A year ago today, I literally fell into the river. It was a great day to do so–the feast of San Juan Bautista. All over Latin America, especially in such places as Puerto Rico with its capital named after the Saint, people celebrate the feast by contact with water. By going to the beach, river, swimming hole or bath tub/shower, they symbolically renew their baptisms.
Jesuit Priest Louis Tempe came to visit me in Palm Springs. He wanted to interview me about the Tercer Encuentro Hispano Pastoral for which I was the national coordinator from 1984-1985. The consultative process sponsored by the American Bishops lasted for several years culminated in a summer event that took place at Catholic University in Washington, DC. It resulted in a national pastoral plan for Spanish speaking Catholics in this country, and has been implemented with various degrees of success.
In any event, after the interview, I took him to tour the cool springs at Indian Canyon. The Agua Caliente Tribe of Cahuilla Indians for centuries have used their hot springs–where today is located the Spa Hotel in Palm Springs –in the winter. During the summers and during warm wather, they went to the cool springs in the canyon.
During the guided tour I was giving, I got a little too close to the edge. It was an unintended occasion for the renewal of my own baptismal promises.