Sunday, March 23, 2014

Making new friends - Catholic Mass in the Campground

I've met a bunch of new people here at Rockhound.

First I met Rob't and Diana - they are camped here, too, and have their own traveling library.  They put a "book box" on a stool by the road in front of their site, and when Katie and I were walking one day and I stopped to look at the books, Rob't came out and then Diana walked over, too, and we talked for quite a while.  Since our first meeting, we've visited a few times and shared happy hour at Donna and Bob's.

Here's Bob and Donna, Diana and Rob't during our happy hour:

Next I met Donna.  She and her husband, Bob, are parked up the hill from me, and I met Bob the next day.  Super nice couple.  They have been full-timing for years, and belong to some groups, so they know a lot of RVers and have been to a lot of places.  Bob put up a neat wind machine on their Class A motor home - it looks pretty cool.  It's wireless and looks like something I might want to get.  It tells wind speed and direction, outside temps, and I don't know what else.  I'm going to research these gizmos and see what they cost.  Anyone have recommendations on one of these little machines?   Donna and Bob are also avid Geocachers and are approaching 4,000 finds!

Bruce and Ellabeth were driving back to their site the other day and pulled up my road while Katie and I were outside.  They stopped to say, "How's Katie doing today?"  I didn't know them, and walked over to their truck and said, "How do you know Katie?" (Weird - like Katie was a person.)    Bruce said they recognized me and Katie and also The Palms from the blog.  We talked a little bit and then I asked if I could take their picture for the blog - and they agreed. Here are Bruce and Ellabeth:

They are not bloggers, but obviously read other peoples posts!  It was nice meeting you both, Bruce and Ellabeth (I hope I spelled that right).  Thanks for stopping by to say HI!

Then on Saturday I met Sherry and Jack.  They are camped right next to me and we've said "Hi" as Katie and I walked by, but on Saturday Sherry and Jack came over and we talked - and wondered what in the world was going on in the Group Site across from us.  A huge catering truck was there, lots of people, chairs set up, Vestments hanging from the shade structure.  We had a good conversation and then Sherry went home while Jack checked out what was going on nearby.  Here's Sherry and Jack and that's their site behind them.  They don't have a blog, so I can't provide a link for them, but they are also avid Geocachers.  Geez, these Geocachers here at Rockhound really have me interested in trying that hobby again.  :)

It was really nice meeting so many people - and I enjoyed the time I spent with them all.  Hopefully we'll meet up again down the road.

The goings on in the Group Site?  Well, this isn't something you see every day while hanging out in a State Park.  It was a Youth Lenten Walk in honor of the Lenten season celebrated by the Catholics in the Deming and Luna County area.

Paraphrased from the Headlight Deming News:  In honor of the season — and to reach out to young people — Father Enrique Lopez-Escalera has organized the Lenten Youth Walk over the past five years on behalf of St. Ann Catholic Church in Deming. "The walk is for the youth, but everyone is invited to join."  The walk began at 8 a.m. from the intersection of McCann and Rockhound Roads and was seven miles.

Walkers were led to Rockhound State Park where a Holy Mass was conducted at 11 a.m. at the group shelter in the park.  Leading the mass was recently appointed New Mexico Bishop Oscar Cantu of the Diocese of Las Cruces.  "It's a very special occasion to have the Bishop here in our presence," Fr. Enrique said. "He is our shepherd and the successor to the Apostles. To have him here to celebrate the Eucharist and address our young people is a great honor, indeed."

Following the mass, a cookout of hot dogs and hamburgers and refreshments were provided for the congregation.

I was raised Catholic, but I'm what they call a "fallen away Catholic."  I have my own faith, but seldom attend church services of any denomination.  I really enjoyed watching the kids walking up the long road to the park - there were a LOT of them.  Cars were parked all over the place, on all the roads near the group shelter site.

There was a float with the Virgin Mary and potted plants, etc. leading the walkers, who followed behind it and you could see them coming up the long road into the park. They walked into the Group Site, which had been set up with a huge catering truck, large bar-b-que, and an alter for Mass and lots of rows of folding chairs.  It took quite a while to set it all up and then the kids arrived.  Most of the parents had already arrived in their cars.

Katie and I walked down to see the service - even though I went to Catholic school, I don't remember ever seeing a Bishop, so this was pretty cool for me.  Even though I'm not a practicing Roman Catholic, I still have great respect for that faith. I watched the Mass and listened to the Bishop's sermon, and after a while we walked on around the park.  It was very inspiring and uplifting and luckily it was a beautiful morning with NO winds. I suspect more than a few prayers were sent up asking for a calm morning.

After the Mass, they ate and drank and visited and then people started leaving.  Before long the Group Shelter was cleaned up and empty again.  I was glad to have experienced this event, and have to hand it to all the kids and adults who walked seven miles to get here.   Here are some photos I took:

I think Father Enrique Lopez-Escalera celebrated the Mass and Bishop Oscar Cantu gave the sermon and spoke to the congregation.  The men looked similar and I was too far away to hear everything:

Father Enrique Lopez-Escalera celebrating Mass:

There were two Sheriffs there who helped control traffic for the walkers.  They are members of the Church and donated their time.  I talked to the officer in the photo below and he explained to me what was going on and the history of this walk for the youth of his church.  Later I found more information on-line at the Headlight Deming News website.

Beautiful setting for the service.

Bishop Cantu with his Staff addressing the congregation:

One of the last vehicles to leave - I'm guessing this is the Bishop's transportation:

Lots going on here, between visiting, lots of walks, birding, and attending Mass. 

From me and Katie, have a great Sunday, everyone!


  1. DH and I call ourselves "Recovering Catholics"! ;->

  2. What an exciting place that is... all those folks stopping to visit... whoooooHoooooo! And geocachers at that! Are there a lot of caches hidden in that area? That's pretty neat that the bishop celebrated an outdoor mass there... one of my favorite memories is at an RV park in San Blas, Mexico... the priest was celebrating his 25th anniversary of being a priest and had an outdoor mass at the shelterhouse... which overlooked the ocean. Lots of church dignitaries etc. Those outdoor services just feel closer to "the real thing".

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  4. I seem to remember that the first church services were held out of doors, on mounts and next to rivers and seas.

  5. I agree with Luci. Everyone looks just so darn HAPPY!

  6. What a great event! I have such faith in the goodness of today's young people. Who knew your social life would be so full at Rockhound! Yay!

  7. Great description of all the happenings there!

  8. I'm not "fallen away", or "recovering"; I'm a "Never Again EX"!

    People used to recognize my dog, Smoky, on the Appalachian Trail and then figured out I must be Gypsy! It's funny when our pets have their own fan clubs.

  9. Wow, that is an eventful place for sure!

  10. How exciting. It's a good thing you have a good memory for names. The setting for the service was beautiful. I didn't hear any complaints about heat so I'm guessing the weather is still nice there.

  11. Bob and Donna stopped by while we were at El Malpais in September.
    I don't know where you were then, but glad that you got to meet up with them now.


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