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The Hoban Visor

The Hoban Visor

A Reflection on the Monterrey Service Trip


My journey to Monterrey, Mexico, as a returning member allowed me to explore individual aspects that make up the entire picture. 

Día 1 13/02/2024 – The group traveling consisted of seven Hoban students: Daniel “Danny” Bisesi, Kylene Coyle, Giovani “Gio” Reza-Landino, Alexis Penrod, Frederick “Freddie” Schultz, Zahlea “Z” Sularte, and myself. In addition, Hoban Spanish Maestra Señora Zeller and my father, Alvaro DeCola, served as supervisors during our stay. We were hosted by the Congregation of Holy Cross, particularly Padre Pedro CSC and Padre Armando CSC. 

Upon arrival, the embrace of Padre Pedro and Padre Armando evoked a sense of belonging. Pedro’s acknowledgment of the impact on our school during mass prompted reflection. Language immersion during a community meet-and-greet underscored cultural exchange. Despite age differences, camaraderie flourished, culminating in shared goodie bags and a grateful return.

Día 2 14/02/2024 – Homemade pancakes marked a joyful breakfast at the brothers’ house, where Carmen, the main chef, cooks breakfast and lunch five days a week. We then headed to San Matias Chapel to assist Rosalinda, a church social worker. Our task was to sort and distribute food for those in need, like an older man who lost his job and sight due to a work incident. It revealed heart-wrenching stories of struggle and loss. Despite challenges, Rosalinda tirelessly serves, embodying the community’s deep Catholic values. Lunch was followed by insights into the church’s outreach, including soup kitchens and medical services. Our visit spurred introspective conversations, strengthening our bonds and a sense of purpose. 

Día 3 15/02/2024 – In the morning, we visited an immigration house, preceded by a sobering talk from my lawyer father, who often handles immigration cases. He depicted the plight of a young Mexican boy in court yearning for his absent mother, highlighting the systemic challenges faced by immigrants. These individuals risk everything for safety in the United States, as recounted by overwhelmed staff facing the trauma of their stories. In witnessing their struggles, we found inspiration to support the marginalized and oppressed, fostering hope for a more compassionate world. We ended the day with a spirited soccer match between Communicaciones and Rayados, we immersed ourselves in the vibrant atmosphere, cheering on the hometown team’s triumphant 3-0 victory. 

Día 4 16/02/2024 – Waking up late posed no issue, as Danny was still asleep, reflecting the relaxed schedule embraced by the locals. Our morning task involved delivering communion and ashes to the bedridden, accompanied by the understanding social worker, Francisca. It was interesting to see how little credit the woman who made the congregation flourish received. Lunch fostered connections with locals who warmly welcomed us as neighbors. Conversations with the retreat kids, late-night discussions, and reflection on shame with Danny capped off another enriching day.

Día 5 17/02/2024 – Our day centered on engaging with kids at Sunday school, bringing donations like coloring books and stickers. Interacting with them was refreshing, as they laughed at our Spanish mistakes without judgment. Despite challenges, their devotion to the retreat was evident. We joined them for games, including flour-filled punishments and a muddy obstacle course. Returning home briefly, we prepared for Mexican Night, which a generous parish family hosted. They warmly welcomed us, even remembering personal details from previous visits. Over delicious food and soccer, we celebrated Gio’s upcoming 18th birthday. The night ended with a candle-lit pineapple empanada, marking the beginning of his birthday celebrations.

Día 6 18/02/2024 – We celebrated Gio’s birthday leisurely, enjoying breakfast before exploring a bustling street market. Amidst the eclectic offerings, we made various purchases, from trinkets to churros. Attending noon mass at the city’s grandest church, we reflected on sacrifice, moved by the priest’s sermon on Lent. Back home, we bonded over a grill-out lunch, cherishing moments of laughter and camaraderie. Returning home briefly, we prepared for Mexican Night hosted by a generous parish family. Just Dance on YouTube proved a highlight, uniting us through music and movement. The night concluded with Gio’s homemade cake and more dancing, prompting reflections on the profound experiences and friendships forged.  

Día 7 19/02/2024 – Lying in bed, I questioned myself. In 24 short hours, I was going to resume my life where it left off. There would be only a brief period of time to describe my experiences to my friends. I realized how close our group had gotten over the week. Not only did we all get along, but we each had a personal connection with one another. Before we went to our final fiesta, Pedro wanted us to have a reflection of the trip in its entirety. We all cried a lot. I think I speak for the group when I say if you want to see what life is like outside of this bubble, please talk to one of us. Upon coming home Danny and I shared one more rooftop talk. I am glad to have shared my time with all of my friends. Those conversations hold a special place in my heart.

Día 8 20/02/2024 – I could sit here and write about how much each of the people I spent this time with meant to me, but I already told them personally. If you have gotten this far, thank you. I hope this could give you an insight into how impactful this trip is. I hope if you want to talk about anything in greater depth you talk to me or somebody else who had the privilege of going. Gracias Monterrey, por Todo.


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