Trip with HMY boys’ group to Chimborazo (Ecuador), May 25th-28th, 2017.
Taking advantage of a long weekend, we decided to go on a trip to Chimborazo with the guys from Río Chico and Guayaquil from May 25th-28th. The Chimborazo is an inactive volcano that is located in the city of Riobamba. It is known to be the highest mountain in the world from the center of the earth, while Mt. Everest is the highest when measured from sea level. Instead of just staying home all weekend, we wanted to go out and experience the beauty and greatness of God’s creation.
The group from Manabí arrived Thursday afternoon and was received into the house of the Missionaries of Mary Immaculate and Saint Catherine of Sienna where we would be staying (the founder of this religious order is St. Laura Montoya and because of this many people call their order “The Lauritas”). However the group from Guayaquil did not get into Riobamba until 3:30am Friday morning. The first obstacle that this group had to overcome was finding the house of the Lauritas. When we asked people in the street how to get there, they kept sending us to different convents, but never to the house of the Lauritas. Finally, we asked some other nuns if they knew where they lived and they were able to tell us how to get there.
We were overjoyed when we finally got to the house and very grateful for the breakfast and the time we had for prayer that morning. On Friday we visited different churches in Riobamba. There were two churches in particular that we liked: the Church of St. Alphonsus Mary of Liguori and the Church of St. Anthony of Padua. At mid-day we had a talk about St. Mariana of Jesus, one of the three canonized saints in Ecuador, whose feast day we were celebrating that day.
That afternoon we played a game of soccer. Everyone noticed the change of altitude because we got tired very quickly. When we finished our game of soccer we went back to where we were staying to get ready for Mass.
We had Mass in the Jesuit chapel of St. Phillip Neri. It was a very special Mass because the Jesuit that celebrated Mass for us told us about the revolution and persecution that took place under Eloy Alfaro in the year 1987. There was a sacrilege that took place in that very chapel when the troops of Alfaro broke into the chapel and threw the Sacred Hosts to the floor. The commander went up to the rector’s room, Fr. Emilio Moscoso, who was kneeling down in front of a crucifix with a rosary in his hand. The commander shot and killed him and profaned his body. We prayed to Fr. Emilio, Servant of God, to ask for the grace to be faithful to Christ in a world that is becoming more and more secular.
The next day, Saturday morning, we left Riobamba by bus to get to the Chimborazo. On the way there we could see the Chimborazo in the distance covered in snow. When we got to the foot of the mountain the wind was blowing and the sun was shining. In order to take advantage of the time we had, we took a bus to the first refuge which is at a height of 4,850m. There we had time to pray alone and contemplate the beauty around us and give thanks to God for having created so many wonderful things. He created this mountain so that mankind could admire the beauty of God in it; He created it out of love for us.
One of the brothers gave us some thoughts for reflection and with this in mind we started to climb to the second refuge. It took us about an hour to get there and with the help of candy we were able to keep our energy up and fight against the change of altitude which was taking its effect on us.
Since it was a clear day we were able to see the mountain perfectly. We kept hiking until we reached a lake at 5,100 m of altitude, which is the highest you are allowed to go. We played in the snow like little kids, and for some of the guys it was their first time even seeing snow!
When it was time to go, we went down the mountain by bus. We were tired by the time we got home and we rested from the day’s journey, but it was well worth it.
That afternoon we went to Mass in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus which was built to commemorate the consecration of Ecuador to the Sacred Heart of Jesus that Gabriel Garcia Moreno did in 1883. After Mass we ate dinner and had a talk to share the spiritual fruits that we had received from our trip.
We give thanks to God for all the graces that He has given us during these days.