Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas note from Dominican Mission in Mexicali, Mexico

I received a Christmas note from Br. Corwin Low OP, and reproduce it here. Some of you might recognize Fr. Bart!

Christmas 2010
Dear Friends and Family,

Believe it or not, I'm in my 5th year as a Dominican. In this year of formation ( out of 8) we suspend our studies in order to get "real world" experience. Although I do not discount the value of academic work, from my years in corporate America I have always recognized that theory is one thing but reality is quite another-and yet we live in the real world. I was surprised at my assignment however. While I have been studying Spanish over the last year, I didn't think it was sufficient to warrant a year working in a parish in Mexico; but my superiors thought to the contrary.

As a Type-A perfectionist it hasn't been an easy transition. For one thing, it's difficUlt to express your opinion if you lack the ability to speak. But at the same time I've seen and experienced so many things that I woUld never have if I had been dropped into a safe, familiar (and therefore easy) situation. Had I not yielded to the wisdom of my superiors I woUld have never understood it.

One of my ministries is to visit the parish neighborhood called Villa Zapata (picture with a portion of the community is attached). It is far from the center of Mexicali and is remote enough that it lacks basic necessities. Electricity is only now being installed; and there is no water. When I arrived there was no shelter from the heat of more than 120° Fahrenheit (49° Celsius). But now in the winter it has dropped to 35° (4°) at night. While that might not seem overly cold to you, it is to the people here because their houses are made from little more than discarded factory palettes and no insUlation. Lately we've been distributing blankets and warm clothing to help get people through the nights, particUlarly with the vicious winds of the desert. One particUlarly heart-wrenching case is a house (actuallya shack) of 6 children. The eldest is 13. They lost their mother last summer and their father abandoned them long ago. Neighbors take turns keeping an eye on them, but it isn't really sufficient. There are cases similar to this throughout the community, though this is perhaps the worst. It is gratifying to see their smiling faces when we show up.

Because I don't have papers to write or hundreds of pages to read, I actually do have time to work on some web sites. This keeps me a little more hands-on with technology in a place where technology up to the point I got here was little more than a typewriter and a photocopier. How's that for cUlture shock? I've been keeping a web log (address below) and I've been generating content for our mission website ( I woUld very much enjoy it if you take a look. I am eager to get feedback on them and I am continually updating them. So keep coming back!

So in a nutshell, Mexicali has been good work and good for me. I especially enjoy assisting at bringing the sacraments to the people. They truly desire it them. I've only now just started preaching in Spanish, but the early feedback has been positive-a good sign from a people who are usually reserved with such things. And, bey eve it or not, I'm still singing. ..

Br Corwin Low, OP

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