Taking the Mission to Heart

Now that our community is becoming a Mission, over the past few weeks, the Watermark Staff have been attending Safe Environment trainings to make sure that we meet all of the diocesan requirements for working with youth.

The training that I happened to attend was last Tuesday at St. Joseph’s (patron twinsies!) in Mountain View. St. Joseph’s is actually the first Catholic church that was built in the City of Mountain View and it is where Sarah and I occasionally attend Mass when we need to stay local.

After the training as I was walking out, I passed by the large wooden church sign.

My first thought was, “Hey, they became a Mission in 1867!” My second thought was, “Hm, the Chinese community is only…<does math in head>…145 years behind!” My third thought was, “By this logic, we should become a parish by…<does more math in head>…2046!”

All kidding aside, while we may understand the words, “We are becoming a Mission,” and realize that things are changing somehow, for many of us, it still does not really mean a whole lot in our hearts. Even for me, serving on the Pastoral Council of our Mission, I admit that at times, I struggle with finding ownership towards the Mission myself. However, it was this image that really brought it home for me.

I was immediately brought back to the fourth grade when Mrs. Miles taught us all about the California Missions and we took a class field trip to Mission San Juan Bautista where we made adobe bricks by mixing the mud with our feet. I remember feeling such awe at the beauty of the structures – not only the physical buildings, but also their place in history.

As I stood in front of this simple wooden sign, there was something about imagining a sparse pre-Google, orchard filled Silicon Valley landscape in the late 1800’s and a humble church being built to serve the local farming community that helped me understand why this particular mission was needed and why 34 years later, it was elevated to a parish.

Now, 145 years later, God, through the shepherding of Bishop McGrath, has called our community to take an even bigger role in serving the Chinese people in the Diocese of San Jose. With Chinese people making up 20% of the world’s population, the potential of our apostolic mandate is enormous and not for the faint of heart. However, if each one of us (no matter our age) can discover the spark in our heart of what it means to be a part of this Mission, together, we can fan a flame that could change the world.

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One Response to Taking the Mission to Heart

  1. Joanne Chao says:

    Hi Pat,
    Thanks for your reflection. Have been in same boat, trying to internalize exactly what this means now we’ve been elevated to Mission status. Prior to this the only other context I’ve ever had on Missions also were just what we learned in 4th grade (so long ago!) around the California Spanish Missions; there is one just down the street from us–Mission Santa Clara. I wasn’t sure if there was a valid analogy to draw there, but the linkage seems to have spoken to you in a profound way. Perhaps a revisiting on that history could be a helpful source of inspiration for all of us.

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