed completely, thus attempting to terminate 45 years of freedom through education begun by the Padre. This has resulted in school alumni disillusionment with the Church, but no diminishment of faith in the leading of Christ. They clearly sense the hand of God directing them to continue the work begun by Padre Pascual.
With independence from the Church and the absence of Padre comes an unsurprising void in spiritual direction and leadership. As director, Santos has a strong desire to continue in the tradition of Christ leading the way. He has extended an invitation to assist the school in development of Bible study. We are ecstatic for this opportunity, it represents an amazing continuation of Padres’ evangelism. The openness to further study also opens the possibility of a new venue of shared discipleship with the fellowship of Centro Cristiano Church in Coferadia at the base of the mountains. This is a great new focus of ministry for those equipped to share the love of Christ in discipleship. We believe a great work of the Lord is upon the school and the peoples of the Sierra Madres’.