Mission Trip Reflection: Tohono O’odham Nation

Posted on February 27, 2020

Seminarian reflection written by Robert Lamorena from the Diocese of San Jose.

On the morning of Tuesday, February 11, seven seminarians and Fr. Bradley Zamora were sent forth from Mass to share the Good News. From Mundelein Seminary, they headed southwest to the Tohono O’odham Nation near Tucson, AZ to share Christ with our brothers and sisters living on the reservation.

In their encounters, they listened to the stories of the O’odham people and in a mutual exchange of faith, they ministered to and were ministered by the people and the land. These encounters looked like this: It was providing a communion service to incarcerated men and women at the local correction center. It was listening to their hopes and prayers for family they’d been separated from. It was listening to a council member share the history and current issues about how and why the border fences were put up. It was learning that this work at the border is a collaborative effort among the tribe, the state government, and the national government. It was recognizing the human dignity of those who cross the border seeking safety and a better life. It was staying with the Franciscan Friars at San Solano Mission and helping them uproot weeds and overgrown grass so that snakes couldn’t hide in the bushes.

It was cooking traditional food and learning words in O’odham from tribal elders. It was learning about the intersection of the O’odham culture and Catholic faith in the bell tower at San Xavier Mission. It was accompanying Franciscans to memorial services and celebrating Mass all while learning about local customs and tribal traditions. It was praying Night Prayer with each other and sharing graces from the day. It was meeting Jesus in the faces and stories of the O’odham. It was finding, crying, and laughing with Christ in and among our brothers and sisters.


View more photos from the mission trip below.