Monday, December 19, 2011

A new bishop for Santa Rosa de Copán

On a rainy Saturday, December 17, Monseñor Luis Alfonso Santos ended his almost 28 year ministry as bishop of the diocese of Santa Rosa de Copán.

It has been a ministry marked by a commitment to the poor in the poorest diocese of Honduras, an organization of the parishes in base communities, a strong effort at evangelization at all levels, and a prophetic ministry that has denounced injustice and threats to the environment.

Monseñor Santos arrived at the Mass in the parking lot of the Santa Rosa Campus of the Catholic University of Honduras, in his suit coat with a rain jacket.

Monseñor presided over the Mass with bishop and priests concelebrating with him. Primary among the bishops was the new bishop, Monseñor Darwn Andino, the new bishop, and Archbishop Luigi Bianco, the Apostolic Delegate to Honduras.

Monseñor Andino, Monseñor Santos, Archbishop Bianco

There were bishops from Honduras and El Salvador as well as priests from the diocese of Santa Rosa and  other dioceses.

Monseñor gave a sort homily, written out since he jokingly said that some have said his homilies are often long. He mentioned how a US Capuchin priest had told him that; in response Monseñor asked how he knew since the priest fell asleep after five minutes. Besides, the bishop told him, he should thank him since he gave him a chance to chance some sleep! Such is the bishop’s folksy style.

He reminded those gathered that he has devote his episcopacy to evangelization and the poor. The poor are our evangelizers.The bishop may have meant that the poor in the villages are the ones who do the evangelization of the people in the diocese. But it might also be understood that the poor are the ones who evangelize the church.

This reflects the commitment he has made to continually visit the parishes of the diocese, going out to remote villages. He also made a commitment to develop the diocesan clergy, having ordained 50 priests for the diocese.

The commitment to evangelization was apparent when he was presented the published copy of the Third Pastoral Plan of the diocese, written by clergy and laity of the diocese with the bishop’s input and support. Several of the social problems noted in the plan were displayed on drawings posted in the parking lot.

Extreme poverty and families that are falling apart

Monseñor Santos’s commitment to the church of the poor was noted by the apostolic delegate before he read the papal bull installing Monseñor Darwin as the new bishop.

After his installation Monseñor Andino noted that he was a servant, an instrument of the Lord, no more, and that he sought to announce the love of God.

Monseñor Darwin Andino

The next day he celebrated an evening Mass in Dulce Nombre as part of a celebration and fund-raising event of the families in the town of Dulce Nombre. He concelebrated the Mass with Padre Efraín Romero, the pastor, Padre Henry Rodríguez, the associate pastor, and Padre Julio César Galdámez, who is now pastor of a neighboring parish but had been the associate in Dulce Nombre.

After the Mass there was a special meal in the local school. The bishop and priests sat at the head table as two music groups from the parish played energetic songs with a faith basis.

It was a good night and it was good to see the bishop there among the people.

May the new bishop be a sign of the Kingdom of God in our diocese, being Good News for the Poor.


More photos of the installation can be found in a set on my photo site.


Anonymous said...

Prayers for the diocese.


Anonymous said...

A gift via Occupy Wall Street.