Friday, December 11, 2009

What a week!

So what have I been doing?

Just to let you know that I'm not slouching too much, I decided to give an account of an extraordinarily busy week.

Last Friday and Saturday I took part in the evaluation and planning meeting of the parish of Dulce Nombre. More on that later.

Sunday I was in Dulce Nombre again, this time to celebrate the first anniversary of the ordination of Padre Julio César Galdámez, the associate pastor. I really appreciate Padre Julio for his real love of God and the people. He also has a special gift of working with youth.

Monday I spent the morning with the program staff at Caritas in their weekly meeting, though at this time of the year a lot of the work is preparing year-end reports.

About 11:45 am Padre Efraín asked me to go to Tegucigalpa for a meeting with Misereor, a German Catholic church funding organization. A funding request for working on mining issues had been turned down and Padre Efraín thought that a meeting connected with it had been canceled. Wrong! So I went home, took wash off the line, packed a change of clothes, and got a quick lunch before returning to the office to leave for Tegucigalpa at 2 pm. Luckily I didn’t have to drive and the driver, a young guy whose father is also a driver for Caritas, was great to talk with and respected my need to read over the grant request and also get a little nap.

We arrived about 8:30 pm after trying to find our way to the hotel where I was meeting. I arrived and found not only two people from Misereor but two people from the Tegucigalpa Caritas office. Hum? The one hour meeting was tense but important and I am glad I went.

Tuesday we returned to Santa Rosa – another six and a half hours in the car. I went right away to a meeting on Citizenship Participation with members of the national Caritas office and teams from our diocese and the dioceses of Trujillo and Comayagua. I spent two hours there and then went home and crashed! But they didn’t end their work till about 9:30 pm.

Wednesday morning I went back to the meeting for a bit.

Then I went to the Comedor de Niños – the lunch program for kids in the diocesan building, partly to tell them about a party for 40 of them this Saturday at the Catholic University. There were probably 50 kids there that day.

In the afternoon there was a meeting with the national director of Progressio, an English Catholic group, that sends professionals to work with projects.

I spent a little time later Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning with the Caritas Political Participation groups. It’s interesting to observe the conflicts that the current situation have created even in groups that work with the poorest in terms of promoting their participation.

The archdiocese of Tegucigalpa and as far as I can tell all of the Caritas groups except ours promoted the elections, with different degrees of enthusiasm. But I sense there are even deeper areas of potential conflict because many of those working in the area of political particiaption find that many people conscientized by this process are sympathetic to the Resistance. And so…

Yesterday afternoon and today I have been at the Caritas office, trying to catch up on things. I did, however, go back today to the Comedor de Niños and there were about 48 kids. While there I entered the list of kids who had signed in the last few weeks and it was exactly 100. They don’t all come every day but in the past two months there have been between 40 and 60 most every day. Some of this increased demand may be due to the fact that there is no school. But I also think that there may be more hunger and so the kids are willing to walk 30 minutes or more for a decent lunch.

Tomorrow I’ll be taking about 40 kids to a project at the Catholic University. I told them we could only take the first 40 and so we may have some disappointed kids. But I bought a bag of candy to share with those who don’t get a chance to go.

Next week will also be busy. Monday and Tuesday the country director of Catholic Relief Service will be here. I hope we can persuade him to look at some programs for our area.

Thursday and Friday we’ll have an evaluation and planning meeting here at Caritas but after that the office is closed for a few weeks for the Christmas holidays.

Speaking of Advent and Christmas, I hear that Iowa got over a foot of snow. Ah. It doesn’t feel like Advent here since it’s uncommonly warm and dry. But we’re all waiting for the coming of the Sun of Justice, Jesus, whom we all need.

Come, Lord Jesus, and break the chains of injustice and poverty.

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