This last week, a mission team with medical staff and priests and students from Franciscan University at Steubenville came to the parish here in Puerto Quito. I was a companion/guide for one of the groups that would go out to the villages, and on one day, I went with a group to a village called Piedra de Vapor (Rock of Vapor). After arriving at the little chapel San Pedro (St. Peter’s) and getting settled in at the local little school, at one point I went with some of the kids and the Franciscan students to see the Piedra. We couldn't wade out to the large Piedra in the middle of the river, but I took this picture after the group climbed up on this other rock. It’s as if you can see the church – from the US and Ecuador – standing together on the rock, isn’t it? On this rock I will build my church. (Mt 16:18) Little did we know that just as this picture was being taken, Pope Francis from the Americas was being chosen! The smoke came up 20 minutes later in Rome. We all found out afterwards. This is where I was when we first heard the news from one of the missionaries. We were watching the movie about St. Philip Neri and his ministry to the poor children of Rome on a smartphone taped to a speaker stand!
This is what I want, a poor church for the poor.
" - Pope Francis
Afterwards, we gathered around a little TV with rabbit-ear-like reception in someone’s home to watch the Pope’s first words, we were all very excited. As you might expect, people here are happy that the new pope is from Latin America, but then life, a difficult life, goes on as usual. But the visit was a great, great gift, and hopefully something to continue to build on :)… I hope to post more soon!