Mission Mexico and the meritorious Father Fred MSM
COFFEE WITH WARREN, with Warren Harbeck
Former Cochrane pastor Fred Monk has been awarded the Meritorious Service Medal for humanitarian outreach.
The Governor General of Canada has named Fr. Fred Monk, former pastor of St. Mary’s Church, Cochrane (1998–2007), as a recipient of the Meritorious Service Medal (Civil Division) for founding Mission Mexico (missionmexico.com).
For the past 20 years “Father Fred,” as he is popularly known, has distinguished himself as a visionary of hope and dignity for historically marginalized Indigenous communities in the mountains of southern Mexico, violated by poverty, inadequate education and denial of human rights.
In partnership with village leaders and other onsite NGOs, this outreach of the Catholic Diocese of Calgary has committed itself to assisting the too-long-marginalized in realizing their own dreams for a better life. This has included assistance in healthcare, occupational and educational projects, such as providing bursaries, training programs, and construction of an orphanage and school.
Father Fred is quick to share credit for this medal with Mission Mexico’s three onsite coordinators over the years: educator Leslie Davies, from Cochrane; graphic artist Patricia Gasca, from Mexico; and educator Mike MacDonald, from Calgary (see Mike’s blog, mike-mmex.blogspot.com). Nor can the original inspiration of several key people in southern Mexico be overlooked, such as Bishop Alejo Castro, Fr. Lawrence Moran, and Abel Barrera, founder of the Center for Human Rights of the Mountain in Tlachinollan, in Guerrero.
I’d like to give the closing word to Abel Barrera. Upon learning of the honour paid to Father Fred, he wrote to him as follows:
© 2020 Warren Harbeck