Sunday, November 27, 2011

Reflecting on a visit from St. Thomas parishioners

Yesterday I saw the St. Thomas Aquinas, Ames, group depart for the US, leaving them in the hands of Javier, who drove them safely to the San Pedro Sula airport.

Four of the six visitors from St. Thomas Aquinas, Ames

It is always good to have a group here – to give them a sense of the life here and the ministry of the parish of Dulce Nombre, as it strives to help the parishioners live as children of God – in a way that their growth in faith includes efforts to live lives worthy of children of God. With the poverty of the parish that is so important.

The group – five student parishioners and one resident parishioner of St. Thomas – had a chance to see life at the base when we stayed two days in Quebraditas, helping build a latrine and pila (water container) for the church there.

Partly finished latrine and pila

Quebraditas is not one of the poorer communities of the parish but they came face to face with the problems of life in the countryside – sanitation, bugs, difficulty of obtaining basic supplies.

They did visit a poorer community, Piedras Coloradas, as well as some other communities. They also got a chance to see one of the sites in the parish of the Catholic Relief Services’ support infant and maternal health project.

A highlight for many of them was the Christ the King Mass on Sunday, November 20, when the parish gathered in Candelaria for Mass. The crush of so many people and the enthusiasm of the people celebrating their faith were impressive. Forty three catechists were recognized for having completed their training (a process of more than two years).

Catechists receiving their "diplomas"

I remember most the homily of the pastor, Padre Efraín Romero, where he called for an end to violence. The Friday before the Mass a man had been killed in Candelaria by a mentally ill man and it had shocked many with its brutality. At the Mass, a “shrine” of artifacts of Modesto Melgar, the Delegate of the Word who had been killed last November, was brought forward. See my post last year for a little more information on Don Modesto.

Bible, hymnal, and clothes that Modesto wore when he was killed.

In some ways these acts of violence can be frightening, even though they do not at all march the violence in other parts of the country. The west of Honduras is very peaceful and safe, despite occasional violence. But I don’t feel threatened in this part of Honduras, mostly because of the care which the people here show.

But the violence the poor experience is a reality – the violence of the machete or the gun, but more significantly the “violence” of poverty and injustice.

To accompany them in the struggle against injustice and poverty is why I’m here.

For this I thank God.

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