With open arms and dancing feet, the Vincentian Family of Italaque, Mocomoco and El Alto greeted Father Gregory Gay, C.M., Superior General of the Congregation of the Mission and spiritual head of the worldwide Vincentian Family. From April 9 – 14, he visited with confreres, Daughters of Charity, members of other Vincentian family organizations, and the people we serve.

In every location, he showed interest and support. First, in the parish of Mocomoco, where he was welcomed by the parish youth, he was adorned with flowers and feted with traditional dance. He shared meals and conversation with Diego, Flora and I, celebrated Sunday Mass, and then accompanied me on a visit to the community of Ajial.

Monday, we headed back to El Alto for a wonderful Eucharistic celebration with the Vincentian youth and the Daughters of Charity. We ended the evening at dinner with the Daughters. Tuesday, Greg visited with Bishop Jesús Juarez. After that visit and a conversation with the confreres, he gave us permission to expand our ministry into the parish of Umanata. Hopefully, this will eventuate in the Vincentians sending more missionaries to serve full time once again with the people of that region. Umanata was previously in the care of the Vincentians and is now without a priest.

Tuesday afternoon, we headed to Cariquina, to meet Cyril, Emilio and Violeta (pastoral agent in Italaque) at the weaving cooperative — the prototyp for part of Project Sayt’asim that’s just begun there. Fascinating! Then, on to Italaque for supper and conversation.

Early Wednesday morning, we headed to El Alto and on to a plane for Cochabamba. Greg spent a day and a half with many of the Vincentian groups, most importantly, the first pastoral visit to our new mission in Huayllani. You could tell he was so happy to see our confreres at work there.

Thursday night, we flew back to El Alto, and I saw him off at five in the morning for his journey to the USA. A brief but joy-filled visit for us all. What follows is a short movie of his time in El Alto and our parishes. There’s a photo gallery for you to enjoy, too, but no pictures of Cochabamba (I forgot the camera!) The sisters took pictures, so I’ll try and get Hna. Carmen to send me some and update the gallery.