The death of beloved Fr. Elias in December made us aware that many of our newer supporters are not familiar with the history of the Casa Franciscana Mission. It is the
story of the resurrection and hope of the Guaymas poor, an appropriate reflection for Easter, the resurrection of Christ, the hope of the world.In 1969, the bishop of Obregon,
MX appealed to the Province of St. Barbara, CA. He asked for a priest to minister to the pastoral needs of the North American winter visitors in San Carlos, the beautiful
It could have been a “cushy” job but that is not what the Franciscans do. So the Province agreed with the caveat that they could also serve the poor in Guaymas, a fishing community suffering from growing industrial pollution, a high illiteracy rate and over fishing.The first friar to arrive was Fr. Fidel. Quickly, realizing the dire need, he convinced the Province to send help. The selfless friars that followed planted the seed for the many successful programs that we have today.
The stories abound of lives changed; lives saved and the restoration of faith. Juana, who had polio, received
crutches from Fr. Marty that enabled her to go to school. Then she had surgeries through our Shriners program. A mother and her five daughters escaping from violence in Culiacan received help to start new lives. Rachel, who learned to play the violin with Br. Ivo’s mariachi band, is now a popular musician. Not all the accounts had happy endings but all had God’s hand. Adam, the eight year old who died of
AIDS, received physical and spiritual comfort through Fr. Martin. Also, the community grasped awareness of the dreadful disease.
Streets in Guaymas are named after some of these holy brothers; miracles are attributed to them. I feel that “I am not worthy to unloose their sandal straps” (loose quote of Luke 3:16) but proud to be part of this extraordinary Mission. You, too, should be proud of your role, a crucial one. You are instruments of God’s love. May you feel the hope of the Resurrection this Easter and the joy of your good works.
Peace and all good,
Fr. Tommy King, OFM