For a dozen years, All Saints’ has enjoyed a unique relationship with congregations in Mexico led by Padre Bayron Chanchavac. Parishioners have visited the churches where Padre Bayron has served as the priest, and he has visited All Saints’.
Why a Monarch Butterfly as the symbol of our relationship?
Most of us know the Monarch butterfly for its annual migration between central Mexico and the northern United States and Canada, which creates a tangible connection between us and our brothers and sisters in Mexico. But the Monarch has much deeper cultural significance. In Mexico, Monarchs are seen as symbols of the spirits of deceased loved ones returning to visit on the Day of the Dead. The Christian religion sees the butterfly as a symbol of resurrection as the caterpillar “dies”, only to reemerge from its castoff chrysalis as a new being.
What is the Butterfly Effect?
According to Chaos theory, something as small as the fluttering wings of a Monarch butterfly can affect a much-wider world. The people of All Saints’, San Pablo and Santísima Trinidad working together can do the same. So, it seems that the Monarch butterfly is the perfect symbol for All Saints’ relationship with two small churches in Mexico.
From Chicago, USA to Xalapa, Mexico
Dave and Karen Howe first became involved with Mexico Outreach in the summer of 2008, when they traveled to Xalapa, Mexico, and met the people at Iglesia Santa Maria Virgen in the Diocese of Southeast Mexico (DSEM) and established a companion relationship with them. In the summer of 2011, they met Bayron Chanchavac who was named priest-in-charge at Santa Maria Virgen after years of decline.
Throughout the next six years, under Padre Bayron’s leadership, the church began to thrive with new projects and activities and dramatic growth in weekly attendance and participation. A number of All Saints’ people joined the Howes on their annual visits and were impressed and moved by what they saw and experienced.
In 2017, Bayron transferred to the Diocese of Cuernavaca, where he was assigned two churches. Since then, All Saints’ has seen the same enlightened leadership that Bayron had shown us in Xalapa. He has been working tirelessly to develop the potential of San Pablo in Cuernavaca, where he has transformed a moribund, basically closed church into a vibrant and outward-looking mission. Santísima Trinidad in the suburb of Acatlipa, has been for a variety of reasons a much greater challenge, but Padre Bayron continues his work to develop its potential.