by Al Ebach, C.PP.S.
Al Ebach smallI have been in Crownpoint a little over a week and have only a few things left to unpack, so I thought I would send everyone an update from New Mexico. I am setting up an office in the front room of my spacious double-wide trailer, which is actually is quite comfortable. Compared to trailers most people live in around this area, I live in luxury. The poverty around here is overwhelming! Since I have arrived I have also been involved with some of the maintenance situations, which is something I enjoy. It, however, is very difficult to find needed supplies. The last five days the community has been inundated with rain. There has been much flooding in the area, as many of you may have seen on the news. I even had the opportunity to visit the firemen and police personnel in action at the breeched dam. Our Precious Blood volunteer, Kara, and I joked about a possible tsunami. The ASC sisters, Maureen and Michelle, along with Kara, live about a hundred yards from my house, which provides support and respite. Other than a little altitude issues and homesickness I am enjoying the new experience, which I realize will be quite the challenge.
The parish community is not large, but vibrant. I have a Saturday afternoon Mass at Blue Water, NM, about 45 miles from Crownpoint, and a Sunday Mass at St. Paul in Crownpoint. I have also been asked to have Mass at St. Bonaventure School in Thoreau (pronounced Thor-ew) for the children. I will enjoy that very much. Again, the poverty there is immense. The principal informed me that after the weekends many children are famished because they have little to eat in their homes. At times they also end up washing the clothes they are wearing because of the lack of facilities in their homes. Nevertheless, they are all beautiful children. After I finish this article I have a meeting with the bishop in Gallup, about an hour’s drive—it is difficult to go anywhere without at least an hour’s drive. The countryside, however, is beautiful! The week I have been here seems like a month, but I know once I get acclimated time will not be of an essence. Thanks to the community for the privilege to serve in this ministry.