Sunday, November 29, 2009

Mass in the midst

Today, as usual when I’m in Santa Rosa, I went to Mass up the hill in the little church of San Martín de Porres.

On the way to Mass, about 9:55 am, I passed a polling place at a school up the street. There were about four army troops outside and one at the entrance. There were a few people entering. (When I came back from Mass, about 11:15 am, there was only one military person at the entrance.)

Most Sundays Padre Fausto Milla presides at Mass, as he did today.

Padre Fausto began his commentary after the first reading, Jeremiah 33: 14-16, and then also spoke after the Gospel.

Padre Fausto was very impassioned and spoke of the current situation as a war between the Fatherland and Money (Patria y Dinero). He seems to think that what happens in Honduras will presage what may happen in other countries of Honduras – coups to preserve economic elites.

He mentioned a series of events that provide a snapshot of the situation. I have read other reports that the situation is quite tense in other parts of the country and that even a non-profit, RED Comal, founded by Quakers, which works with campesinos was raided by the military yesterday and computers and other materials were taken.

Padre Fausto spoke of a village where authorities are going around, from house to house and threatening the people with ten years of prison if they don’t vote.

He mentioned a case of the town of San Nicolas, Santa Barbara, where the military did a 4:00 am raid and forced the people out onto the streets.

But one story is almost comical. Padre Esteban in Lepaera, Lempira, has been very outspoken against the coup. Yesterday the military surrounded the parish center, where he also lives and thus would prevent him from coming out. However, their intelligence was really poor. He was out in one of the rural villages and so their encirclement of the parish house was in vain.

A few days ago Padre Esteban was denounced to the authorities and got a visit from the intelligence/investigative arm of the police.

But here in Santa Rosa it’s very peaceful. I pray it stays that way.

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